An Ancient Faith, Reaching a New Generation, Lived in Holy Community
To Reclaim the Ancient Faith, Reach a New Generation, Lived in Holy Community
How can we achieve this vision:
1) By being in line with Scripture, creed, and tradition, it is our deepest desire to embody God’s purposes in the mission of the Church through our theological reflection, our worship, our spirituality, and our life in the world, God's redemptive movement all the while proclaiming that Jesus is Lord over all creation.
“Caring for People and Connecting Them to Christ"
2) As an Ancient Christian Faith community, meaning we want to live out a mission that’s both anciently-rooted and forward-looking. How does that work? It is by what we do...
a) Worship: As a three streams worship community, we believe that worship seeks to be sacramental, evangelical and charismatic.
“S” = Sacramental
I define a sacrament as, “When the Divine touches the Common and something Holy and/or Mysterious occurs.” There are sacraments, sacramentals, and sacramental acts. For example, in the Creation account God (the Divine) touches the Common (a pile of dirt, which he also breathes on) and man is created in the very image of God (something Holy and/or Mysterious). That is a sacramental act. So is the account of Moses’ burning bush, Jesus changing water into wine … in fact the whole of scripture is full of sacramental occurrences. We believe this is supposed to be normal.
What are the rites into the church? How do we as Christians practice these rites?
1. Baptism: We make a profession of faith (rite of conversion) in Christ and through the sanctifying Grace of Baptism all our sins are washed away.
Through this one time initiatory rite of baptism we can then participate in the life of the church and body of Christ receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace. When can never be re-baptized again as St. Paul says in the Scripture...One faith and one baptism.
2. Eucharist: means the "Great Thanksgiving." The mystery of holy communion is the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, in which He is
truly present under the forms of bread and wine offering Himself and giving Himself as spiritual food to the faithful. 1 Cor 11:23-28; John 6
3. Confirmation: the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows
The sacraments of Healing are: Reconciliation and Unction.
4. Reconciliation of a Penitent: private confession is God's forgiveness and healing love. The CEC offers reconciliation in many ways through the
holy spirits intervention in our lives. Parishioners and others can make an appointment to see a priest for healing and the laying on of hands by a
ministry team available upon your request.
5. Unction: anointing those who are in need of inner healing, sick or dying with holy oil
6. Matrimony: Christian marriage: Between one man and one woman. Requires 6 months of pre-marital counseling.
7. Orders: ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, or Bishop or episcopacy
It is also about what God is doing, not us. We get to benefit, perhaps even participate, but God is doing the action. Baptism? God is circumcising the heart of the believer (see Colossians 2) not just in symbol but in truth. Holy Communion? God is doing something holy and mysterious. Jesus expounds on this in John 6. And on it goes. Perhaps the greatest sacramental act is when an unregenerate, sinful, unholy, common person accepts Christ as Lord, and the inner transformation is so profound that he or she is said to be “born again.” We believe that all of life can be a sacramental experience.
“E” = Evangelical
Evangelical does not mean “allied with the political Right,” or with any other political persuasion. It means that we hold to a high view of scripture and believe that its teachings are authoritative. We believe in missions, in a personal relationship with God (while recognizing that the Christian faith is a corporate thing), and that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation, or reconciliation, with God.
It is He who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” We believe in the centrality of the Cross and the price that was paid for our redemption there. We also believe that, if we have faith, it will be seen in our actions. One example is our giving out blankets and coats to Atlanta’s homeless and by being involved in other worthy efforts.
“E” could also stand for “Episcopal.” This simply means that the denomination is led and governed by men selected to serve as bishops (from Late Latin episcopus, from Greek episkopos, literally, “overseer”). Men who serve as pastors have true accountability both to their bishop and to their local council. Accountability is a good thing.
“C” = Charismatic
Sometimes people hear this word and imagine anything from television evangelists to snake handlers. On this, you can relax. For our purposes, we believe that the Spirit of God, aka the Holy Spirit, still inhabits, guides, comforts, heals, teaches, empowers, and manifests Himself in the life of the Church and in the lives of the believers.
He did not retire when the last Apostles died and He is alive and well and actively involved even in today’s world and in today's Church.
Simply put, this means that (1) whatever was possible in the New Testament Church is possible today, and (2) whatever was normative in the New Testament Church ought to be normative today.
