Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon interviewed by CoI Gazette

Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, recently interviewed Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General at the Anglican Communion Office. The full interview lasts 45 minutes, and the recordings can be found here.

There is a report in the Church Times today: Idowu-Fearon: US conservatives manipulating African Anglicans.

THE importance that African church leaders attach to the ques­tion of same-sex relationships is the result of interference by conserva­tives in the United States, the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has said.

In an interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette, published last week, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that Anglican leaders in Africa seemed “to be so much taken in” by the issue, not be­cause of concerns about the impact on relations with Mus­lims, but as a result of “very strong min­ority conservatives” in the US.

“The very strong minority conservatives, not in the UK but in America, they have found a footing amongst some of the leaders in Africa,” he said. “They are the ones that sort of pumped this thing into the leaders, and the leaders decided to make it an African thing. It is not an African thing. There are homo­sexuals everywhere — even in my diocese.”

He denied that African leaders were anxious about relation­ships with Muslims: “It’s not true. It has not stopped church growth in my part of Nigeria. . . Nobody talks about it.”

Another report of the interview has been published here: Are the Leaders of Africa’s Anglican Churches “Despotic”?

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Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

I’m very glad to see that Archbishop Idowu-Fearon has had the courage to speak out on what has been going on for a long time now. The blatant manipulation, coercion and sometimes barely concealed bribery that is the hallmark of American conservatives has damaged not only the African Church but the entire Anglican Communion.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

And don’t forget the manipulative actions
of Sydney either.

Susannah Clark
Guest

The interview with Josiah was fascinating. The thing is, too much of the discourse among English bishops seems opaque, and what does get said publicly sometimes seems highly controlled. Josiah, in contrast, was pretty transparent here (which may cause a few shit-storms for him, but at least he’s come out and said things bluntly and… to use an important word… honestly). So kudos to him for that. He considers himself a reconciler, wanting the Communion to hold together – “to live together with our differences” – and yet he is perplexed at how that can be achieved. He is very… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Okay. In my last post I tried to summarise what Josiah seemed to be saying about the Anglican Churches in Africa. I hope I represented his comments faithfully. Now for a response. It’s primarily about desperate poverty. I’ll say that again. I agree with Josiah that the primary issue by far faced by Christians and local priests in Africa is poverty. I feel strongly with that, and feel Josiah is right to identify this sort of problem as “real issues”, because my own sweet daughter works selflessly in slums in Africa, and I hear first-hand the desperation, the helplessness, the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

I can’t speak for the leadership issue, and the “despotic” charge, because I don’t have the experience. Same with corruption. But Josiah clearly feels there needs to be more acknowledgment and recognition of divergent views (and of course that works both ways in the Communion). He feels some African leadership has been hijacked by an agenda and a priority which is not naturally Africa’s priority. And that this hijack threatens to de-rail the Communion. I agree. My daughter’s weekly emails speak of a different Africa. An Africa concerned far far less with ‘teh gayz’ but with food, and unaffordable healthcare,… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Most of what I have reflected on so far leads me to considerable agreement with Josiah, but I will finish with two points where I don’t find myself in agreement. The first is his account of ACC-16. And the second is what I regard as his misplaced advocacy of a resurrected Anglican Covenant. Turning to ACC-16, I simply don’t feel convinced by his account (an account he shares with Justin Welby) that ACC-16 mandated the Primates’ Meetings ‘consequences’ for the US Church and gave the Primates’ resolution legitimacy. Interviewer: “The Archbishop of Canterbury gave the impression that the ACC accepted… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

So finally, the Anglican Covenant. Surely, when the Church of England and other provinces rejected it, they were sending a message that there is no ‘worldwide Anglican Church’ and that individual provinces retained autonomy to care for their own communities in ways they felt led by God to do. They did not want ‘top-down uniformity’ imposed on all provinces. This was about more than sex, or sanctions. It was about the nature of the Communion. The origins of the Anglican Covenant – let’s be plain about this – were about a desire to police and control doctrine as a specific… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

