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Idowu-Fearon defends position as Communion secretary-general

10 April 2015

Lambeth Palace

New appointment: Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon with the Archbishop of Canterbury

New appointment: Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon with the Archbishop of Canterbury

THE Bishop of Kaduna, in Nigeria, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has been appointed as the next secretary-general of the Anglican Communion. He succeeds the Rt Revd Kenneth Kearon, now the Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe, in the Church of Ireland (News, 12 September).

Dr Idowu-Fearon said that it was an honour to be chosen for the position. "I am excited to take up the post of secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, and to continue the fine work undertaken by my predecessors in this office," he said.

His appointment has been welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. "I look forward to working closely with him", Archbishop Welby said, "in the renewal of the Anglican Communion amidst the global challenges facing us today."

The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt Revd James Tengatenga, said that Dr Idowu-Fearon's experience in building bridges between Chris-tians and Muslims would be especially helpful.

Shortly after his appointment was announced, Dr Idowu-Fearon had to defend his position on homosexuality, after newspaper reports of previous sermons of his appeared online. In a statement on Saturday, he said that the reports were misleading, and that he had always opposed a Nigerian law that criminalises homosexuality.

Bishop Tengatenga said that the panel that appointed Dr Idowu-Fearon agreed that it was "long overdue" for the post to be held by someone from the "majority world". "It is well known that Bishop Josiah holds a conservative view on sexual relations outside of traditional marriage," he said. "There is more than one issue to address, and, while some may question his suitability, many in the Communion - from different convictions on the issues, and both sides of the Atlantic Ocean - can vouch for his integrity and commitment to reconciliation."

Dr Idowu-Fearon became Bishop of Kaduna in 1998, having been previously Bishop of Sokoto; Warden of St Francis of Assisi Theological College, in Wusasa, Nigeria; and Provost of St Michael's Cathedral, Kaduna. He was, for a period, Archbishop of the province of Kaduna.

He studied theology at Durham University, and has a Master's degree in Islamic theology from Birmingham University, and is an acknowledged expert on Christian-Muslim relations.

In 2007, he was appointed a Six Preacher at Canterbury. In 2013, he was awarded the Cross of St Augustine by Archbishop Welby.

Dr Idowu-Fearon, who is married and has two children, will take up his new post in July.

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