“Do you pray for the sick?” What did they do in the ancient church? “Do you believe in the gifts and fruit of the Spirit?” Same answer. “Do you believe that God can do miracles?” Again, same answer. We also believe that true worship, worship “in the Spirit,” is solely directed to God and not to man. We are not a "Christian entertainment center." We are a worshipping, serving gathering of believers.
And we enjoy singing! In our church we have worship teams and bands where the music is both quiet and, at times, enthusiastic.
We believe that God is pure love and that He thirsts for a relationship with those created in His image. We believe that He is more willing to forgive than we are willing to ask.
A visitor to our church once said, “You look kinda like a Catholic church, preach like a Baptist church, and sing like a Charismatic church.” That’s not a bad description. We’re an SEC congregation. We're looking forward to meeting YOU!
b) Discipleship:mission includes caring about your spiritual formation and growth.
> Rite of Conversion
> Rite of Discipleship
> Rite of Spiritual Formation
> Rite of Communion
c) Fellowship: The mystery and privilege that is Christian fellowship is that it exists because God has enabled it by His grace. Those who believe the gospel are united in the Spirit through Christ to the Father, and that unity is the basis of fellowship. This relationship is described by Jesus in His high-priestly prayer for His followers: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). The “complete unity” He refers to is the oneness that Christians experience in true fellowship, oneness with one another, with Christ and with the Father. Just as the Father is in Jesus, so is Jesus in us, and we have unity with one another because of the uniqueness of that relationship (1 John 1:3).
d) Stewardship: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34
If there was ever a more misunderstanding about being a Christian and our mission in God's redemptive plan for man is around the issue of stewardship. If you misunderstand stewardship you become misaligned with God's plan for your life.
To discover what the Bible says about stewardship, we start with the very first verse: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As the Creator, God has absolute rights of ownership over all things, and to miss starting here is like misaligning the top button on our shirt or blouse—nothing else will ever line up. Nothing else in the Bible, including the doctrine of stewardship, will make any sense or have any true relevance if we miss the fact that God is the Creator and has full rights of ownership. It is through our ability to fully grasp this and inbed it in our hearts that the doctrine of stewardship is understood.
The biblical doctrine of stewardship defines a man’s relationship to God. It identifies God as owner and man as manager. God makes man His co-worker in administering all aspects of our life. The apostle Paul explains it best by saying, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Starting with this concept, we are then able to accurately view and correctly value not only our possessions, but, more importantly, human life itself. In essence, stewardship defines our purpose in this world as assigned to us by God Himself. It is our divinely given opportunity to join with God in His worldwide and eternal redemptive movement (Matthew 28:19-20). Stewardship is not God taking something from us; it is His method of bestowing His richest gifts upon His people.
In the New Testament, two Greek words embody the meaning of our English word “stewardship.” The first word is epitropos which means "manager, foreman, or steward." From the standpoint of government, it means “governor or procurator.” At times it was used in the New Testament to mean “guardian,” as in Galatians 4:1-2: “What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.” The second word is oikonomos. It also means "steward, manager, or administrator" and occurs more frequently in the New Testament. Depending on the context, it is often translated “dispensation, stewardship, management, arrangement, administration, order, plan, or training.” It refers mostly to the law or management of a household or of household affairs.
Notably, in the writings of Paul, the word oikonomos is given its fullest significance in that Paul sees his responsibility for preaching the gospel as a divine trust (1 Corinthians 9:17). Paul refers to his call from God as the administration (stewardship) of the grace of God for a ministry of the divine mystery revealed in Christ (Ephesians 3:2). In this context, Paul is portraying God as the master of a great household, wisely administering it through Paul himself as the obedient servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Also significant in what Paul is saying is that once we’re called and placed into the body of Jesus Christ, the stewardship that is required of us is not a result of our own power or abilities. The strength, inspiration and growth in the management of our lives must come from God through the Holy Spirit in us; otherwise, our labor is in vain and the growth in stewardship is self-righteous, human growth. Accordingly, we must always remember the sole source of our strength in pleasing God: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NJKV). Paul also said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
More often than not, when we think of good stewardship, we think of how we manage our finances and our faithfulness in paying God’s tithes and offerings. But as we’re beginning to see, it’s much more than that. In fact, it’s more than just the management of our time, our possessions, our environment, or our health. Stewardship is our obedient witness to God’s sovereignty. It’s what motivates the follower of Christ to move into action, doing deeds that manifest his belief in Him. Paul’s stewardship involved proclaiming that which was entrusted to him—the gospel truth.