I’m glad Archbishop Josiah is repeating out loud the critique of certain stripes of African Christianity that has been heard in the West for some years. This part alone: “I have been blessed by my education in the West… where you are educated to ask questions… where education humbles you… but unfortunately we don’t have that in Africa… it’s a big problem.” …will totally destroy his credibility with the bible-college educated potentate-bishops with which the church in Nigeria, Uganda and other places is rife. They will simply read this as heterodoxy and commit Josiah to the same flames to which… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Africa produces some outstanding bishops.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“I think he just means there should be far more focus on the desperate issues around poverty.” By Christmas 1945, Japan was under military occupation following one of the bloodiest and most destructive attacks on a country ever seem. Almost every city had been raised to the ground, by incendiaries, high explosives and in two cases nuclear weapons. The entire transportation system had been reduced to scrap iron, the entire manufacturing sector had been destroyed, the population had been severely malnourished for some years and was now facing widespread starvation. A large proportion of the male population of working age… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The Nigerian Archbishop who is currently Secretary General of the Anglican Communion actually knows from experience something of the despotic rule of GAFCON Primates. He was dismissed from his post as an Archbishop in Nigeria by his local Primate – for not agreeing to toe the schismatic line of GAFCON.
It seems perfectly natural that he should point to the malign influence of fundamentalist U.S. and Sydney dissidents upon some Churches of the G.S. that are looking to disown the See of Canterbury.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Bp.Idowu-Fearon’s current take on some the authoritarian leadership and lack of consultation in the Communion is interesting given the spin he put on the Primates’ January “murmuratio” and its spill over to Anglican Consultative Council. Clearly conservatives in the U.S. will have egg on their face as a result of the comments by Idowu-Fearon. The exportation of American culture wars, a kind of neo-colonial initiative, has seriously compounded the unity problems in the Anglican Communion. Canada is finally, although belatedly, in most places here anyway, embracing the inclusive nature of the wider secular Canadian culture. What provinces elsewhere do with… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

The Anglican Covenant is what it has always been, a tower of Babel designed to promote unity, giving a body to division.

The church does not require a central administration or government. A network of cooperating churches is the reality of the body of Christ, with Christ as the head, not a synod.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Those who would not want to have anything to do with a covenant are entirely free to do so. That has always been the case. TEC has made its view known, formally. Josiah isn’t proposing a covenant to ‘correct’ that reality or the Tower of Babel view of Fr Haller. So they may ignore it and carry on, and let those who wish to covenant do so. I take it that is how he views the matter. TEC wishes to be an independent national denomination and there will be others who hold this view as well. That is not news.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

The danger, Christopher, is that the Covenant becomes an instrument of division: dividing those who sign up to certain theological positions from those who don’t, until you have two separate entities. The Covenant seems to imply a top-down call for uniformity to a single position on matters like human sexuality, whereas that is not how the Anglican Communion has been framed. There have historically been quite wide diversities of belief in Anglicanism, and self-determination for individual provinces, not top-down conformity. Part of the genius (and the tension) of Anglicanism has historically been how people managed to live together with different… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The reality is that a Communion in which there is not shared communion isn’t a communion. I believe more provinces are out of communion with TEC than are in communion. This isn’t really a workable or sustainable view of an Anglican Communion. One can say it is OK and adjust to it, as you apparently wish to do, but you will need a new term of reference. Anglican Federation? And those who want a communion on the terms of actual shared communion will want to keep that conception. So in fact your position is simply your own and those who… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Christopher, I suspect the vast majority of Church members in any of the provinces are perfectly happy to come to the same communion table with members of other provinces… because they are coming to the table to take the sacraments and draw into communion with GOD. Every single Christian is ‘in communion’ with one another, if they are ‘in Christ’, sharing in that eternal communion and unity of the Holy Trinity in the household of God. Just because some Christian leaders get stress with one another, usually over theological detail, doesn’t change the eternal union and communion we find and… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Your musings are interesting but don’t change the realities of church division. These must be addressed as realities, not ephemera.

Advent blessings.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

the “…realities of church division .. must be addressed as realities..”

