[Bishopthorpe] The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu is to visit Samoa, Tonga and Fiji to lead a series of Leadership Reflections on Climate Change at the invitation of the Most Revd Dr Winston Halapua, the Archbishop of Polynesia from 27 July to 14 August 2015. Dr Sentamu will also give a public lecture at the Anglican Cathedral of the Diocese of Polynesia in Suva on Climate Change on 5 August 2015.
The Pacific island states are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The Archbishop’s visit is timely ahead of the Paris summit in December 2015, where 196 countries are expected to meet to sign a new climate change agreement.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “Climate change affects everyone: agriculture, tourism, fisheries, water, health and wellbeing. The skills and capabilities of local populations, national governmental authorities and regional organisations must act to ameliorate the effects of climate change. I am delighted to join Archbishop Winston Halapua for this Diocesan visit.”
Earlier this month, the General Synod of the Church of England overwhelmingly welcomed the new climate change policy adopted by the Church's investing bodies, a policy which new policy has already been welcomed from both within and outside the Church.
Archbishop Winston Halapua said: “We are greatly looking forward to welcoming the Archbishop and Mrs Margaret Sentamu in Fiji, Samoa, and the Kingdom of Tonga. This will be the first time that the Archbishop of York has come to this corner of the Earth and our nations will be blessed by their enrichment and encouragement in our common mission. One of the global issues which is impacting our region requiring a clear voice from the Church is the issue of climate change and sea-level rising.”
In addition to the Leadership Reflections with clergy, lay and ecumenical leaders, Archbishop Sentamu will also address young people on Pangaimotu Island as part of the ‘Moana’ Oceanic Eucharist. He is to attend ‘Lotu’ youth mission events at Suva and Ovalau. The Archbishop will visit the Pacific Theological College and the Pacific Regional Seminary, a Diocesan College. In Samoa, Dr Sentamu will bless a new school building in the presence of Samoa’s Prime Minster, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. Dr Sentamu will also visit Poutasi Village, extensively damaged by a tsunami in 2009, and he is to preach at two Ordination services in Samoa and Tonga.
On arrival at each of the South Pacific islands, the Archbishop and Mrs Margaret Sentamu will attend Welcome Ceremonies. Mrs Sentamu will address the Anglican Association of Women in Fiji. She is to meet with young mothers at New Town and Suva. Margaret is to accompany the Archbishop on his visit to the Sisters of the Community of the Sacred Name where they will meet with children of St Christopher’s Home in Naulu. Mrs Sentamu will also visit the House of Sarah, a Diocesan initiative focused on combatting Domestic Violence. Mrs Sentamu will also address a Lay Ministry Training Group at the Anglican Cathedral of the Diocese of Polynesia in Suva.