Thinking Anglicans

New Secretary General at the Anglican Communion Office

The Anglican Communion Office announces: Nigerian bishop to be the Anglican Communion’s next Secretary General.

The Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon has been appointed to be the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Dr Idowu-Fearon currently serves as Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation in the Church for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations.

He was selected out of an initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas…

For some background on him, see these two items:

A Discussion with Bishop Josiah Fearon of Kaduna (2010)

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon awarded the Cross of St Augustine (2013)

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Tom Marshall
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Tom Marshall

First AMiE, now a conservative Nigerian Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion. What a week it’s turning out to be! The appointment is hardly surprising after all the mud-slinging from Africa about Ken Kearon’s so-called liberalism (and there was me thinking he was a perfectly mainstream and orthodox Anglican). The Welby-Sentamu jigsaw is looking a little more complete. Linda Woodhead was absolutely right in her prediction that both Archbishops are committed to making common cause with conservative factions. It also compounds the growing perception that Welby has little sense of his public, representative role and sees himself more as a ‘National… Read more »

Jean Mayland (Revd)
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Jean Mayland (Revd)

Very depressing

CharlieS
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CharlieS

Tom – I’m not sure this can be seen as the work of the Archbishop (let alone Archbishops) -these notes were at the bottom of the first link.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. This is an independent selection process.

2. The interview panel is made up of the sub-committee of the ACC Standing Committee.

3. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not involved in the interview process but receives the nominations for approval.

Clara
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Clara

Bishop Josiah is far from a typical Nigerian Anglican. Please don’t start stereotyping him, Tom, before finding out more about him. He has had a fairly difficult time in the Church of Nigeria – precisely because he is regarded there as too pro-western liberal. Among his ‘sins’ is his commitment to interreligious engagement – which is not popular among his fellow Nigerian Anglican bishops. He is – and has been for more than 15 years – a member of the Anglican Communion Interfaith Network. I don’t know what his views are on a range of issues of the moment –… Read more »

Davis Mac-Iyalla
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Davis Mac-Iyalla

I am happy over the appointment of Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
I know that Josiah, will be more open to serve the Anglican Communion without bias.
The Church of Nigeria will not be walking away if Bishops like Josiah are the Primate of All Nigeria.

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

What is it that makes this bishop “conservative”?

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

The fact that someone from Africa has been appointed to this job is surely a good thing to be celebrated. The fact that it is this person may or may not be. Rather disappointingly, it is not difficult to find that Dr Idowu-Fearon was an active opponent of Gene Robinson’s appointment. “ At the Episcopal Church’s 2003 General Convention where deputies and bishops voted to approve the election of openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, then Bishop of Kaduna, Nigeria, warned that departing from biblical teaching would hurt the churches’ witness. Islamists had slaughtered thousands… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It is reported that the new Secretary General has spoken in favour of criminalizing homosexuality.
http://newtelegraphonline.com/no-going-back-on-stand-against-gay-marriage-anglican-communion/

If this is true, then it is time for individual churches to review their membership of the Communion.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“I’m not sure this can be seen as the work of the Archbishop (let alone Archbishops)” Charlie S

*bites tongue*

Jesse Zink
Guest

Some other articles by Bishop Josiah: This recent one, about the long-standing relationship between his diocese and a congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut: http://www.livingchurch.org/healing-hope-reconciliation In 2010, when some primates were considering boycotting a primates’ meeting, he wrote an op-ed in the Church Times under the title, “If you disagree, at least be there.” I found it at this link in the Church Times archive, which might not be available to non-subscribers: http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/getDocument/ChTm_2010_12_24_012?fileType=pdf A couple of quotations from that second article: “An archbishop may hold a strong position on a particular theological debate, but that should not be a… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It seems to me to be a fine and a good thing to have someone in post who works for reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.

But there’s no amount of articles on that topic that will make it acceptable for the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to be someone who supports criminalizing those of us who are gay.

Tom Marshall
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Tom Marshall

As I’ve been out all day, this is my first opportunity to respond to those who don’t like my labelling of the new AC Secretary General. Fortunately, Kelvin Holdsworth has done it for me. It was the Bishop’s record on gay issues which caused me to use the ‘conservative’ tag. As for his appointment, are you seriously suggesting Welby had no influence whatsoever in this ‘independent’ process? My difficulty is not that he is a Nigerian (and I think that is clear in my original posting); it is his record on a major theological/ecclesiological issue for the Anglican Communion. That… Read more »

Susan Cooper
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Susan Cooper

I remember Bishop Josiah at the 1998 Lambeth Conference talking Christianity and Islam. I thought he was rather a good thing, certainly very able. That is probably why he has not become the Primate. I think in terms of views in the Nigerian church, he is relatively liberal. Perhaps not by C of E standards!

