About the Charismatic Episcopal Church
To make visible the Kingdom of God to the nations of the world.
Bring the rich sacramental and liturgical life of the Early Church to searching evangelicals and charismatics.
Carry the power of Pentecost to our brothers and sisters in the historic churches.
Provide a home for all Christians who seek a catholic, evangelical, charismatic church and foundation for their lives and gifts of ministry.
The CEC affirms the following essentials of the Christian faith:
Personal commitment of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It is by faith in Him that we are saved by grace.
A high view of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation. This is of critical importance in preaching, public reading of the Word, and personal Bible study.
The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds as sufficient statements of Christian faith. These express our belief in one God in three persons - God and Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The creeds clearly proclaim the Gospel message and the Kingdom of God.
Openness to and anticipation of empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
A high view of the Sacraments - the two which were ordained by Christ Himself and the five other sacraments traditionally held by the Church, all of which are means of grace. The two - Baptism and Eucharist - are to be ministered properly with the words and elements of Christ in the Eucharist.
A high view of the Church. St. Cyprian (A.D. 200-258, Bishop of Carthage, martyr) claimed, "He who has not the Church for his mother, has not God for his Father."
Affirmation of the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and people called of God into His Church.
Our heritage allows for wide flexibility in local expression without compromising the essentials of the faith. A cathedral filled with the sounds of the chanted Psalms, colorful banners, and fragrance of incense, all of this would agree with tradition of ancient Christian worship. On the other, a simple order of worship in a village church would also be appropriate and within the historic tradition.
The CEC approach to worship asks two things of its members and churches: (1) that they be open to the Holy Spirit's activity and (2) that they follow the shape of the liturgy that has been received from the Holy Scripture and from the first centuries of the Church.
Openness to the Holy Spirit
In the CEC, we anticipate the Holy Spirit manifesting His presence to us through gifts and ministries. While having a liturgical structure, our services also contain significant times of spontaneity, praise, and inspired biblically-based preaching. Openness to the Holy Spirit is necessary for Christians to exercise their faith in a powerful way.
Liturgy is a biblical word (from the Greek leitourgia, or "work of the people") meaning that service of worship the people render to God. All churches have some form of liturgy, or standard procedure which they follow weekly. However, there is a form of worship from the ancient church established by the apostles, which was rooted in Judaic worship combined with the eucharistic services (from the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving") of the early Christians. It has been honored by the church for almost 2,000 years. This form of liturgy is similar to the worship of heaven, which is described in the Old Testaments of Scripture. When we join with this liturgy we are joining with heavenly worship and in the worship of the ages.
Churches of the CEC, though varying in degree of pageantry and splendor, follow the ancient liturgical form in their principle Sunday services. This includes music, prayer, Scripture readings, sermon, offerings, ministry of the Spirit, Holy Communion, and more. They observe the Church year (calendar of the Church seasons, holy days, etc.) and Lectionary (prescribed Scripture readings). The CEC has adopted the Book of Common Prayer (1979( as the standard of worship (and also recognizes the BCP 1928, the Anglican Service Book, and other liturgies of the historical Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Churches). The Clergy wear appropriate vestments - albs, stoles, chasubles, etc. This form of liturgical/sacramental worship inspired by the presence of God's Spirit, becomes a celebration through which we join the church universal, both on earth and in heaven as we glorify Almighty God!
Structure and Ministry
The Episcopacy, the leadership of the Church by bishops, is the form of church leadership established by the Apostles. CEC bishops have been conferred apostolic succession by the laying on of hands and trace a rich ecumenical-orthodox line of succession line of succession. They must uphold their life long vow to guard and teach the apostolic tradition contained in Scripture. According to the biblical/historical model, the CEC bishops are chiefly pastoral, as they minister in close relationships with their clergy and people. Each bishop must be a senior pastor (called a rector) of their local church (called a parish). He ordains others for ministry. He also oversees the work of the churches in a given geographic region, called a diocese. Dioceses may have from 5 to 30 parishes in them. There is mutual support between the local parish, diocesan, and national ministries.
The Patriarch is primate and chief pastor of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He presides over the House of Bishops and is the first among equals.
CEC ordained ministers are called Priests, which is a shortened form of the word "presbyter" meaning elder. Priests serve as pastors, proclaim the Gospel, and administer the Sacraments. A priest in charge of a parish is called a "rector," while a priest in charge of a mission is called a "vicar."
Deacons are also ordained clergy who assist in parish work and serve those in need.
While the CEC affirms the priesthood of all believers, the above three categories (ordained bishops, priests, and deacons) are set apart to give leadership.
Government by Consensus
It is a founding principle of the CEC that government occurs by consensus under direction of the Holy Spirit. At the national level, the House of Bishops confer on matters concerning denominational life and practice looking for the unity described in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem. This same consensual process is expected to occur within our dioceses between the bishop and priests of local parishes, and within local churches between priests and deacons.
The work of the Church is financially supported by the tithes and offerings of the parishioners. Confirmed members are encouraged to give their tithes (10%) to their local church where they are spiritually fed. Each parish in turn gives a tithe of its income to the diocesan ministry. Each diocese tithes to the archdiocese to support ministries and leadership of the national Church.
Organized in June 1992, the CEC originally consisted of three charismatic churches blending charismatic worship with Episcopal liturgy. The CEC has ancient roots that go back to the original Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles' Creed of the second century and the Nicene Creed of the fourth century were formulated by great councils of the Church and are important summaries of our basic Christian beliefs. Christianity was manifested throughout the centuries by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions.
In discovering our connection to the historic Faith, the CEC is in the Anglican tradition. Christianity was brought to England by missionaries in the third century. The Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, has gone through several revised editions, and is our liturgical guidebook. The articles of religion were written in the 16th century to define matters of the doctrine.
Three Traditions Converge
The development of the CEC has been a convergence of three traditions: liturgical/sacramental, charismatic, and evangelical. This combination expresses wholeness in the Church.
For decades, traditional liturgical/sacramental churches have been influenced by the charismatic movement. The modern charismatic movement developed in the early part of the 20th century in the United States. The informal, spontaneous, and exuberant charismatic worship brings new warmth and energy to liturgical services and renewed spiritual empowerment. In addition, liberalism in several of the mainline churches have caused many to seek traditional Bible-based views such as those expressed by the CEC.
At the same time, many charismatic believers have felt the need to deepen and enrich their worship. They are finding balance, breadth, and rootedness in the liturgical tradition. They are discovering that liturgies were part of the worship of the New Testament Church and that liturgical worship can be filled with power by the Holy Spirit.
Evangelicals, known for their emphasis on personal commitment to Jesus Christ, the Bible as the Word of God, and evangelism, are also seeking more. In May of 1977, a group of evangelical leaders came together and signed a powerful and prophetic statement. They issued a call on evangelicals to rediscover their roots in historic Christianity. The "Chicago Call," as it came to be known, states that a recovery of our common roots is essential to faithfully transmit the gospel in the world today.
Interested in getting involved? Take a look at our operating ministries.