Are you thinking of American culture wars and how they intersect divisions in the Communion?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

You are closer to that reality than I am in France. Merry Christmas!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“You are closer to that reality than I am in France.’ Perhaps France is surreal, at least for Anglicans in Paris, oui et non? Note the following from the article: “ ‘The very strong minority conservatives, not in the UK but in America, they have found a footing amongst some of the leaders in Africa,’ he said. ‘They are the ones that sort of pumped this thing into the leaders, and the leaders decided to make it an African thing. It is not an African thing.’ ” Here in Canada, some of the loudest voices in opposition to same sex… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

American ex-pats in Canadian Church — who are these? I wasn’t aware of this development. There is a sizable conservative element in Toronto Diocese but I don’t know any ex-pats in it.

As for the anglicans in Paris, they are all Brits. Your reference to ‘surreal’ makes no sense to me.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Anglicans in Paris? Are there not Americans on Avenue George V?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I wouldn’t have assumed a Canadian would refer to Americans/Episcopalians in Paris as Anglicans, but then again, I’m not sure what the point of the comment was (“Perhaps France is surreal, at least for Anglicans in Paris, oui et non”). The Anglicans in Ile de France are all Brits except for the chaplain in Maisons Lafitte. But what Mr Gillis was wanting to say I haven’t a clue.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“Your reference to ‘surreal’ makes no sense to me.” That was intended as a bit of drole comment re: France and “reality” . Too much? “As for the anglicans in Paris, they are all Brits.” I realize not all Anglicans in France are Americans;but I was thinking about the American Cathedral in particular as Simon noted above as well, “Anglicans in Paris? Are there not Americans on Avenue George V?” I attended a Sunday liturgy there several years ago. The sermon was mostly about Benjamin Franklin, and so a bit surreal, in a different kind of way. Very friendly folks… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I still have no idea what your comment really means given the thread. So there is an American Episcopal Church in Paris. (And a quite big American Church on the left bank, for that matter.) How does that connect with your comment about American politics, presumably directed to me? Episcopalians are not usually referred to as Anglicans, by their own disposition, as wanting to be TEC and not wanting to be ACNA. “I realize not all Anglicans in France are Americans” doesn’t make much sense. There is a single American Episcopal church in France. There are over 40 Church of… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Your comment was, “are American ex-pats working in the Canadian church.”

To whom were you referring? The conservatives in the Anglican Church of Canada I know are all Canadians. Barry Parker has the largest parish in the ACofC. Dean Mercer, Murray Henderson, Catherine Sider-Hamilton, Ajit John, Peter Robinson and the list goes on — all proud Canadians. Are you just chasing the wind?

You objection to being called by your surname reminds me of fussy French politicians getting incensed when referred to by ‘tu’ and their Christian names, though I understand that issue at least.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Chris Seitz, “To whom were you referring? The conservatives in the Anglican Church of Canada I know are all Canadians.” To whom were you referring i.e. “You are closer to that reality than I am in France.” I hadn’t a clue what you were talking about there. I thought you may have been referring to some of the conservative Americans attached to Wycliffe who have a profile on these issues, i.e. previous president, current president both born in the U.S.A, Ephraim Radner retired from there I believe, and then there is your good self of course, oui? Not just… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Voila, Monsieur Enseignant aussi…

There was a very funny exchange over one France politician’s arch use of ‘tu’ and first name for his left opponent. That story didn’t get out to Western Canada, where you are hung up on the obverse. Hate to have to explain a joke.

I believe the present Principal at Wycliffe has lived his entire adult life in Canada. Radner is an American citizen, and not in the ACofC. My wife is a French professor running a business in France. I do not live in Toronto.

Descending indeed.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“There was a very funny exchange over one France politician’s arch use of ‘tu’ and first name for his left opponent.” I don’t often tune in to local news from France, so your allusion was lost on me.

“My wife is a French professor running a business in France.” Very good. I have a family member who is Francophone and a professional translator. Small world. And how threads travel. Happy New Year.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Monsieur Gillis — si vous voulez observer notre Christmas a Courances, je pense que vous pourriez (a Instagram a French_affaires.)

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Merci, Chris. salut, -Rod ( :