Statement to the Faithful of the ICCEC

Bishop Craig BatesToday I humbly accepted the call to serve our communion as Patriarch. My mentor and spiritual father, Bishop Frank Constantino, told me that we sometimes know God’s will by three things: First, it is something that you do not want to do; Second, the task is much bigger than you are; And third, you cannot do it alone.

I ask you to join me as we move forward, continuing to build upon the vision to make visible the Kingdom of God on the Earth. We do this by holding together the three historical streams of worship—the charismatic, evangelical and sacramental—and by ministering to the least, the lost and the lonely in Jesus’ name. This is our calling.

We are an international communion. Ninety-five percent of our members reside outside of the West. This is consistent with the move of God around the world: the expression of the Christian faith is becoming more and more influenced by the Churches of South America, Asia and Africa. I am deeply thankful to my brothers and sisters in the Philippines, Africa, South America, Europe, and North America for their perseverance in reaching the lost, establishing churches and ministering to God’s people. The heart of our Church is ministry to the world, bringing Christ to men and finding Jesus in the broken. This is how we fulfill the Great Commission.

We cannot do this, though, without the active presence of God. We are charismatic and are committed to working in the power of the Holy Spirit to see lives transformed and restored. We live with the expectation that the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and the dead will rise.

The Patriarch is the symbol of unity and ministry, not of bureaucracy. My office will continue to develop an administrative infrastructure that is transparent, accountable, and that serves the purpose of facilitating ministry in our Church. As the First Father of the Church I want to affirm that all of the faithful are called to ministry. Ministry begins with baptism, not ordination. We must all work together in the ministries to which God has called us.

I reaffirm that the Charismatic Episcopal Church is called to a government of councils in consensus at all levels of the church. I enter the office of Patriarch as a bishop among bishops and as a priest among priests. The greatest among us is the servant. Our desire must be to hear the voice of the Lord and in hearing His voice to respond in joyful obedience.

I ask your prayers. I am committed to be among you as one who serves. I pray for each of you that the Holy Spirit draws us closer to the heart of Jesus and in so doing we will encounter the incredible love of our Father. In this encounter we will be made into His holy likeness and will be compelled to live out a life in obedience to the command to love one another. It is then that the world will know we are His disciples.

Under His Mercy,

The Most Reverend Craig W. Bates

Patriarch of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church

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