Stewardship defines our practical obedience in the administration of everything under our control, everything entrusted to us. It is the consecration of one’s self and possessions to God's service. Stewardship acknowledges in practice that we do not have the right of control over ourselves or our property—God has that control. It means as stewards of God we are managers of that which belongs to God, and we are under His constant authority as we administer His affairs. Faithful stewardship means that we fully acknowledge we are not our own but belong to Christ, the Lord, who gave Himself for us.
The ultimate question, then, is this: Am I the lord of my life, or is Christ the Lord of my life? In essence, stewardship expresses our total obedience to God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
e) Missions: The Bible does not use the phrase “world missions,” but God is certainly implied in Matthew 28 and asks the Christian to be missions-minded (Luke 19:10). We are to at least look at what the needs are around us try to fulfil a need to those less fortunate than us and allow His love to extend to all the world (John 3:16). The salvation of all nations is a concern for every Christian, based on at least three factors presented in Scripture:
First, world missions is important because God is the Creator of all people; second, God cares about all people equally; and, third, God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:4). Because of God’s attitude toward the people of the whole world, we know that world missions—the evangelization of all the people of the world—is a worthy goal. God sent His Son into the world to fulfill this prophecy: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).
World missions has its foundation in Jesus’ command to His disciples to go into all the world and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is exactly what the disciples endeavored to do. In Syrian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas were “set apart” by the Holy Spirit and called for a special work (Acts 13:2). That work was to evangelize Cyprus and Asia Minor.
Eventually, Paul’s missionary work took him to Europe. Always, Paul strived to be a pioneer in world missions: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20). Paul preached the gospel “from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum” (verse 19); he had plans to go to Spain (verse 24), and he eventually made it to Rome. The book of Acts showcases the missionary fervor of the early church and emphasizes the necessity of world missions.
God does not show partiality to one race or nation above another (Acts 10:34–35). The Bible says that, without Christ, we are all in the same spiritual condition: all have fallen short of God’s glory and are under Adam’s curse. Everyone—every race, every person, every nationality—needs to hear the gospel. Everyone needs the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. “How . . . can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14–15). The offer of grace is extended to all; God cares about all people equally.
We should pursue world missions because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). The offer of salvation is made to “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17, KJV). “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too” (Romans 3:29). Revelation describes the new, heavenly city of Jerusalem as a place where all nations will walk in the light of the Lamb and where the glory of all nations will dwell (Revelation 21:22–27). God cares about all nations, and representatives of all nations will be present in heaven.
The angel gave the Bethlehem shepherds “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). When we support world missions, when we share the good news of the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, we glorify God, who says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation” (Isaiah 52:7).
f) Servant Ministries: In 2018, Emmaus Abbey Church set out to enhance its servant ministries in the area of Worship, discipleship, teach, preaching, Christian Counseling, Licensure in counseling and training in Inner Healing Ministries. We also wanted to reach out beyond our church in these ministries to other church ministries needing help and training in these areas. We began this process by utilizing the CEC Certificate Program to train and equip Lay Servant Ministries and Certified Lay Ministry to bring about clarity, consistency and collaboration. This is an integrated three streams approach doctrinally to streamline and simplify the processes for people to become certified lay servants, certified lay speakers, certified lay ministers and the foundational course for becoming a commissioned minister or a deacon in the CEC church.
> Individual, Couple, Family and Marriage Counseling
> Grief, Anger, Stress management Counseling
SACC & NCCA Training in Counseling
> Lay Ministry Counselor
> Licensure Program in Counseling
Inner Healing & Prayer Ministry
> Worship and Eucharistic services of healing
> Individual & Group Settings for healing
> Emotional & Physical Healing Ministry
> Weekly Prayer and healing
Additional Website Resources:
St. Micheal's Seminary, San Clemente, CA
Emmaus Inner Healing Ministry | emmausabbeychurch.org
Emmaus Institute for Christian Counseling | 865-661-1418
Aslan Roar Ministries, Selma, Al Healing Ministry by Arch Bishop Church Jones
Dr. Francis MacNutt Christian Healing Ministries, Jacksonville, Fla.
Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling | SACC.org
National Christian Counseling Association | NCCA.org
International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church | www.iccec.org
Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America | CECNA
Robert E. Webber, Founder AFFN