7 Sep 2015

Biography of Rt. Rev.Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Consultative Council of the Anglican Communion.

Josiah Idowu-Fearon
Josiah Idowu-Fearon
Rt.Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon was born on January 17, 1949 at Kerinye in Kogi State. He is the Anglican Archbishop of the province of Kaduna and the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese and a stauch proponent of Christian-Muslim dialogue in Nigeria. This earned
him the nickname”Mr. Dialogue”. He is married with three children. He initially wanted to become a soldier, he later abandoned that dream when he embraced Christianity in 1964. He got into the seminary and was ordained as a priest of the Anglican Church in 1971. He was thereafter consecrated as a Bishop of the diocese of sokoto in 1990 by J. Abiodun Adetiloye.

He is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christianity at Kaduna and is an adjunct professor at Wycliffe College, Canada.
In April 2015 he was appointed as the seventh Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, scheduled to take the role in July 2015.  A moderate theological conservative, he subscribes to the traditional Anglican stance on homosexuality, but he opposes its criminalization, unlike the official stance of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. who distanced herself from his nomination, despite wishing him "every blessing".

He served on the 2003 to 2004 Lambeth Commission on Communion, which considered worldwide Anglican unity in response to divisive debates on homosexuality, and he is the past president of the Anglican Network for Inter Faith Concerns. He is also an area leader for the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA).
In 2007, Josiah Idowu-Fearon began a five year, renewable term as a Six Preacher (a preaching priest) at Canterbury Cathedral in London; he previously taught at the cathedral’s International Study Centre.
Idowu-Fearon studied at Durham University and the University of Birmingham. He attended the 2009 Georgetown University-sponsored conference “A Common Word Between Us and You: A Global Agenda for Change.”
Idowu-Fearon in a interview for BBC Sunday Programme on 9 August 2015 said that he stands by the Anglican Communion Resolution 1.10 taken at Lambeth Conference in 2008 that affirms sexuality only acceptable in a marriage as the lifelong union between a man and a woman and reiterates sexual abstinence for celibate people, while also opposing the criminalization of homosexual activity. He criticized both the departures taken by the pro-homosexuality churches of the Anglican Communion, in particular the Episcopal Church of the United States, and the support for the criminalization of homosexuality done by several African churches, like the Church of Nigeria. In relation to the Episcopal Church and their eventual disciplination, he said that "I would strongly recommend that their Presiding Bishop (Katharine Jefferts Schori) should be given the opportunity to come and explain himself and those who disagree with this member of the family within that particular family, let them also explain themselves. We need to show that, look, we are concerned about what you have done and the impact on our corporate witness. So give us time, to take our decision, and when our decision is taken and they accept fine. If they don't accept, they have a choice...”

Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s appointment followed the resignation of former Secretary-General of the church, Kenneth Kearon, who was appointed Bishop in Ireland early 2015.
Bishop Idowu Fearon was selected from initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
He is the first African to occupy the position.
Briefing newsmen on his new appointment, Bishop Fearon expressed excitement to take up the post and gave an assurance to serve the church diligently.
The Bishop said that his appointment would assist Africa, Nigeria in particular, in tackling some of its security challenges, poverty and diseases currently ravaging the country and Africa as a whole.
He added that his appointment would not influence the Nigerian Church and Africa in adopting same sex marriage as being practiced by some churches in Europe and America.
President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon on his appointment as the Secretary-General of the Consultative Council of the Anglican Communion Worldwide In a letter delivered to Rev. Idowu-Fearon in London on 4th September, 2015 on the occasion of his commissioning into the new post. President Buhari said that all Nigerians were proud of his elevation into one of the most important offices in the world of faith.
The President also applauded Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s emergence, after a highly competitive selection process, as the first African to occupy the office. He has this to say:
“With your intellect, with great pastoral zeal and with compassion, you have over the years risen above intolerance and narrow sectarianism and built interfaith and ecumenical bridges of understanding among your countrymen.
“We salute your special gift of clearly articulating the essence and beauty of the many bonds that bind us. You have lived up to your calling and attained your self-stated goals of creating a culture of respect for differences, a culture of accepting human beings for what they are and playing down the things that divide them.
“Our nation and the world will certainly be a better place if all men of God approach pastoral work with the same patience, compassion and fidelity to higher principles that you have exhibited in the various offices you have held.
“It is our prayer that, in your new position, God uses you to counsel and move the entire worldwide Anglican Communion in the direction in which you have taken the Anglican Church in Nigeria—towards an intimate knowledge of  others, and sincere fellowship with everyone.
“This is the imperative of the moment: it is what the world direly needs today,”
President Buhari wrote this message in the congratulatory letter which was delivered to the Most Reverend Idowu-Fearon  by a personal emissary of the President, Mallam Adamu Adamu.

President Buhari also wished Bishop Idowu-Fearon God’s guidance and success at his new post in the Anglican Communion Office in London.

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