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Two observations.

First, the ACO’s release says nothing about who did the appointing. Note for Editors 3 at the end says that the Archbishop of Canterbury “receives the nominations for approval”–which suggests some degree of choice on his part. Yet everyone quoted in the release is referring to the event in the passive voice (“has been appointed”). Looks as though no one wants to claim responsibility.

Second, this appointment highlights the fact that the Anglican Communion has become an Instrument of Injustice.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I think that Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s ability is not really the problem, Susan. The problem is that this man thinks that criminalising homosexuality is a good idea. This disgusting attitude is now going to be embodied in the leading representative of our Communion. How are any of us to think that being part of this Communion is any longer a good idea? Who in the world is going to think these are people that we should deal with (except Putin, and the countries where punitive regimes against LGBT people still hold sway)? And do we want to be aligned with those… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

I note that J I-F preached when Justin Welby was put in at Durham and is a good friend of our Archbishop. Welby’s ability to promote his friends and in this instance to show no regard for the concerns, the needs and the security of the most disregarded and vulnerable of Nigerian Anglicans is almost boundless. If it weren’t so predictable I would be shocked.

James A
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James A

Clearly Josiah Idowu-Fearon has pedigree in promoting reconciliation. So does Justin Welby. But both are compromised by their stance on homosexuality. It is completely untenable that anyone should bang the drum of reconciliation while also promoting discrimination against minorities on the basis of sexual orientation. This is an appointment to maintain the status quo in the Anglican Communion, sanctioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and those contributors to this thread which use the conservative label are hardly exaggerating or being mischievous. What, indeed (@Tom Marshall), does this mean for a pan-Anglican theological identity in the future?

JCF
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JCF

I was prepared to overlook Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s reaction to +Gene Robinson’s consecration: that was over 10 years ago.

But his statement, “The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good”, is from *one* year ago.

…at the same time, I take Davis Mac-Iyalla’s endorsement of him very seriously. Davis, were you aware of Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s 2014 statement supporting criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria? If so, how are you still able to support him? Honestly curious.

Clara
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Clara

May I point out that while the white western comments on this blog are getting shriller and shriller as they go along, Davis Mac-Iyalla, a Nigerian LGBT activist and thus one of those ‘disregarded’ and ‘vulnerable’ voices to which a later commentator refers… has made a comment on this blog specifically welcoming the appointment of Josiah Fearon as Secretary-General. Of course his views and comment have been totally ignored by later commentators… I guess that as a mere black Nigerian he cannot be taken seriously on Thinking Anglicans.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Another Nigerian Bishop in ‘Head Office’. Let’s hope he is as eirenic in his attitude to non-GAFCON provinces as his fellow African, Bishop James Tengatenga. Otherwise, this could seem like a GAFCON-Provincial take-over. Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury had no direct hand in the appointment of another Nigerian to the leadership of the Anglican Communion. However, I’m sure he was involved in some way – if only to give final approval. The proof of this new official’s attitude towards LGBT people will be in his activity as General Secretary of the Communion. It could prove to be the making or (further) breaking of ACC solidarity.

Simon R
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Simon R

I think Susan Cooper’s point about Josiah Idowu-Fearon being ‘liberal’ in Nigerian terms, but not in C of E terms, helpfully takes us to the nub of the issue (and amplifies a question already being asked about doctrinal and ethical consistency across the Anglican Communion). I assume (but I may be wrong, pace the Wonga debacle) that the Archbishop of Canterbury knew about Josiah I-F’s views on homosexuality before his appointment? If he didn’t, why are his staff not briefing him? Or was this another non-consultative favour for a friend? If the Archbishop did know, this tells us something profoundly… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Clara, Andrea Minchiello-Williams is alleged to have added her vocal support to the idea of recriminalising homosexuality at a conference in Jamaica last year. She was publicly criticised not only on pages like this, where you would expect it, but in the diocese which she represents in General Synod. The criticism of the appointment of Josiah Idowu-Fearon is very much in the same mould. Why should he be excused for what he has said? In what way, knowing what he thinks, is he a proper representative of Anglicanism all over the world? Criminalising homosexuality has been strenuously criticised in the… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Clara, your comment is specious.

