The Community Christian Fellowship Church of Canada was founded in 1994 after a series of meetings that took place beginning in the Ottawa area and concluding in Kingston, Ontario where a group of Church officials and business persons set into motion the federal incorporation. An election of officers also took place and the first elected Board for the corporation was put in place.
The initial articles of constitution for the founding of the Church were presented to a meeting held at the Sonshine Families in Quebec. The articles were presented in such a manner as to assure that:
- there would be continuity of faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule for faith and life, and
- the historic Christian faith as confessed in the Ecumenical Creeds of the Apostolic, Athanasian and Nicene Creeds would be defended.
The founding constitution also insisted that all ministries are equal and while there may be varying offices within the Church, they are not ranking in importance or of having more recognition of requiring more esteem than others. It stressed that neither ministers, nor elders, nor stewards, nor deacons, nor pastors, nor evangelists, nor any other Church office was higher than a lay members’ role. The office of the Bishop therefore became not a higher office than others but simply one that carries and requires an area of responsibility varying with that of another office. Subsequently, every church office carries with it the various duties which should be outlined not as imposing authority but requiring serving the church in honour of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This does not mean that the founders and the constitution wanted to avoid good order. On the contrary good order is to be maintained in order that this constitution can be workable. However, it precludes bureaucratic personal kingdom building.
The Annual Synod of September 1996, created the office of Bishop as a servant for the denomination. As terms of reference, this office would honour and recognize the Episcopalian tradition as well as distinguish the administrative council who should deal with corporate matters as distinct from that of the theological and ecclesiastical aspects of managing the affairs of the church. Following prayers, the ordained members of the synod elected L. Goddard to become their first Bishop and he was officially appointed to this position by the manner of the laying on of hands. Bishop Goddard then performed his first official duty as he in turn inducted and installed E. Pearce, T. Ouwehand and T. Walker as the first Council of Bishops.
In polity there is a blend of the ecumenical with each tradition reflected in the structure. Each fellowship has significant freedom to function within the broad parameters provided while the church welcomes those who are in specific ministries, i.e. storefront youth/street ministries, prison and hospital chaplains, ministries in nursing homes, churches, tent ministries, and Christian social services.
May the Lord establish the work of our hands.