The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna and Bishop of Kaduna diocese, was installed as a Six Preacher yesterday during Evensong by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, and the Very Revd Robert Willis, the Dean of Canterbury. The appointment is for five years and may be renewed. Archbishop Idowu-Fearon replaces Canon Dr John Polkinghorne, who has retired as a Six Preacher. Recent Six Preachers include Bishop John Robinson and Prof A J Mason, the translator of many hymns.
Archbishop Idowu-Fearon was born in 1949 in Nigeria. Although he trained briefly as a soldier, he soon decided that he wished to serve God as a priest and was ordained in 1971, becoming a bishop in 1990. He has a doctorate degree in Islamic studies, with special interest in Christian-Muslim relations, and is married to Comfort; they have two sons, Ibrahim and Dquda, and a daughter Ninma.
"We have already come to know Archbishop Josiah as a friend from his time spent teaching in our International Study Centre to the Canterbury Scholars course" said Robert Willis earlier today. "This appointment – one of the first from the wider Anglican Communion – enhances the concept of the teaching ministry at Canterbury Cathedral that was so firmly laid down by Cranmer at the time of the Reformation". "I feel humbled by this appointment" Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said yesterday before the service, "remembering that this ministry was founded by Archbishop Cranmer. Being a Six Preacher will give me a sense of belonging to the community at Canterbury Cathedral which has existed for over 1,400 years – my own Diocese of Kaduna is only 50 years old! I hope that this recognition will help me to be an ambassador for Christ, not just within the Anglican Communion, but to my Muslim neighbours".
Notes to Editors
The Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral were originally the idea of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, forming part of his plans for a new foundation to replace the dissolved Canterbury Cathedral Priory. Canterbury was unique in this: no other cathedral had a group of preaching priests and is a reflexion of Cranmer's determination to give greater prominence to preaching.