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Idowu-Fearon 'to be voice of Africa'

08 May 2015

LAMBETH PALACE

Making a presence felt: Dr Idowu-Fearon (centre) at Lambeth Palace, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop James Tengatenga 

Making a presence felt: Dr Idowu-Fearon (centre) at Lambeth Palace, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the chair of ...

"AS AN African and a Nigerian, God has given us that opportunity to at least make our voice heard." That's the message from the incoming secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Bishop of Kaduna, in Nigeria, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

The first African to be appointed to the position, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that taking up the post would be an honour for the whole continent. Speaking to the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian on Sunday, he said: "The Archbishop of Canterbury . . . said he wants the voice of the southern part of the globe, Africa in particular, because we have the largest number of Anglicans. He wants our presence felt and our voice heard. God help me, we will do that."

His position would be to act as a bridge between Africa and Europe, he said, helping each side to understand the other better. "It is not to be waving our fingers, but to rationally present our position."

Shortly after his appointment was announced last month, Dr Idowu-Fearon had to defend his position on homosexuality, after newspaper reports of previous sermons of his appeared online ( News, 10 April). A statement at the time clarified that he had always opposed the criminalisation of homosexuality, and that the reports were inaccurate.

In the Guardian interview, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that the Anglican Communion's position on same-sex marriage had not changed, even if some provinces did not oppose it. "Our position is that we cannot accept any marriage that is not biblical, that is, a man and a woman coming together," he said. "That is the standard position of the Anglican Church."

He insisted, however, that the Communion did not "hate anybody", and compared the situation to the issue of polygamy in the Nigerian Church. "It is a question of understanding. . . Nobody would get up and say the Church of Nigeria promotes polygamy. We don't, but it is there."

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