On Wednesday, November 15, The Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, visited Virginia Theological Seminary and gave the 2017 Mollegen Forum lecture on “The Vitality of World Anglicanism.” The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Ellen F. Davis, Rev. Robin Denney, and Rev. Canon John Harmon. The lecture was the kickoff event of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies’ 20th Anniversary year.
Dr. Davis is the Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. Rev. Denney is a 2017 graduate of VTS, and the Associate for Christian Formation at St. Cross Episcopal Church, Hermosa Beach, California. Canon Harmon is the 14th Rector of Trinity Parish, Washington D.C.
In a November 28 news article, the Living Church summarized the Secretary General’s visit, saying “Idowu-Fearon, secretary general since 2015, spoke about the life and vigor that he has witnessed across the Anglican family of churches. Contrary to the narrative of bloggers, he said, the Anglican Communion is alive and well, and through this family the gospel of Jesus Christ is growing.”
Reflecting on the event, CACS Director Robert Heaney said “As a result of Archbishop Josiah’s presentations and presence here, a palpable and deeper sense of what it means to be sisters and brothers in the Anglican Communion has emerged. Difficult issues have not been ignored. However, in the context of celebrating the Communion, we have glimpsed the possibility of a fruitful future for Anglicans committed to the gospel of Christ and relationship with one another.”
Many in the VTS community, including faculty, staff, and students, have all remarked on how the Secretary General’s visit gave them a different appreciation for the richness, complexity, and yes, vitality of the Anglican Communion. Dean and President Ian Markham praised the event, saying, “We are proud of our Center for Anglican Communion Studies, as it continues this tradition of discernment in intercultural theology; in consultations, research, and publications; and in developing practices of reconciliation across the world.”
The next event in the CACS Anniversary Year celebrations will be on February 1, 2018, when Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach and preside at Community Eucharist and then give a lecture on “Why the Episcopal Church Needs World Anglicanism.” Tickets to this event will be available after Christmas, and the event will also be live-streamed. Stay tuned for an online registration link to be shared soon. With questions, please contact Molly O’Brien, CACS Administrative Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.