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  2 Sep 2015
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Free Church of England Evangelical Connexion Covenant
The following covenant has been set forward by members of the Free Church of England distressed by the liberalism of many in their denomination.

The FCE (Evangelical Connexion)
"That in all things Christ might have the preeminence" 
Colossians 1:18

1.      In keeping with the primitive history of the Free Church of England and the Reformed Episcopal Church the body is to be known as A CONNEXION OF COVENANTING CHURCHES and is not a new denomination.  A main purpose of the CONNEXION is to reaffirm the Protestant, Reformed, and Evangelical character of the 1927 union.

2.      We continue to accept the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES of the Free Church of England as our basis of faith and receive the Document AGENDA FOR RENEWAL as the initial way forward for our continuing churches. Both statements confirm the 39 Articles of Religion (revised) and 1785 Book of Common Prayer as the doctrinal standards of the CONNEXION.  Individual Christians (scattered members) or overseas churches can also covenant to identify with the CONNEXION.  In future meetings, nothing is to be discussed or proposed contrary to these standards.

3.      The CONNEXION will meet annually for Conference to include spiritual nurture; prayer; business-consultation; policy-making; the receiving of reports; and the appointment of committees with interim authority only.

4.     The actions of the present ecumenical bishops of the Free Church of England, in making themselves the focus of unity, rather than Convocation, under the Word of God, and in excluding evangelical churches and ministers, appear to have made reconciliation for the foreseeable future impossible. We view with great alarm any system which robs the Lord Jesus Christ of His position as the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls (1 Peter 2:24-25).

5.     In view of the above, (4), the CONNEXION must be functionally and financially free. A Central Fund is to be set-up for the administration of the said CONNEXION. We commit ourselves, through our legal advisor, to seek an immediate orderly and equitable division of all FCE assets.

 6.     Local churches are to be responsible for the selection and appointment of their own ministers in consultation with the Bishops, Examination Board and the Annual Conference. Licences are to be issued to accredited clergy and laity, by the bishops, under the authority of the Annual Connexional Conference.

 7.     Evangelical Bishops, recognised by the CONNEXION, may undertake episcopal duties on invitation of the local congregation and with the approval of the Connexional bishops.

 8.     The Connexion reserves the right to select candidates, ordain ministers, and consecrate bishops when necessary for the good order, future growth, and needs of the churches. The Connexion may also implement the present Canon 41 to receive duly ordained evangelical ministers, without Episcopal re-ordination.

 9.     We reject much of Dr John Fenwick's recent history of the Free Church of England and especially the interpretation of the FCE as 'England's best-kept ecumenical secret'. Our official history remains Bishop Frank Vaughan's, THE FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND to which we intend to add our own supplement, THE FCE - INTRODUCTION TO A CHURCH OF ENGLAND EVANGELICAL TRADITION – A REPLY TO JOHN FENWICK, to be published in 2005. This CONNEXION will not be a member of Churches Together, or of the modern ecumenical movement, but will seek to promote 'the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone', in accordance with AGENDA FOR RENEWAL.  It will also seek to foster evangelical ecumenism.

 10.    In view of the long and sad history of Freemasonry in the Free Church of England, we adopt the REC/FCE NEW ZEALAND statement on Freemasonry, which regards it as incompatible with Christianity.
“That membership of Freemasonry and other secret societies be deemed inconsistent with the profession of the Christian Religion and that those who remain members be pastorally counselled accordingly.”

Approved at the meeting of the Connection on 12th November 2004.  The above covenant to be signed by all holding  office in the Connexion and to be available for local church, national press, and general public use.

Filed: 20 Apr 2005
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