Just because Davis Mac-Iyalla is a black gay Nigerian does not mean that liberals the world over must agree with his support of someone who advocates criminalising homosexuality.

I hope that Mr. Mac-Iyalla will explain the paradox of his position.

In the meantime, the rest of us are free to draw our own conclusions and to advance our own arguments.

I am taking Bishop Idowu-Fearon perfectly seriously — in taking him at his public word.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Josiah Idowu-Fearon has indicated that, despite media reports, he does not support the criminalisation of LGBT people. Julie Gittens contacted him and shared the following response with the Episcopal Women’s Caucus (thanks, Jim Naughton, for passing on): Julie Gittens Episcopal Women’s Caucus Friends, Yesterday, I emailed Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon. I congratulated him on his new appointment. I asked him to work on his LGBT relations. This was his reply. Dear Julie, I believe it is right for me to take up your offer and contact you. Firstly, permit me to thank you for your mail and congratulatory message, I feel… Read more »

Kevin Dawes
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Kevin Dawes

I am assuming that the Secretary General will be based in the Anglican Communion office in London (unless the Archbishop of Canterbury has unilaterally moved it to Nigeria – like he moved the Diocese of Europe’s office to Brussels when he appointed his old college buddy as Bishop of Europe last year)? I have just written to the Home Office to ask, given that Josiah I-F’s calls for the criminalisation of homosexuality are in conflict with current British ‘hate’ legislation, whether his presence in the UK is in the public interest? Maybe other TA readers will feel moved to do… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“Julie, I do not support the law in my country that criminalises homosexuality”

is not the same as

“Julie, I do not support criminalising homosexuality”

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“My clear and unapologetic position”–sounds pretty arrogant. He may now deny his former statements and vilify his critics, but that is not good enough. He needs to do a public act of conversion and vow to fight against the benighted and murderous attitudes with which he has allowed his name to be associated.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It seems to me that this isn’t quite what we need to hear. We need to hear him either say that he didn’t say the things he is reported to have said and give some explanation for how he came to be reported that way or alternatively to confirm that he did say them but has now changed his mind. It would be even better to have some evidence that the changing of his mind did not happen to coincide with an interview for a new job. And if he really is the person with the diplomatic skills necessary for… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Another analysis of this appointment from Anglican Down Under
http://anglicandownunder.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/nigerian-cat-among-liberal-anglican.html

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“”Julie, I do not support the law in my country that criminalises homosexuality”

“is not the same as

“”Julie, I do not support criminalising homosexuality””

Oh no, he’s not taking the Anglican Communion into doublespeak territory, I hope.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

With friends like Anglican Down Under who needs enemies? Anglican Down Under does not see that It’s just unacceptable that a christian church leader would call for the imprisonment of gays. Just as bishops guilty of covering up child abuse are unredeemable even if they have many other merits, this kind of homophobic posturing can annihilate all the admirable qualifications he brings to the post. ADU’s heavy irony is not helping Idowu-Fearon at all, and seems rather to confirm the worst that is said of him.

Father David
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Father David

Yet more evidence that Cranmer Hall is the new Cuddesdon.

Father David
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Father David

Predictably most of the comments on this thread are concerned with Archbishop Josiah’s attitude towards homosexuality, very few mention his work in seeking greater understanding and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims. It seems that the bishop, who has a Doctorate in Islamic studies, set up a kind of Nigerian Corrymeela but not for Catholics and Protestants to meet together but for Christians and Muslims. Considering the recent dreadful atrocity at the Kenyan university and the massacre of dozens of Christians, surely Bishop Josiah is to be commended for his work on inter-faith dialogue?

David Richards
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David Richards

I remember when Jeffrey John’s appointment as Bishop of Reading was first announced, a group of Evangelicals (note I say ‘a group’ – not all!) called on him to publicly repent of his past homosexual acts (this was after he had been hounded into revealing the intimacies of his relationship with his partner). Will Bishop Josiah now do the same, if he is ‘clear and unapologetic’ about the importance of valuing LGBT people as valued members of the body of Christ? If Justin Welby is as committed to reconciliation as he claims, he should surely see that this is as… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Spirit of Vatican II, no doubt Josiah Idowu-Fearon can, and will, further clarify his views on criminalisation. But I do not share your apparent confidence that the Nigerian and other press would never misquote someone. Nor does it seem to me arrogant for him to be unapologetic if he does hold a position which is at odds with that of his primate and many other Christians in Nigeria, even if some think he should apologise for not being hardline enough with regard to interfaith relations and sexuality.

