The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has strongly condemned people who “militantly present falsehoods” about the Communion, despite knowing that what they are saying is untrue. Idowu-Fearon made his comments as he gave his annual report to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, at the start of their four-day meeting in London. The secretary general told the committee members that “listening to what is going on in the Communion has been very encouraging.”
He highlighted a number of areas of what he called “rumours and gossip,” including the decision to move the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council from Brazil to Hong Kong. The decision was taken, he reminded the Standing Committee, after the then-primate of Brazil, Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, said that his province could not host the meeting because of economic, political and provincial difficulties. “We owe it to him to let people know the truth,” he said. “Please tell people the true story before spinners go to work.”
Idowu-Fearon also dismissed allegations that the Anglican Communion had gone back on what the primates requested at the end of their January 2016 meeting, when they agreed to impose “consequences” on the U.S.-based Episcopal Church over its decision to change its canons on marriage. “Everything asked for in the communiqué, has been done,” he said.
The secretary general’s report was “an overview of the Anglican Communion and the work of the Anglican Communion Office,” he said. Many of the areas would be covered in more depth over the course of this week’s meeting.
Speaking about the meeting of Anglican bishops, due to take place in Canterbury in 2020, Idowu-Fearon praised the work of Lambeth Conference chief executive Phil George, and said: “The momentum of expectation for the conference is building and is being evidenced through the engagement with Primates in the regional meetings held so far.” The regional Primates’ Meetings, held throughout this year and next, are being held to help set the agenda for the Lambeth Conference.
“As we move towards the Lambeth Conference there are consistent reminders that it is more than a unique gathering of bishops and their spouses,” he said in his report. “Like all Lambeth Conferences there is enormous opportunity and expectation: the whole Anglican Communion, the wider Christian Church, other faith communities and the secular world will all be looking to the Conference to deliver a refreshed vision for being God’s Church in God’s World.”
On the Primates’ Meeting, he said that between the January 2016 and October 2017 Primates’ Meetings, there were 16 new primates. And, since the October 2017 meeting, there had already been a further seven new primates, with more elections due before the Lambeth Conference.
“This rate of change in provincial leadership across the Communion creates a significant challenge in terms of the building of relationships and sharing of the journey taken by Primates together over the past few years,” he said. “At the same time it provides great opportunity for Provinces to review their position, identify strongly with their peers and ensure maximum involvement in the global issues and initiatives being taken across the Communion.”
The report addressed a number of issues, including education and understanding in the Communion, ecumenical dialogues, finance, growth, provincial ambitions and the state of the Communion.