Ecumenical

Community

Church

We are a people-focused Community Church within a reformed tradition. We are progressive but Gospel-led Christians.  The ECC+C is categorised as  'Free' Church but in full acknowledgement of its inextricable link with the first Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church via the Apostolic Succession.

The ECC+C oversees a number of pastoral and prayerful ministries around England. We believe God reveals Himself to us via Christ's love and not through man-made dogma. We aim to care for the spiritual and emotional  wellbeing of people at their point of need.

We are not 'Parish' Priests in a traditional sense as we manage a number of dedicated and specific chaplaincies and ministries. We also concern ourselves both practically and prayerfully with the health of our planet and every living creature within it.

If you would like to speak to a representative from our church, please call us on 01590 624731.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the ECC+C

 

As one of the less well known corners of the Reformed Catholic world, we play an important role in helping to provide people who are unchurched (or those who feel disenfranchised from Organised Religion) with a fresh path to Christianity. For years we have aimed to continue the work of the Apostles by transforming lives through the Gospel by how we communicate with people - and not what we preach to them. We share with every single church in the world, a  universal 'Catholic' history and bring together Reformed Catholics, Lutherans and other Protestant (Open and Free) traditions. We are committed towards meeting the pastoral and spiritual needs of our local communites to the best of our abilities.

 

Vocations

 

To Serve The Mother Church

Every Christian has a duty to serve God, given in Baptism and made firm through Confirmation, and regularly strengthened by personal prayer, discernment of scripture, and celebrating the Eucharist. All Christians are called to follow Christ; to come together week by week for worship; and to extend the kingdom of God in current generations and beyond.

Different Christians are called to live out their vocations in different ways. Some are called to ordained ministry, as deacons, priests, or bishops, exercising the mission through ministries of Word and Sacrament. Other Christians are called to live out their vocation as laypersons, bearing witness to Christ in their daily lives. Some Christians are called to deepen their baptismal vows by living a religious vocation with additional vows. Religious may be ordained or lay. The ECC and its communities and ministries belonging to the Mother Church welcome all of these ways of living the Christian vocation.

 

 

 


Lay Christians

The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and all the Ecumenical Catholic Communities within the province and jurisdiction of The ECC; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the grace and gifts given them, to carry on Christ's ministry within the world, the kingdom of God.



ECC clergy are non stipendiary and the ordination process is open to all who feel called and are able to fulfil the requirements.



We are happy to engage in discernment with lay Christians who do not feel called to ordination but irrespective of this still seek conscious and faithful ways of living out their call. Please contact our Bishops or Chaplains to Bishops if you need any support.



Ordained Ministry

Some are called to ordained ministry as deacons, priests, or bishops. Baptism is the beginning of all ministries and in many ways is an ordination for the Laity (from Laos--Greek for "People of God"). If members of the Laity are called to further ordained ministry, this call from the Holy Spirit must be ratified by the church or recommendation by a local congregation or Religious Community, through completion of formational studies and by proper ecclesiastical approval. 



Deacons

Deacons do the corporate works of mercy for the church and interpret the needs of the world to the Bishop and or other clergy they serve under. Diakonia in Greek means service. They also administer some Sacrament with authority from the Bishop. They usually Preach, Baptize and Marry however they do not bless people nor can they hear confessions. Deacons can pronounce words of comfort and assurance of forgiveness but only Priests and Bishops can pronounce the absolution of penitent sinners.

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The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and Christ’s Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments. All who are ordained priests or bishops must first spend at least a year as a deacon, and they retain the obligations of the diaconate after their ordination to the priesthood. Some may be called to be deacons for the remainder of their lives, without being called to the priesthood as was beloved St Francis.



Priests

The Priest is to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to the Church and the world through the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and Christ’s Church, particularly in a pastoral capacity to people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments. In the Church of Christ, all priests are worker priests either full or part time - voluntary or self-employed or funded by grants. If the choice is to remain in secular employment then part time ministry must be pursued - without negotiation.



Bishops

Above all Bishops are the Servants of the Servants of God. They serve the greater gathered Christian/Catholic communion and never should be patriarchal or dictatorial. The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and Christ’s Church, particularly as leader priest and pastor of all clergy; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ's name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ's ministry. ECC+C Bishop-elects will be consecrated by at least two Bishops but only ever if the Church community (clergy and lay) have discerned a need. All Bishops are entitled to, as well as fulfil their obligations, continue within their own ministry as hands-on sacramental and pastoral priests.



Discerning a Vocation



The ECC+C sadly cannot accept any person under the age of 30 as an ordinand and they must not, vocally or actively, align to any one social or political group and they must have prior experience of active lay ministry in the community as a whole and not just one specific aspect of it. All candidates must be able to supply names of four referees - one of whom must be an ordained cleric and lead pastor, and another, a Eucharistic Minister, Reader or Elder from any denomination.



Those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry must consider these qualities:

Creedally Sound – ordinands must have a strong saving faith in the Triune God, the Incarnation, and the Atonement through the Cross and Resurrection

Sacramental – ordinands must have been baptized and confirmed and are regular participants in the Eucharist, to celebrate the sacraments (priest) or assist in the celebration of the sacraments (deacons)

All embracing and Inclusive – ordinands are willing and able to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of personal characteristics.

Deeply Prayerful – ordinands are committed to daily prayer and the nourishment of their spiritual lives and are willing to grow in their spiritual lives in their journey of formation

Liturgically Ecumenical – ordinands may be rooted in a particular rite, however they are willing to participate in a variety of Christian traditions and to extend their celebration to liturgical diversity, according to the preferred liturgies of community priest and of course, to meet local or emergency need

Emotionally Intelligent – ordinands must have healthy relationships with themselves, be free of mental health issues and have recent or current involvement in some capacity within a local faith community either voluntarily or paid, and are willing to grow in their awareness of the needs and issues of current communities or new groups as they present to us.



Formation for Ordained Ministry

The ECC offers a programme of modularised formation of those preparing for ordained ministry through one to one mentorship. This programme of education focuses on academic, spiritual, and ministerial formation. For those without formation a determined time for such study depends on the completion dates of each required element and module. Those with previous formation will have that formation evaluated to determine if some of the requirements of our formation programme are fulfilled. There are six areas of priestly formation:



Pastoral Priesthood

Scripture

Theology

Spirituality

Ethics and Sacerdotal Dignity

Liturgy



(All clergy are expected to engage in life-long learning, professional development and continuing education)



Deacons, priests or bishops seeking incardination within the ECC+C

Any member of clergy is welcome to talk to us regarding incardination and existing ECC+C clergy can endorse membership of others they may have known for some time but incardination will be decided upon by majority vote - NMD, RW and JR. Each member of clergy will enter a six month period of probation and preparation for ministry within the ECC+C, with monthly evaluation via their assigned mentor or closest bishop (geographically or emotionally). The ECC+C has a policy never to approach a member of clergy if they are with another Jurisdiction as we deem this to be unethical.



Religious Life

Some Christians, both lay and ordained, are called to live religious lives of prayer, ministry and witness to Christ. Those electing for membership in the Franciscan tradition may take take vows or make promises as set out by the particular Order via the presiding guardian.

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