WHAT IS THE CONTINUING EVANGELICAL EPISCOPAL COMMUNION?
First of all, we are a communion.
The Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Communion (the CEEC.CHURCH) is a communion of the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. Our specific identity and self-understanding is rooted in the Anglican spiritual tradition of being Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant.
Standing within the Celtic and Anglican spiritual traditions, the Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Communion was created by a convergence of three great historical expressions of faith and practice: the Evangelical/Biblical, the Charismatic/Pentecostal, and the Liturgical/Sacramental traditions.
The Anglican tradition brings together the authority of the Bible, the historic faith, and the beauty of structured prayer. It is rooted in tradition, yet contemporary in practice. It is united in substance, yet diverse in expression. Anglicans are part of a global family living out our faith in local communities.
The Evangelical tradition brings a focus on the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. As was so clearly stated in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification By the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, “The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.”
The Pentecostal tradition recognizes the ever-present need for the infilling and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s initial apostles were wholly inadequate to the task the Lord set before them without the infilling of His Holy Spirit, as are we. His immutable grace, His constant filling, His abundant gifts and His unerring wisdom are necessary elements of our service to Him.
A communion reflects the unanimity and singularity of the Apostolic and Patristic Church, while encompassing both Protestant and Catholic traditions, as well as embracing a multiplicity of expressions of worship and practice. In contrast to a denomination, a communion expresses the organic unity Jesus Christ originally established in His Body, the Church.
Rather than emerging from divisions created by historic differences over doctrine and practice, a communion represents a return to unity based on the recovery of the essential oneness of the ancient, medieval, and contemporary church. In other words, we didn’t “break away” from a previous group or denomination. We were rather formed by God calling together a group of men and women into a covenantal community. We were constituted as a canonically ruled body in January 1995. We have continued to embrace and be ruled by the same Canons that were adopted by the founders of our Communion; Canons which have been in full effect, properly adapted, canonically revised and legally ratified since their inception. Though some groups that had been a part of our Communion have chosen to renounce the rule of our Canons and establish a new order, we have never done so.
The CEEC.CHURCH emerged through an organic movement of faith leaders known as the “Convergence Movement” in which Anglican communities cultivated a rich openness to the gifts of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in corporate worship, while Evangelical churches reached back to the buried treasures of sacred sacraments, scripture, liturgies and creeds. There, amidst this intentional convergence, the Church reunited with itself across traditions in a richness of worship that transcended stylistic and doctrinal differences to celebrate a singular, common faith.
Holding to “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), the CEEC.CHURCH unequivocally declares its belief in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, and the sole rule of faith and practice as interpreted by tradition, reason and experience. Our belief finds its boundaries of expression in three historic creeds, commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Creed of Saint Athanasius. Moreover, we affirm the historical significance of the doctrines set forth in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, as well as the values espoused in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the Chicago Call: An Appeal to Evangelicals.
CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THE ELEMENTS OF YOUR NAME?
As previously stated, we didn’t “break away” from a previous group or denomination, but were rather formed by God calling together a group of men and women into a covenantal community guided by the Canons that bind us together. While at times there have been those who were formerly a part of our Communion that have either broken away or decided not to continue under our Canon Law, we have continued under the the rule of the currently adopted Canons since our inception in 1995. We have also continued to hold the spirit of unity in the bonds of peace, and offered unreserved acceptance of all that have broken away and wish to re-establish our canonical relationship.
As evangelicals, we hold firmly to the absolute belief that the Gospel presents the good news of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement alone. Apart from Christ’s atoning work, there is no means of salvation from our sin. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
We are a communion led by bishops who have been consecrated in full apostolic succession. Our apostolic lines are Catholic, Old Catholic and Anglican. We are episcopal because the early church, within the first generations after the apostles, appointed bishops to lead the Church.
As previously stated, we are a communion. reflecting the unanimity and singularity of the Apostolic and Patristic Church, while encompassing both Protestant and Catholic traditions. As a communion, we celebrate and affirm biblical and anointed spiritual ministry throughout the world to everyone. There is only “one faith, one hope, and one baptism, one God, and Father of us all” (Eph. 4: 5-6), and therefore, one Head Jesus Christ, and one pure body of Christ, the Church.