The Anglican Communion has appointed Nigerian bishop, Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, as its next Secretary General of the 85-million strong Anglican Communion.
Rev. Idowu-Fearon currently serves as Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation in the Church for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations.
"I am delighted that Bishop Josiah has accepted the position....His experience and expertise in Christian-Muslim relations is particularly welcome at this time," said Bishop James Tengatenga, chair of the Anglican Consultative Council.
He was selected out of an initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, the Anglican Communion said on its website April 2.
The Anglican Communion is a grouping "of 38 self-governing national or regional member churches around the world that share several things in common including doctrine, ways of worshipping, mission and a focus of unity in the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior bishop in the Anglican Communion said, "I warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Josiah and look forward to working closely with him in the renewal of the Anglican Communion amidst the global challenges facing us today."
The Anglican Communion remains deeply divided over the deabtes concerning same-sex marriage and the acceptance of homosexuality with many African churches deeply opposed to acceptance of guy unions.
The issue is so divisive it has threatened to split the Anglican Communion, but the persecution of Christians especially in northern Nigeria by the Boko Harum terror group and in the Middle East has become a more crucial issue.
Gaystarnews wrote on April 6, "A Nigerian bishop who supports the criminalization of LGBTI people has been appointed to be the next Secretary General of the worldwide Anglican Communion."
But Bishop Idowu-Fearons issued a statement, "I have never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community and I will never support it.
"The Church is called to love and protect everyone without discrimination, 'love the person but hate the sin" whatever the sin may be, corruption, sexual sins of all kinds, misuse of power or anything else."
Idowu-Fearon became Bishop of Kaduna in north western Nigeria in 1998, and he is the current Director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre.
Before that he served as Bishop of Sokoto, Warden at St Francis of Assisi Theological College in Wusasa, and Provost of St. Michael's Cathedral in Kaduna.
Responding to his appointment, Idowu-Fearon said, "I am excited to take up the post of Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and to continue the fine work undertaken by my predecessors in this office."
Bishop Josiah has a PhD (Sociology) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Nigeria's Ahmadu Bello University, an MA in Islamic Theology from the UK's Birmingham University, and a BA in Theology from Durham University in the UK.