The General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has announced that he will retire from his role at the end of August 2022.
The 73-year old, who previously served as Archbishop of Kaduna, Northern Nigeria, was appointed to a seven-year term in 2015. He said: “When I was appointed to this post, I said that, my prayer to God is very simple, that I would be able to be a bridge builder; to create the culture of respect for differences, a culture of accepting people as human beings and loving them for who they are in Christ.”
He added: “Over the past six years we have seen this prayer come true. There are still divisions within the Anglican Communion; but there is very little of the bitterness and rancour that existed previously.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon for his leadership in the Anglican Communion as Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council.”
He added: “He has ministered to us through a profound respect both for our difference and diversity, and with a vision for our unity in Jesus Christ. For his remarkable determination and courage and courage in pursuing this calling, I praise God for the gift that Josiah has been to us.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury also thanked the General Secretary for his role in the next Lambeth Conference, which which will run in July and August next year.
Speaking at a press conference, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon, who has a masters degree in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Birmingham University, said that he will work at the Kaduna Centre for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations to help improve interfaith relations in Northern Nigeria.
The Archbishop said: “The Anglicans never say the Anglican Church, we say the Anglican Communion of Churches. We have 42 different churches so there is no way we can put everyone together.”
He added: “There is always room within the Anglican Communion as long as you accept Jesus Christ your saviour.”
Pressed on the recent decision by the Anglican Church in Wales to bless same sex marriage and what impact that would have in the international Anglican communion he said: “I heard about it, and I am treating it as a decision made by a member of the family, but a decision which will not go down well with some others in the family.”
He emphasised that the role of the Central Office in the Anglican Church is “to be there to encourage them (Anglican provinces) from the central office, but the actual work of proclamation and mission, of fighting injustice is back to the local level”.