Father David
Guest
Father David

David Richards, I seem to remember that quite a few bishops of the Established Church took part in the hounding of Jeffrey John, including the current Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham who promulgated the current ban on the licensing of Canon Pemberton, resulting in his forced withdrawal from accepting consecration to the Suffragan See of Reading. After all these years Jeffrey John has still not been given a Diocesan Bishopric, perhaps Jeffrey is not a Friend of Justin?

John
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John

Seems to me we need more evidence. I do remember the remark about America sneezing but that’s prudential not necessarily homophobic. On the other hand, the point about Welby’s friends seems irrefutable. Howard Jacobsen’s piece on the Israelis and Palestinians in today’s Independent rightly emphasises the failures caused by lack of imagination. I have long thought that that’s what wrong with Welby and Sentamu (and others of their ilk): they have no imagination and therefore little true moral sense. But, as someone said, Stand Firm! This lot will only last about five years before their failure will be apparent to… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I think that it is important that people remember that the primary concern is not Bishop Josiah’s attitude to gay people. The primary concern is Bishop Josiah’s attitude to the law.

Father David
Guest
Father David

How many current Diocesan Bishops are products of Cuddesdon, not as many as there were during Runcie’s Archiepiscopate, I’ll wager. It seems that Cranmer Hall is now the place to train at if there is to be any hope of being given a pointy hat. Can’t think of any serving Diocesans from Staggers, although I am open, as always, to correction. As for the now defunct Lincoln Theological College, there remains the Bishop of London, who concluded his ministerial training there after having attended Cuddesdon in the first instance.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Father David, I’m really surprised that you don’t list the Bishop of Chichester as a Staggers man.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Both Chelmsford and Truro are also alumni of Staggers.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well, Simon, I did say that I am open to be corrected and corrected I have been. Thank you for doing so and reminding me what a first rate Diocesan Bishop Martin Warner actually is. Would that there were more in the Church of England like him serving as Diocesan Bishops. His address at the Chrism Mass in his cathedral church was inspirational likening the oils to “the cosmetics of holiness”, the text can be found on the Chichester Diocesan Website.

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Guest
Davis Mac-Iyalla

The appointment of Nigeria, Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion is making headlines among Anglican bloggers. Many are expressing concerns about comments attributed to him by the Nigeria media. I know Josiah will find time to clarify those comments attributed to him and I am not his defender but Jesus teaches us not to bear false witness that’s why I will say what I know that the man Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon is not a homophobic person and I believe that he does not support LGBT criminalization legislation in… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Oh dear, I really should have consulted Crockford’s before adding to this Blog! The Episcopate is changing so rapidly not only in terms of gender but also in terms of Churchmanship that it’s hard to keep up with it all. So, we have at least three Staggers Diocesans, how many serving Diocesans were Cuddesdon men? I think I am on safer ground here in affirming that there are not as many now as there were in Robert Runcie’s day. Apart from the present, long-serving Bishop of London, do we have any other Lincoln trained Diocesans? Under Justin Welby the Bench… Read more »

Michael Chancellor
Guest
Michael Chancellor

While some of us are being diverted by trivialities like which theological college the Bishop of Truro attended (even though I’m told he doesn’t much like to advertise where he went!) Davis Mac-Iyalla is hopeful that Josiah I-F will clarify his comments. He has been given an opportunity in a statement where ‘quotation out of context’ has been blamed for a misunderstanding. Are we going to see the full text spoken in context so we can make a balanced judgement on whether this is the case? This really is of vital importance if Anglicanism is to continue to claim that… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Michael, please see the newer article containing the two statements from the ACO issued earlier today.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Mr. Chancellor may consider the Churchmanship of the Bench of Bishops to be of trivial concern and of very little consequence but I beg to differ. The balance of the Episcopal Leadership is heading in a direction which is completely out of kilter. More and more Evangelicals are being appointed to senior positions within the National Church and Traditionalists are being increasingly marginalised. I hardly consider that to be a trivial matter but of very serious consequence.

cathy
Guest
cathy

From Downunder in NZ I am rather surprised at the willingness to believe media over common sense. I am not sure if the UK is the same as NZ but here the media often takes things out of context or puts their own spin of matters so you have to think twice before believing what is said. Davis, who is a homosexual Nigerian and has first hand experience of the newly appointed stands witness of his character. This speaks more volume to me than any one article in a paper. Also he mentions something that is altogether the most valid… Read more »