Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches

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The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches is an Anglican Christian communion, formed in 1995 largely as a result of the Convergence Movement. The CEEC converges the evangelical, charismatic, liturgical, and sacramental traditions of the Christian faith.[1][2] It is neither part of the Anglican Communion nor a Continuing Anglican denomination.

Beliefs[edit]

The fundamental principles defining inclusion in the Communion are detailed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886.

The four basic statements are:

  • The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as "containing all the things necessary for salvation" and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
  • The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of faith.
  • The two Sacraments ordained by the Christ Himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and the elements ordained by Him.
  • The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God in the Unity of His Church.

Organization[edit]

The CEEC International College of Archbishops now numbers 9 (as of 2014), together with 56 bishops representing provincial families around the world. Rather than jurisdictional lines built upon geographic areas, the CEEC establishes many of their dioceses and provinces relationally. However, they have also begun to establish some geographically oriented provinces and apostolates. For example, the Communion website shows a Province of India and a Province of the UK and Eastern Europe. [1] Also, on May 31, 2014 the Communion established the Apostolate of Saint Francis for the Mediterranean and Middle East. [2]

The CEEC ordains women to the diaconate and priesthood. See Article

Most parishes in the U.S. use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church. The CEEC's practice here is in contrast to most of the Continuing Anglican churches use the 1928 edition or earlier versions of the BCP.

History[edit]

In early 1994 members of a charismatic renewal parish in the Episcopal Church USA, together with their rector, began to conceptualize a vision of a new communion of churches that would be tied to the historic Anglican spiritual tradition, while experiencing "convergence" of the streams of the Church. Archbishop John Kivuva was connected with and agreed to serve as transitional Presiding Bishop for the new body, tentatively called the Evangelical Episcopal Church. (Bishop Kivuva at that time was a bishop with the Africa Inland Mission movement and had oversight over a number of churches in Kenya.)

In October 1995 in Dale City, Virginia, Virginia, approximately 300 people gathered, representing a wide variety of denominational backgrounds and 25 independent congregations who had come into relationship with the new group. Bishop Michael Owen, Archdeacon Beth Owen, Rt. Rev. Peter Riola, and other bishops in apostolic succession from Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic jurisdictions were present to help in the consecrating of their first two bishops and the ordination of 25 pastors and 7 deacons. The first two bishops consecrated included Vincent McCall (who later seceded from the EEC) Russell McClanahan, currently archbishop of the CEEC Province of St. Peter. [3] Initially, five congregations fully affiliated with the new communion.

In November 1995 Bishop Owen was asked unanimously by the new bishops of the Evangelical Episcopal Church to serve as their first Presiding Bishop. Two small ads had been placed in Christianity Today magazine, one in 1994 and one in mid 1995, which brought in an overwhelming response of interest across the U.S. from leaders of differing backgrounds showing interest in the vision of the convergence of the streams in this new communion. The total number of responses neared 1600 and inundated the new communion. As growth began to take place through pastors and congregations affiliating, international interest began to emerge, and by the fall of 1996 interest from 5 other nations besides the USA was being seriously expressed. New missionary bishops were consecrated and new missionary dioceses were established.

In January 1997 the 6 bishops meeting in synod voted to reconstitute and reincorporate the Evangelical Episcopal Church as "The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches" to reflect the international growth and the needs for eventual provincial structuring. Six nations were now represented in affiliation, and strong interest in affiliation was expressed by a group in the Philippines comprising close to 3,000 congregations under their independent Pentecostal/charismatic overseers and founders.

In 1997 the Rev. Duraisingh James, a priest and church planter with the Church of South India for 17 years at that time and long-time head of Christian Education for the Church Union of South India, traveled to meet with the USA founding House of Bishops and indicated his desire to affiliate with the CEEC, together with the 30 churches under his oversight. Shortly thereafter, Fr. Duraisingh was consecrated as Missionary Bishop for India, and later as Archbishop for the CEEC Province of India. His ministry and the number of churches in India have continued to flourish. Since 1999 two new bishops have been consecrated/received into the Province of India with three dioceses numbering over 75 congregations, along with a seminary founded by Archbishop James.

In 2005 the CEEC USA province joined with the International Communion of Christian Churches to form the Communion of Convergence Churches, USA. In 2006 this relationship was strengthened as the international CEEC organization entered into "co-communion" with the CCCUSA, now known as Christian Communion International.

In February 2014, Bishop Tony Palmer gained notoriety after Pope Francis sent him as a special envoy to a Charismatic Evangelical Leadership Conference hosted by Kenneth Copeland.[3] During the conference, Bishop Palmer presented a short video message from the Pope. The late Bishop Tony and Pope Francis were personal friends. The message was recorded opportunistically when the two met a week prior to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries leaders conference. Pope Francis suggested the recording and it was recorded on Tony Palmer's iPhone. The message is one of brotherhood, unity and love. A declaration that the Reformation protest has ended. At the end of the presentation and video message, Copeland prayed for the Pope and recorded his own message back to the Pope.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amos Yong, Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh - 2005 "The Charismatic Episcopal Church (1992) and the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (1995) are examples of organized expressions of the Convergence Movement (from the 1970s), which has sought to blend charismatic, evangelical, ..."
  2. ^ J. Gordon Melton Encyclopedia of American religions 2003 "Also in attendance were the future founders of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. The CEEC was formally inaugurated in 1995 at which time the first bishops were consecrated. The name Evangelical Episcopal church was chosen. The previously consecrated Michael D. Owen, who presided over the ceremony, was asked to become the first presiding bishop of the new jurisdiction and its initial five congregations...."
  3. ^ "Pope Francis Sends Video Message to Kenneth Copeland".