Secretary General Rt. Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon

What Difference Will He Make?

>>Fearon: What difference will he make?

Apr 12, 2015 ()

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1.0 Introduction

  • According to anglicancommunion.org, the Anglican Episcopal family consists of 44
  • different Churches (an estimated 85 million Christians). These make up 38 Member Churches (also called Provinces) and six other national or local churches known as Extra Provincials, spread across the globe (in over 165 countries).
  • It is a group of the majority of churches within the Anglican-Episcopal tradition. It is served by four "Instruments of Communion": The Archbishop of Canterbury; The Primates Meeting; The Lambeth Conference; and, The Anglican Consultative Council.
  • The Anglican Communion traces much of its growth to the older mission organisations of the Church of England such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK, founded in 1698), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG founded 1701, now known as Us) and the Church Missionary Society (CMS, founded 1799).
  • The Secretary General is the head of the Secretariat of the Anglican Communion. It is essentially an administrative position – serving the four instruments of Communion.

2.0 Some Notable facts about Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, his appointment and the Context

  • The first Secretary General from the Global South – significant in the context of the shift of the centre of gravity of Christianity to the Global South;
  • An African bishop from the largest Church in the Anglican Communion, in the low-church tradition (evangelical) – the first in its history, since its founding in 1968;
  • An academic, missiologist and pastor (A Ph.D. in Sociology and Postgraduate Diploma in Education, an M.A. in Islamic Theology, and a B.A. in Theology); hailing from one of the African heartlands of Islam – previous Secretary Generals have had a bias in Administration;
  • The current context of the Communion:
    • Theological diversity – the via Media distinctive (Catholic and Reformed);
    • Tensions and conflict over the ‘human sexuality’ question;
    • Broken Communion – the reality of the GAFCON – the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 and the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) – the reality of TEC and ACNA;
    • Indaba and the Living Reconciliation Project;
    • Archbishop Justin Welby – an evangelical within the Anglican Renewal movement

3.0 Key Questions: Are we asking for too much?

  • Transforming a club to a fellowship (togetherness in Mission – Philippians 1:5)?
  • Movement from maintenance (establishment) to Mission – back to the roots (1 Corinthians 3:9)?
  • Beyond the human sexuality tension to becoming a hermeneutical-missional community (Ephesians 3:18-19)?
  • The Way forward – the wheat and weeds growing together (Matthew 13: 24-30; treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7)?