A Summary of the Beliefs of the Reformed Celtic Church (RCC)

+Founding Bishop Thomas J. Faulkenbury, OSJ

 

OPEN COMMUNION

We believe that all persons have access to the one holy, catholic, and orthodox church. Consequently, all the services of Reformed Celtic Church congregations are open to all. This includes the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The altars of our Church are open to anyone who wishes to receive this gift of our Savior.

The Reformed Celtic Church does not require that any person renounce their current denominational affiliation or faith in order to join in worship or prayer in our Church.

WORSHIP

The style of worship varies from congregation to congregation. Some use the Disert Missal, a contemporary liturgy based on Celtic Liturgies and folk-prayers going back to the 8th Century and earlier. Some use worship services developed by other Celtic Christian groups like the Iona Community, St. Aidan's Trust, and the Northumbrian Community. While the Disert Missal is the recommended liturgical resource and the one in most common use, the Reformed Celtic Church allows for freedom of style in worship, encouraging the development of worship forms capturing the spirit of the ancient Celtic Church.

GOVERNANCE

The Church is an association of congregations drawn together in an "organic unity of faith and love." There is not a compelled corporate unity. We are drawn together around the basic doctrine of the undivided Church. And we exist for the reciprocal sustenance and growth of ministries. Periodically, the clergy and laity meet in Convocation for dialogue, sharing, and collective support.

Our form of ecclesiastical government is a combination of episcopal leadership and congregational polity. Our Bishops are not "corporate CEO's" but pastoral leaders providing doctrinal stability and equipping the Church for ministry. Our organizational model is "axial" rather than "hierarchic." Our Bishops are foci for the presence of the Church in the world rather than feudal lords ruling their ecclesiastical domains.

Congregations are self-governing. They own their property, manage their own affairs, and are governed by locally elected Church Councils.

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

We acknowledge the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, and the New Testament as the Word of God and the primary requirement for ruling in all matters of practice and church policy.

THE NICENE CREED

We believe that the sufficient statement of faith is the Nicene Creed. This means that we believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith: the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, His Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, His Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, His eventual return, the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, God's forgiveness of our sins through Christ, and eternal life.

Our version of the Nicene Creed is that which was approved at the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) and reaffirmed by the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.). It does not contain the so-called "filioque" clause arbitrarily added later by the Church of Rome.

THE SACRAMENTS

We observe the 2 major and 5 minor Sacraments (or Mysteries) of the undivided Church. The major Sacraments of Baptism (with Chrismation) and Holy Communion are necessary to living a full Christian life. The minor Sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation (also called Penance), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Unction (also called Last Rites) are deemed necessary for a more abundant life in Christ and the Church. We also recognize the work of God in what we call sacramentals such as preaching and teaching which assist in the spread of the Holy Gospel. And we teach that all of Christian life is potentially sacramental (that is, an outward sign of the inner grace of Christ which all Christians possess).

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders we maintain the historical ministry of the Church (Bishops, Presbyters or Priests, and Deacons) instituted by Christ through the Apostles by the laying on of hands. The Bishops of the Reformed Celtic Church trace their succession through the historical line of duly consecrated Bishops back to the Apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ. Equally important, they preserve and promote the faith once delivered by Christ to the Apostles.

THE 7 ECUMENICAL COUNCILS

We hold that the first seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church were guided by the Holy Spirit and are continuations and elaborations of the deposit of the faith given to Christ by the Apostles. In addition to theological clarifications on the nature of Christ, these Councils pronounced the intercession of the Saints and the veneration of sacred art as consistent with Christian doctrine and worship. They also gave the Blessed Virgin Mary her proper recognition as the Theotokos (the Mother of God by virtue of the birth of the Son of God through her obedience).

THE EQUALITY OF ALL GOD'S CHILDREN

We believe that it is in keeping with the Holy Scriptures, the Celtic Christian tradition, and God-given reason, that in Christ Jesus we are neither Greek nor Jew, black nor white, male nor female. And, therefore, all of God's children inherit the responsibility to respond to God's call in the full life of the Church. No ministry of the Reformed Celtic Church is denied to anyone on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual preference. To deny any person the opportunity to respond to God's call on these bases is to contradict Holy Scriptures, sacred tradition, and simple Divine justice.

CHURCH CALENDAR

We observe the traditional Christian Calendar of seasons (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost), Holy Days (Nativity, Easter Vigil, Ascension, etc.) and the observance of the feast days of Saints (with special emphasis on the Celtic saints). In addition, some member congregations observe the Celtic seasons (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, and Lammas) and Celtic celebrations (Christmas Vigil, Prayer Around the Cross, Vigil of Fire, Harvest Office). Observances vary from church to church, depending on the size and preferences of the congregation.

Though a Celtic Christian-specific calculation for Easter exists, to avoid confusion the RCC chooses to employ the ancient Western Roman/Anglican Easter calculation.