When Pentecostals and Anglicans Get Together

It’s gratifying to know that this site isn’t the only place where Anglicans and Pentecostals find themselves together, as an Orlando-area church that left Episcopal diocese finds a home in a Pentecostal church.  The Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church, formerly St. Edward’s Episcopal Church, is now worshiping at the Bethel Assembly of God in Mt. Dora, Florida:

After hearing of Epiphany Celebration’s predicament and need of worship space, members there decided to share their humble sanctuary with the newly formed church.

"The deacons thought it was the right thing to do and voted to help them out," said the Rev. Bruce Clark, pastor of Bethel Assembly for the past 25 years. "And every church member has expressed support for the new church."

Epiphany Celebration had its first service at Bethel on Jan. 6 and filled the church to near its 140-person capacity.

"Pastor Clark and his church have given us unconditional grace and hospitality and welcomed us with open arms and doors," Volland said.

The alliance between the two was put in good English understatement by the Anglican rector:

"Our core beliefs are the same," Volland said. "The difference is preference in worship."

Actually, there are common doctrinal antecedents between the two, as I discussed last year in Charismatic Anglicans: The Missing Link:

And this leads us to the centre of our contention: as shocking as it will sound to some, the whole modern Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is the end game of the English Reformation from a purely doctrinal standpoint, if not an institutional or liturgical one.

But there are two other lessons that Anglicans and Pentecostals can learn from each other.

The Pentecostals need to learn the important of constancy of doctrine and belief against the various flavours of revisionists that get into churches.  Up until now Pentecostal churches have been able to avoid a head-on collision with the culture war, but the time for decision will come for us too, and we need to take a a cue from the Anglicans (and hopefully start earlier in the process.)

As for the Anglicans, some simple lessons in hospitality and friendliness would go a long way to helping the nascent Anglican churches of all kinds in North America to grow and be good places to belong.  The Episcopal Church, sad to say, built too much of its pastiche on snob appeal, and that’s reflected in the reputation of Episcopalians as "God’s frozen people."  My years in the Church of God have been in an institution that has the feel of an extended family, and that reflects God’s love for us.  It’s a good feeling, one that Anglicans could make their own and benefit from.

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