‘Ecumenical first’ as pioneering young adults receive leadership programme certificates
Participants in the Foundational Leadership Programme for Young Adults were recently presented with certificates to mark the completion of the course at an awards ceremony held in St Paul’s church on Arran Quay, Dublin.
The programme was a joint initiative of the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the planning, preparation, content and delivery being devised by the former’s Young Adults Ministry and the latter’s Office of Evangelisation and Ecumenism.
The ecumenical training course was designed to equip young adults with the skills to be more active and faithful in leadership roles in their parishes and communities.
CHURCH OF NIGERIA’S STANCE ON ANGLICAN SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTMENT
Controversy in the Church of Nigeria over the appointment earlier this year of the former Bishop of Kaduna, in the Church of Nigeria, the Rt Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, as the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion – in succession to the now Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, Dr Kenneth Kearon – has resurfaced with extensive comments to the Nigerian press by the Bishop of Evoh, the Rt Revd Innocent Ordu.
Bishop Ordu was reported in the major daily, Abuja- based newspaper, Leadership, as reiterating a statement issued by the Church of Nigeria shortly after Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s appointment that it had been made without the Church of Nigeria’s approval. That statement pointed out that Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s indication that he had never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community, and would never support it, “clearly indicates that he is not in accord with the theological and doctrinal posture of the Church of Nigeria”.
However, following the Church of Nigeria’s statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was “delighted” at Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s appointment, adding: “This highly competitive process has produced a Secretary- General who is an eminent scholar with an international track record of reconciling people, especially of different faiths. It is very good news that he comes from the largest and one of the most vigorous Provinces of the Communion.” A Lambeth Palace comment added that Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s view on “the criminalization of people of same gender attraction is fully in line with Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference”.
Resolution 1.10 stated that “while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture”, the Bishops called on all Anglicans “to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation”. Because a Church – such as the Church of Ireland – holds to a traditional view of sexuality does not mean that all views of sexuality that are against that teaching should be unlawful in the State. This is the stance that the Church of Ireland has taken in relation to laws on homosexuality. It appears that the Church of Nigeria does not make that distinction; if the Church of Nigeria does make that distinction, it should clearly say so. It is essentially a matter of allowing for differing views and recognising that every country should allow not only freedom to believe and practise a religion but also freedom not to hold a religious view.
Bishop Ordu was quoted as telling the Port Harcourt press conference, which was held ahead of his diocesan synod: “The position of the Primate [Archbishop Nicholas Okoh] is that since a good number of those who are part of the ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] are in support of the gay rights movement and all that, a Nigerian bishop, knowing the position of the national Church here, ought not to accept a position in that body, because doing so will mean that we have all keyed into whatever negative posture these other ones are holding. That is the exact picture of things now and I cannot say categorically that the Church is happy about it or in support of it, but definitely, the answer is no.”
Although the Church of Nigeria has wished Bishop Idowu-Fearon “every blessing”, it is a pity that it has not given him more unequivocal support as he takes up a post of global significance in the Anglican Communion. The new Secretary-General deserves affirmation from every part of the Communion as he takes on a difficult ministry in the service of our one Lord.
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