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ENS: Nigerian bishop’s appointment as Anglican Communion secretary general celebrated

ENS: Nigerian bishop’s appointment as Anglican Communion secretary general celebrated

A report from the Episcopal News Service quotes several American bishops’ opinions on the recent appointment of Josiah Idowu-Fearon, a Nigerian bishop, as Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office:

“Josiah is, above all, a man of communion, a careful listener, and a respecter of the different ways in which we are called to articulate and live the good news of God in Jesus Christ,” former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold told Episcopal News Service following the appointment.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, a member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, said he has known Idowu-Fearon for more than a decade through a variety of inter-Anglican bodies and responsibilities and finds him “committed to God’s mission of reconciliation, both between people of different faiths and between the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, also a member of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, said Idowu-Fearon “has worked hard to keep the conversation going among people who would often not want to talk to one another.”

And, in the comments to the ENS report, Bishop Pierre Whalon writes in response to other comments to the article:

It seems that people haven’t read the article. I have known Bishop Josiah for many years, having served together on the Network for Interfaith Concerns for seven years. I can corroborate what the others quoted say: this is a fine choice, because he has shown over and over again his commitment to the gospel imperative that all are welcome. What is not evident perhaps to some commentators is the situation of being a leader in Nigeria and in the Church of Nigeria. He has navigated that brilliantly. Give the man a chance!

Responding to Whalon, Jeremy Bates, writes, in part,

Bishop Whalon — Actually, before commenting, I read the article very carefully. It smacks of small-e episcopal propaganda–an organized campaign by Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s high-placed friends to soften the abhorrent views that he has publicly expressed.

Since his appointment his views on the criminalization of homosexuality have been scrutinized and he has issued a statement saying the reports are “misleading” and “misrepresent” his views.

Alda Morgan comments,

… I’m heartily sick of this reductionist conversation. Can’t we find any other reasons to try to work together or understand where other Christians are coming from when they don’t agree with us on this issue?

Also commenting on the ENS report, Cynthia Katsarelis writes, in part,

His ideas for the Anglican Communion, expressed in Toronto, includes a much stronger, more authoritative central body of primates, apparently with the power to punish erring provinces.


Posted by John B. Chilton

Photo: ACNS


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Martin Reynolds

Another thing to celebrate about this appointment is that the new Ambassador for Anglicanism is that he comes from one the five provinces that deny women any access to Holy Orders. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox partners will rejoice.

Of course the main thing to celebrate is that he is male and a bishop. Think what a challenge it would have been to the communions credibility if it had been a women and or a lay person.

Do you recall Roman Williams tepid (if not chilly) “welcome” when TEC elected a woman as Primate?
Her presence clearly clouded the whole plan to make the Primates group a credible government for the communion.
It obviously offended his sense of moving forward at the pace of the slowest by forcing others to treat with women on an equal footing.

No, no, there is SO much to rejoice in with this timely appointment!

Michael Hartney

Regarding funding ACC.
Line 193 of the Executive Council proposed budget to the Joint Commission on Program, Budget and Finance lists

$1,200,000 for the triennium, a $188,000 increase from the last triennium.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Thank you for the information, Michael. I really hold no position anywhere in the church. I’ve chaired the outreach committee at my parish and have been going to Haiti for over a decade.

My strong wish would be to keep the funding but absolutely insist on a human rights task force that addresses abuses, brings the Good News to the oppressed, and takes to task primates who support human rights abuses.

It is absolutely unpalatable to support it otherwise. By “unpalatable,” of course, I mean that if doesn’t happen I’ll completely tune out. Some consequence.

David Murray

Thanks for posting.

However, there is no central authority. Outside of each national church. But naturally the power hungry want one…

David Murray

We shall see this occur. Personally, I remain concerned about the statements having been made in the past. I also remain concerned for the safely of LGBT persons everywhere, and this includes in Nigeria. But this points to a problem about the Communion. This isn’t the Roman system. We aren’t under them in structure.

But we shall see…

Kelvin Holdsworth

Why on earth any US Episcopalians would support this appointment after Bishop Josiah advocated the US church having to leave the communion is something of a mystery. (Here for example:

These people do have google, don’t they?

David Murray

Thanks for posting this. I understand far better the interest in Islamic thought. It feeds an already existing belief system. I do wish I could truly believe that the anti-gay is just from the Bible, and no from the buggery laws of Victorian England. However, I can’t. It is sad thing to see when hate meets hate – and finds a friend.

Cynthia Katsarelis

You’re probably part right, David. Another thing, Bishop Idowu-Fearon states that gayness is not part of African culture. Anthropologists have found otherwise, there are documentaries with interviews of gay tribal people…

This only shows what we know. It is irrational. The Bible has about 5 references to possible gay stuff. Weigh that against all the references to treatment of the poor, adultery, divorce, etc., it clearly shows an absolute hysteria at work.

That’s my four posts for the day.


Cynthia Katsarelis

Thanks Kelvin. There’s a loving tendency in TEC to include everyone, and not scratch the surface too deeply. If the bishop said last week that he never supported criminalization, that’s enough for them. Once you look, however, you find that the bishop contributed mightily to the rhetoric of hate, going way beyond “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

I’m not sure that TEC’s voice matters one whit. I don’t know what our budget looks like, I hope that we aren’t funding ACC too heavily and that we fund actual ministries instead. But those decisions are above my pay grade in the Episcopal Church.

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