Who We Are

The Evangelical Anglican Church in America adheres to the Holy Catholic Faith delivered to the Saints. We affirm the Apostolic Tradition, especially as expressed by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modern. We affirm the Old and New Testaments as an inspired conversation between God and God’s people. We look towards the early church Fathers and Mothers as some of our most reliable witnesses, for they were taught by the Apostles themselves. We believe the scriptures are to be interpreted thru an Anglican lens of reason, tradition respect for diversity of experience and opinion.  We likewise affirm The Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed, and the Creed of St. Athanasius as “Statements of Faith.”

We acknowledge the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Unction of the Sick as objective and effective signs of the continuing presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means of conveying His grace. We practice the Veneration of the Ever-Blessed Virgin – The Mother of God, of the angels and the Saints and prayers for the faithful departed. Images of Christ, Blessed Mary his human mother and the Saints are to be held and kept with due reverence, because the honor shown to them is referred to the prototypes they represent.

We believe that what we teach in our small Anglican corner of the Catholic Church only has meaning if it is consonant with what the Church as a whole has always taught. Therefore we understand the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith in light of the universal witness of the early Church to the meaning of Holy Scripture. We subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith in so far as they reflect that very ancient teaching. We celebrate the place of the Articles within our tradition as a distillation of the teaching of the historic Catholic Church. The Articles, we believe, ought to be able to set the terms of theological debate and so we read them by seeking their meaning in the context of contemporary society and plain reason.

We believe in Respect, Diversity, Inclusion and Welcome. The Church should be one which doesn’t discriminate on any level on the grounds of class, gender, physical challenge, marital status, race or sexual orientation/identity. The Church, for us, is one that serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.

Believing that Anglicanism is Catholic by its very nature, we not only use the New Zeeland Book of Common Prayer as the standard for our worship life, but believe it to be the liturgy par excellence for Catholic worship and teaching the Catholic faith.  As we embrace Anglicanism, we therefore also embrace all authorized Books of Common Prayer within the communion. However, while ample scope is provided for Low Church as well as Charismatic worship, we are partial to the High Church tradition which stresses fidelity to the prayer book as a matter of faith. After all most of what we say in the Prayer Book liturgy is scripture itself formed into prayer. That which is not quoted from scripture directly is most often taken from ancient prayers written by the great Saints of the early Church. Liturgy is both an expression of and teacher of faith. Liturgy is participatory, dynamic and relational. When we participate in liturgy we encounter God, learning who Spirit is and who we are in relation to Spirit by worshiping it, hearing its Word proclaimed and receiving its grace through the Sacraments.

The Prayer Book gives the faithful access to the liturgy in one concise volume that is written in the language of the people. One of the major functions of liturgy is to form people in the faith. By using a common prayer book the faithful themselves participate in the prayers and the worship so as to be incorporated into the mystery of God’s self-revelation in Word and Sacrament.

The Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, of which He is the head, and it is the living manifestation of His presence in the history of mankind. The most conspicuous characteristics of Churches which consider themselves “Catholic” are a rich liturgical life and faithfulness to the apostolic tradition. The Evangelical Anglican Church in America (EACA) is a contemporary manifestation of the preservation of tradition and continuity of the ancient Church.

The EACA asserts an unbroken episcopal succession in the Old Catholic Church through the Roman Catholic Church in Holland, organized in 696 AD, later to become an Arch-Episcopal See and subsequently, in 1125, to receive from Pope Eugene III the right to elect its own bishops independently of Rome. (This partial autonomy was affirmed by the fourth Lateran Council in 1215 and subsequently in 1520 by Pope Leo X through De Vito Pastoralis). This branch of the Church separated from Rome to form, in 1739, the Old Roman Catholic Church. Following the 1st Vatican Council in 1870, several Catholics protested “Papal Infallibility” and separated from Rome to establish the Old Catholic Church establishing its episcopal succession from the Old Roman Catholic Church at Utrecht.

An Old Catholic Church was established in Great Britain and Ireland in 1908 when, for fear that Anglican Ordinals were deficient, the Earl of Landaff (Arnold Harris Mathew) was consecrated as its first bishop. In 1910 Bishop Mathew severed connection with the Union of Utrecht due to growing modernist heresies, which was to see, in 1932, Utrecht establish inter-communion with the Anglican Church. Then, in 1914, Prince-Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes, an Austrian nobleman, ordained an Old Catholic bishop in Great Britain but being unable to return to Austria due to the outbreak of World War I, settled in America where he established the Old Catholic Church here.

Secondary lines of succession present in the EACA arise from Roman Catholic (Brazil), Orthodox (Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria and Russia) and Eastern Uniate (Armenian, Chaldean, Greek Melkite and Syrian-Malabar) Churches. Taken together these several lines guarantee the Catholicity and Sacramental Validity of the EACA. From this tradition Bishops delegate to the priesthood inherited powers, act as their pastors, and hold a particular teaching office with respect to the wider Church. With the consecration of Bishops, Champion and Chapman in 2017 the line of the New American Catholic Church was added to our denominational lineage.

