On our FAQ Page we pose questions which we try to respond to using succinct answers to help inquirers understand in a Reader's Digest fashion, those belief systems that we in the Celtic Episcopal Church teach and support. It is our prayer that you will have your immediate interests satisfied, but if you need further clarification, please do not hesitate to send an e-mail or give Metropolitan John a call.
1a. Question: Does the Celtic Episcopal Church ordain women to the Priesthood and Episcopate?
1b. Answer: No. We do however from time to time recognize a female person who is unquestionably called to the order of Deacon. In which case, there are provisions for such a person to be ordained as a Deaconess without transition to any other order in the Church. This is the order that we refer to as the Permanent or Vocational Deaconate. These deacons are not to be ordained to the order of Priest or Bishop.
2a. Question: Does the Celtic Episcopal Church ordain persons who profess themselves as homosexual (gay or lesbian)?
2b. Answer: No. Should a person present themselves as one who believes themselves called to the service of the Church in an ordained capacity, and they also reveal that they are homosexual, we will not accept them into the process for ordination nor will we ordain such a person any more than we would ordain anyone who is actively practicing sexual sin in any of its many forms.
3a. Question: What do you mean by sexual sin?
3b. Answer: The scriptures are clear about these matters. Persons who continually and habitually practice the sin of: homosexuality, sodomy, incest, bestiality, adultery, fornication (heterosexual sin, i.e., sexual intercourse or sexual activity in any of its forms between men and women outside of the Holy Bonds of Marriage) are actions of sexual sin. All of which can be forgiven by true repentance and confession. The sin of homosexuality happens to represent a complex psychological, spiritual, and emotional condition that is very often quite difficult to heal. On the other hand, if a person truly desires to be set free from homosexuality and seeks specialized ministry of healing, Praise the Lord! God is greater than Homosexuality, thus, such a person can be set free by God's most wonderful Grace and be free indeed. This is the Good News.
4a. Question: I take it that you would not perform any kind of ceremony that would join two people of the same sex?
4b. Answer: You are correct. We are convinced that the Bible gives us clear direction concerning the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in that it is for the joining of a Christian man and a Christian woman who will live their life together as one, be in unity of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and seek to give God honor by the testimony of their life as husband and wife in the bond of holiness.
5a. Question: Speaking of Holiness, how would the Celtic Episcopal Church address this important aspect of Christianity?
5b. Answer: The idea of being Holy, here we are speaking of the Old Testament, is at one level that of keeping the Ten Commandments. The ancient Celtic church looked to the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue as we sometimes call them, as a guide for the conduct of life. At another level, that is in the New Testament, our Lord Jesus summed up the subject by saying, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two laws hang all the law and the prophets." We too teach the Ten Commandments along side of our Lord's teaching to act as a guide for life. It is truly a daily work of giving up ourselves to God.
6a. Question: You say that you are Celtic. Does that mean that you determine the dates of Easter differently from other churches in the east and west?
6b. Answer: The short answer is yes. But, once again we visit the history books and find that the Celtic Church was established very early in the British Isles by apostles from the East whereupon the dating for Pascha (Feast of the Resurrection or Easter) was determined in a particular way. This manner of determining the date was used by all churches in the East and West for several hundred years. It was the Nicene Council that fixed the way we date Easter and stipulating that the Jewish Feast of the Passover must occur first in the calendar. Pascha is then the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon (and if the Paschal Full Moon is on a Sunday, it is still the Sunday after). In keeping with our focus on the first millennium of the Church and the Celtic ethos primarily, we use the astronomical calculation for the dating of Pascha: the Sunday following the Jerusalem meridian day of the first Full Moon after the March Equinox. Jerusalem meridian time is 2 hours and 21 minutes ahead of Greenwich. We assume that it is OK for the full moon and the equinox to be on the same Jerusalem meridian day, but that it is not OK for the full moon to occur before the equinox (even if on the same day). There is a great deal more that is involved in the determination of when Pascha will occur within any given calendar year, but alas, this is supposed to be brief.
7a. Question: I see that you use the word Episcopal in your name. Does that mean that you use an Episcopal or Anglican prayerbook and subscribe to the 39 Articles of Faith?
7b. Answer: The word "Episcopal" as used in our name means governed by Bishops or Episcopos in the Greek. Literally Episcopos is translated into English as Overseer. So, we are Celtic by Ethos and Governed by Bishops as a Church or Jurisdiction. And, since we are NOT Episcopalian or Anglican, we do not use any of their Prayerbooks nor do we subscribe to their 39 Articles of Faith.