Consensus Church Governance
Emmaus Abbey Church is governed by consensus. We have a Rectors council and a ministry board which oversees the administrative and finances of the church. Meaning, in our councils and parish, we seek God in all we due before making decisions. Parishes are a subdivision of our Midsouth Dioceses. For example, Emmaus Abbey Church is part of the Diocese of the Mid-South, overseer: Bishop David Epps. The Diocese is part of the Eastern Province of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC). Dioceses, which are the fundamental unit of church administration and governance, combine administratively to form provinces, though church members are rarely aware of administrative divisions between their diocese and their national church.
The ICCEC has Six Provinces within the US and governed by our Patriarch Craig Bates of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Malverne, NY and International churches in Asia, Europe, West Africa, Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Philippines, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Congo, Carribean Islands and Central America.
The CEC Consensus Government
The Patriarch’s Commission also presented the premise of Consensus Government:
“The Church is governed at all levels by leaders who choose men to serve on councils. The Councils shall operate according to the rules of Consensus Government. Councils shall review and advise in matters such as finances, activities, ministries, strategies, growth and development of the church, and other matters of importance that may come before them. Consensus requires, honestly, accountability and
transparency. Consensus only works with account ability and transparency. The leader is accountable to his Council for the decision made and resources used. “
Sometimes these provinces are autonomous and sometimes they combine to form national churches which are autonomous. What it means for a province or national church to be “autonomous” is that there is no larger administrative unit that supervises it: no pope, no cardinals, no patriarch. Many parishes have only one parish church; some have more than one. There are many historical variations to this basic administrative scheme. Sometimes a diocese is divided into deaneries, or archdeaconries, and sometimes it is divided into archdeaconries which are in turn divided into deaneries. These divisions are not very important.
At the very center of the CECNA church are its bishops. Every CEC bishop has been consecrated by other bishops, who were in turn consecrated by other bishops. This process forms a chain that, according to legend, leads back to the 12 apostles, who were the first bishops. There is no historical proof of this, nor does our faith depend on it. Historians have traced the succession of bishops back to the early 2nd century AD.
The bishops are the spiritual successors of the Apostles, and the chain of consecration is called Apostolic Succession. The Greek word for Bishop is episkopos, which is the origin of the word “Episcopal”, and, for that matter, of the word “bishop”: in Latin it became “episcopus”, in Old English it was “biscop”, which came to be pronounced “bishop” and later spelled that way, too.
The CECNA has Seven Bishops and in Foreign Countries Some Thirty Bishops & 1000 Congregations
The primary unit of organization and governance of the Anglican church is the diocese. Presiding over each diocese is a bishop, who is called the diocesan bishop. Some dioceses have, in addition, other bishops, with titles such as Suffragan, Coadjutor, or Assistant Bishop.
When dioceses are combined into provinces or national churches, there is another administrative layer. This next level is administered typically by an Archbishop or Presiding Bishop. New Zealand in 1998 changed the title of its primate from Archbishop to Presiding Bishop; perhaps this is a trend in the former colonies. However, the important point is not the name, but whether the presiding bishop has metropolitan powers, i.e. some jurisdictional rights over the bishops in his province and their dioceses, or whether he is only the chairman of meetings of bishops. Another recent and controversial trend has been for presiding bishops not to have any diocese of their own.Each province or national church has a periodic meeting of its bishops, which event has a name like “General Synod” or “General Convention”. At these events the church forms its rules, ele
Ordained clergy in the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church may participate in worship services and ceremonies with members of other religious faiths and Christian denominations if they hold to the Scriptures and do not lean into political correctness. So many churches today think the Bible is irrelevant to social issues, big mistake! IE, same sex marriage and other issues we cannot eccumenically walk beside churches who violate scripture.
Participation includes not only active leadership roles such as celebrant, con-celebrant, assisting clergy, preacher, and lector, but also participation as a member of the congregation or audience. While we respect those who embrace other religious traditions than our own, and desire to reach out to them with the love of Christ, we must ensure that our relationships with them honor and uphold our own religious tradition. Since CEC clergy minister in relation to, and with the permission of, their ecclesiastical authority, the Bishops are the final arbiters of these policies and procedures.
CECNA Organizational Structure
The ICCEC is an episcopal communion; meaning, its government is overseen by bishops. The word “Episcopal” is from the Greek word for Bishop in the New Testament: “Episkopos.” It is not intended to convey any other meaning except that. As stated above, The Charismatic Episcopal Church is not and has never been affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA or the Anglican Communion. We believe that a valid, apostolic episcopacy is not an option but rather an essential part of the New Testament definition of the Church. However, ICCEC bishops are not simply administrative overseers; they are chiefly pastoral.
Along with a governing episcopate, it is a founding principle of the ICCEC that government occurs by consensus under the direction of the Holy Spirit. On the International level, the Patriarch’s Council and the International College of Archbishops confer on denominational matters chiefly through prayer; seeking the unity described in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem. This same consensus process occurs within each international territory or national church, each province under the authority of its archbishop, each diocese under the authority of its bishop, and within each parish under the authority of its rector and his rector’s council. The denomination, as a whole, is governed by The Canon Law of the Charismatic Episcopal Church.
While subscribing to the traditional and biblical understanding of ordained ministry by the imposition of hands for the consecrating of episkopoi (bishops), presbuteroi (pastor/priest), and diakonoi (deacons), we also recognize the recovery, within the charismatic movement, of the fivefold understanding of ministry expressed in Ephesians 4:11-13. That is, we believe that the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher were designed for the edification of Christ’s Church until His coming again, and we anticipate these ministries, as well as other Gifts of the Holy Spirit, to be in operation–whether in the clergy or laity–in every healthy parish.