African Anglican leaders “taken in” by American conservatives – Communion leader

Last week the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion Office, the Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, was interviewed by The Church of Ireland Gazette. The interview is available in audio format here.

Among the topics, influence on African Anglican leaders by conservative groups that have broken away from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada.

Church Times:

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.

… 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.”

Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General in 2015, Idowu-Fearon had served as the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria.

More from the Church Times report concerning Idowu-Fearon’s view of GAFCON:

He had also told Dr Peter Jensen, its general secretary, that GAFCON was “not a movement of the Holy Spirit, because it is divisive”.

Elsewhere in the interview he described Anglican leaders in Africa as “despotic” and “ineffective.”

“Church leaders in Africa generally do not see themselves as leading the way Christ leads his Church. Rather, the African Church leader sees himself – mainly ‘himself’ – in the light of the traditional rulers, those with absolute authority.”
The full interview is broken into parts. An outline to the topics in each segment is provided. African leadership and American conservatives are in Part 3.


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  1. Larry Graham

    Bishops are called upon to be prophetic; i.e., truth-tellers. And sometimes the truth can be painful. This is one of those times, and we should be grateful for it.

    • Bob Johnston

      But divisiveness and authoritarianism would not be what Jesus would do, Larry. Nobody has the entire truth. Love wins!

      • David Allen

        I think that Larry is speaking of the truthfulness of Bishop Josiah’s words, which are neither divisive or authoritarian at this moment.

  2. Rod Gillis

    The interview with Bishop Idowu-Fearon is curious from a politcal point of view, given his previously stated opinions. If I were more interested I’d try to analyze more deeply what his strategy is.

    Clearly conservatives in the U.S. will have egg on their face as a result of the comments by Idowu-Fearon. Everyone knows that the exportation of American culture wars and money has impacted the unity of the Anglican Communion. It has a neo-colonial dimension.

    The assessment by Idowu-Fearon of some of 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.

    He does not mention Canada in the article, although his use of the term America may imply that. The breakaways in Canada have had no impact here to speak of. I doubt if they would have much ability to contribute financially to culture wars abroad in any case.

    • Cynthia Katsarelis

      I believe that Archbishop Josiah is evolving. I heard him preach at UNCSW (United Nations Commission on the Status of Women). His talk about women, our place in faith history and now, was liberated. Some things he has said more recently on LGBT people has been far more compassionate and realistic than some of his earlier writings and remarks. I believe him to be a true man of God and that he is growing in Spirit and Wisdom. I could be wrong, of course, I have tons of Spirit but sometimes Wisdom evades me. But that was my impression of him.

      • Rod Gillis

        Cynthia, thanks for this perspective. Seems positive and hopeful.

        On the wider question of The Communion as outlined in the article, I’m pleased that our province (Canada) is finally although belatedly, in most places here anyway, finally embracing the inclusive nature of the wider secular Canadian culture. What provinces elsewhere do with what are ethical and cultural issues is for them to work out with fear and trembling.

        These days, I worship with the Anglican communion–I’m just not interested in worshipping for it.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Remember that the Anglican Communion Women, the delegates at UNCSW, re-affirmed their statement that vows that they will stay in communion with all their sisters, regardless of what the guys do. They said it better that, of course. ACC-Lusaka had no stomach for division, either. The grassroots level of the Anglican Communion seems to be loving, connected, and committed to doing the work of the Gospel, together.

        It’ll be nice when our leaders catch up.

  3. Rod Gillis

    “It’ll be nice when our leaders catch up.”, which is to say it will be nice when our patriarchs catch up.

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