Anglican Alliance: Backdoor for Episcopal Church Funds into Africa?

A top official in the worldwide Anglican Communion made news last week

“Several African national churches, known as provinces, have stated that they will not accept financial support from the Episcopal Church, most recently citing decisions by its bishops and General Convention to redefine core doctrine on Christian marriage.”

 

A top official in the worldwide Anglican Communion made news last week warning a gathering of African church leaders about western progressives – promising to “introduce you to such agencies and churches” willing to partner with African churches and ”ensuring delivery with integrity” adding that “there is no lack of money”.

The address to a gathering preceding the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) by Anglican Communion Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon was simultaneously noteworthy because organizations he highlighted include funding from western progressives in the Anglican Church of Canada and U.S.-based Episcopal Church. Dioceses served by these organizations have come into close relationship with the Episcopal Church.

Several African national churches, known as provinces, have stated that they will not accept financial support from the Episcopal Church, most recently citing decisions by its bishops and General Convention to redefine core doctrine on Christian marriage.

Several institutions within the Episcopal Church continue to disperse grants to African provinces. In June the wealthy endowed Episcopal parish Trinity Wall Street, New York issued a grant to the Province of Central Africa to support travel expenses for the CAPA meeting.

In his August 11 address, Idowu-Fearon praised the Anglican Communion as “the one organisation throughout Africa which is trusted to deliver on projects” and cited the World Bank identifying the Anglican Communion as the non-governmental organization (NGO) most trusted by the poor. The church official prominently promoted the Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) development, relief, and advocacy agency, the Anglican Alliance, which is based out of the Anglican Communion Office in London.

Idowu-Fearon declared to the gathered African church leaders, “You are the majority of the Anglican Communion” and appeared to share many of their same concerns.

“I have to confess to you that I am deeply disturbed by some of what is happening in the Communion and its churches today,” Idowu-Fearon reported. “I have seen Anglicans who are poor and marginalized in their own societies plead for their right to maintain Anglican orthodoxy in their own churches, only to be swept aside by a campaign to change the churches’ teaching on marriage and so-called rights of equality.”

In July, Idowu-Fearon addressed the Anglican Church of Canada Synod which has been criticized by traditionalist groups such as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement for its embrace of same-sex marriage. During the visit, Idowu-Fearon spoke favorably of church unity but did not criticize liberal western churches as he did in his CAPA address the following month.

Idowu-Fearon is viewed with skepticism by some traditionalist Anglicans, including in his own Church of Nigeria, because of his role with the Anglican Consultative Council. Despite being unanimously elected to a seven-year term as the first archbishop of the newly created Ecclesiastical province of Kaduna in 2002, Idowu-Fearon was not returned to a second term in office by the Nigerian College of Bishops and took an early retirement from his Episcopal responsibilities in July of 2015.

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