The Anglican church’s outgoing secretary general talks about his seven-year job and the Lambeth Conference.
After serving as secretary general of the Anglican Communion for the first time, the first African to occupy that position is leaving his position.
As his seven-year time as Archbishop of the Province of Nigeria in the Anglican Communion draws to a close, the Most Reverend Dr. Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon expressed gratitude for the opportunity.
Among the highlights of his tenure in office were being there for the establishment of four new provinces and fostering ties with bishops from all across the Communion.
Still, he feels bad about not convincing any bishops in Rwanda, Uganda, or Nigeria to travel to England for the Lambeth summit.
He told Premier Christian News, “I regret it, but more than that, I grieve the lack of openness to what we feel the Lord is doing inside the Communion.”
When invited to the Lambeth Conference, the Archbishops of those nations declined, citing a refusal to share communion with bishops from provinces that bless same-sex marriage as the reason.
He feels bad that he couldn’t do more to help smooth things over between them.
This is my family, and if you have one and there are misunderstandings that have caused certain members to avoid participating in family life, you could relate to what I’m about to say. And then there’s that pause. There is a void that can never be filled. That’s why I’m crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that we’ll soon see progress,” he said.
In 2015, when Archbishop Josiah first assumed his position, he stated that one of his goals was to serve as a “bridge-builder.” He said, “It is being answered,” when asked if that prayer had been answered, particularly during the Lambeth Conference.
Even among those who have already decided not to partake in communion, let me share. To my knowledge, at least one bishop has told me that after talking to one of the bishops who had decided to abstain from Eucharist, the latter eventually changed his mind and began participating in the sacrament. It’s not what I gave you; it’s the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, given to you on the basis of your faith in him.
Archbishop Josiah will now take up a role in the Anglican Diocese of Texas – he will become an assistant bishop focused on outreach and evangelism, church expansion and worldwide engagement.
Most Rev. Anthony Poggo, now the Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser on Anglican Communion affairs, will take over for him.