I have been hearing about a number of churches in the United States who are celebrating their twenty-fifth or more years since the founding of their Church. The time has gone by so fast. I have been in the CEC for twenty-five of our Communion’s twenty-seven-year history. That is correct; it has been twenty-seven years since Austin Randolph Adler was consecrated the first bishop in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. Though twenty-seven years is a long time, it is really just a short period of time, and we are still a young fellowship within the larger Body of Christ.
The American House of Bishops decided many years ago to celebrate the “founder” of our communion on the anniversary of his consecration. Archbishop Adler stated very emphatically that he did not want an offering taken and given to him. Rather he wanted the Communion to take up a thank offering that would be used to assist churches in purchasing property or restoring property so that a CEC community could occupy it. Every year, an offering has been taken, and we have seen the vision unfold before our eyes. You can read about our successes on the CEC-NA website.
We have so much to be thankful for over the years. I am thankful for a Communion that has remained faithful to the vision of convergence worship, consensus government, and to living out the historic and ancient faith passed down to us through the centuries. I am thankful for a Communion that has remained steadfast in proclaiming the Gospel. I am thankful for a Communion that is Sacramental and is centered in the Eucharist. I am thankful for the ministries of our churches to the least, the lost, and the lonely. I am thankful for the schools that are educating our children. I am thankful for the friendships that I have established over the past 25 years of my membership in the CEC. And, I am especially thankful that my children and grandchildren have a church family they can call home.
So, we will take a thank offering. The offerings will be sent to the Primates of each territory to be used for the construction, purchasing, or repairing of buildings. One-third of the money will be distributed as grants, one third will be distributed as low-interest loans, and one third will be placed in an investment account where the interest can be used in future generations.
The Communion continues to grow under the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit. I expect God to grow the Church as we water and plant. As we abide in Christ and walk by faith, we will see good fruit, the kind that will endure.
Under His mercy,
The Most Rev. Craig W. Bates, Patriarch