Through our baptism we are all called to ministry, serving Christ, the Church, and those around us in the world.  Some of us, however, feel a particular call to ordained ministry in and through the church.  The EACA maintains the traditional three branches of ordained ministry: Deacons, Priests, and Bishops.

Persons who may be interested in the possibility of formation and ordination in the EACA can initiate the conversation with an EACA clergy person they may know, that is in their area (see Clergy Listing), or by contacting Bishop Kevin Champion as listed below.  Applicants must be persons of good character, have a genuine desire to serve in and the through the church, and must have completed or be willing to complete basic coursework in Biblical Studies, Church History, Anglicanism, Theology, Ethics/Justice Studies, Liturgy and Worship, Homiletics, and Pastoral Care.

The Formation process is individualized based upon what the candidate brings to the process and therefore the length of time required prior to ordination will vary from one person to another.  The process for consideration as a Postulant and potential candidate for ordination includes:

 

  1. Initial conversations with an EACA clergy or Bishop.
  2. Submission of a completed application form, copies of transcripts from all college/seminary/graduate school work completed, and three required reflection papers (Biographical, Theological, and Ministry) to Bishop Kevin.
  3. Upon receipt of the complete application packet, all materials are evaluated with further dialogue regarding the applicants calling and intentions for ordained ministry.
  4. If approved the application receives notification of acceptance as a Postulate for Formation with recommendations regarding further study or personal work that may be needed.
  5. The new Postulant is matched with an EACA clergy person who will serve as a personal mentor during the Formation process.
  6. The Candidate communicates regularly with his/her mentor and Bishop Kevin, completing all required coursework needed.

 

At the completion of the Formation Process, if the candidate is found to be successful in his/her work and presentation of him/herself, with the recommendation of the House of Bishops, the candidate may be ordained Deacon (Permanent or Transitional).  Following a period of time of service the Transitional Deacon may be ordained Priest.

If you have further questions or wish to discuss the possibility of Formation and Ordination, please contact Bishop Kevin Champion:

kevinchampion@yahoo.com

923 Lake Dr.

Shelby, NC 28152

The EACA was officially established as a canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction in 1994, with the Consecration of The Rev. Msgr. Craig Bettendorf, a clergyman of the Philippine Independent Church (itself in communion with “Old Catholics”), for its episcopacy, and the promulgation of a Constitution and Codex of Canon Law. Its primary mission has always been that of the building up of Christ’s Church. Jesus’ command that “all might become one through the Creator” is sincerely embraced. Bishop Bettendorf devoted a significant portion of his life to church-planting efforts throughout the United States. His objective, rather radical at that time, was to provide a place where sincere men and women called to sacramental ministry could answer that call irrespective of their sexual orientation/identity.

Following an agreement in 1995 between Bishop Bettendorf and Most Rev. Charles Finn of the Liberal Catholic Church International (a 1941 reorganization of the Old Catholic Church in England) the Church partnered with the LCCI’s St. Alban’s Theological Seminary, to create the Anglican Institute for Affirmative Christian Studies [AIACS] to prepare students for ordained service within the Church.

Upon the retirement of Bishop Bettendorf in 2004, Bishop Rusty Smith, was installed as Presiding Bishop. He serves as the ecclesiastical superior and Ordinary of parishes, missions, and faith communities, as well as individual clergy present throughout the country. The Bishop is also the direct spiritual and jurisdictional authority of clergy (whose ordination rituals have had appropriate matter and form, together with Catholic intention) located internationally who have sworn conformity with the Constitution and Canons of the Church. In 2017 the Church ordained Rev. Kevin Champion and Rev. Craig Chapman as bishops.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sec 2:3) upholds the Catholicity of the Evangelical Anglican Church in America as a “Particular Church”. “The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their priests, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament….In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated…In these communities, though they may be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is constituted” (832).

“The phrase ‘particular Church’, which is first of all the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession. These particular Churches “are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists” (833).

The EACA is committed to Ecumenical Shared Ministry between Christians of different traditions, worshipping and serving God in a unified way, while still maintaining their denominational identities and connections. Although it maintains its independence from both Rome as well as the Anglican Communion, intercommunion with all other Apostolic and Catholic Churches is sought, provided that agreement in the essentials of Faith and Order first be reached. The unity of the Church is manifested in common faith and communion in the sacraments but none but Christ himself is the real Head of the Church. Thus, through a common experience of episcopacy, characterized by Apostolic Succession, along with a common and complex liturgical tradition, a measure of unity still certainly exists.

 

In 2004 the Church entered a Concordant Agreement establishing intercommunion with the Open Episcopal Church (a 2002 reorganization of the Liberal Catholic Church). The Open Episcopal Church has bishops in England, Scotland and Wales and clergy throughout the United Kingdom. It describes itself as orthodox in belief and radical in practice. It has ministered to hundreds of thousands of people and has over 29,000 members. The church is a vocal and active champion of religious equality and was the first in Britain to ordain a woman as bishop and to perform religious wedding ceremonies for same sex couples.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”.

1 Peter 2:9