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Charismatic Leaders Fellowship 2020

This year’s Charismatic Leaders Fellowship Consultation, formerly called the CLF Conference, was held in Augusta, Georgia, February 24-27. Yearly, this group of Charismatic leaders meets to discuss news and issues about the world-wide Pentecostal/charismatic movement. The group was originally founded in 1970 by Dennis Bennett, of Nine O’Clock in the Morning[1] fame, to discuss and work out controversies within the new Charismatic Renewal.

The meeting’s location was at the Alleluia Covenant Community school. Coincidentally, several of the presentations at the consultation were about covenant communities. Covenant communities are fairly new to the Church, and are an attempt to follow the example of the Jerusalem Christian community depicted in Acts.[2] For reasons unclear, Early Christianity followed the model of Jewish monasticism for which there is no New Testament model or mention,[3] and bypassed the covenant community described in Acts. Most covenant communities are ecumenical, as is Alleluia. Alleluia is predominantly Catholic, but led by a Methodist layman, Mr. Bob Garrett. In recent years, he has gained an international renown for his leadership in furthering Christian and Spirit-filled ecumenism.

Like the Jerusalem Christian community described in Acts, covenant communities are groupings of families, sometimes with attached singles, that bind together with certain rules to further their Christian life and holiness. An interesting example of this; Alleluia teens are not allowed to date as couples, but frequently go out as a group for sports events, field trips, etc. This provides plenty of opportunities for budding romances – but avoids the awkwardness and dangers of couple dating. (Do I hear the moans of anxious parents for similar rules in their churches?)

Covenant families live in close proximity, and this assists not only in prayer time together, but mutual help in such things as baby-sitting and home schooling. Families worship together during the week but go to their denominational churches on Sunday.[4] All of this makes life more socially engaging than normal, and more importantly, assists in avoiding much of the corrosive secularism of contemporary society.[5] One of the benefits of having the CLF meet at the Alleluia Community is that on can observe some of these dynamics in action.

On Wednesday afternoon, the CLF group drove over to Burns United Methodist Church to participate in an Ash Wednesday service. It was a wonderful expression of unity in the Body of Christ. Brief sermons were given by Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic and Baptist ministers before the imposition of ashes.

The members of the CLF who came to Augusta came from the United Sates and many parts of the world. We were all hosted by the families of the Alleluia community. Not only did this eliminate hotel charges, but most feel real delight to live for a few days within a covenant community. My host this year was a local Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Mike Freed and his lovely wife, Vera. Rev. Freed is an elder of Alleluia as well as an active pastor to nearby Ascension Lutheran Church. I came one day early and had the pleasure of attending his Sunday service and ministering healing at the end of the service.

This year’s CLF had several issues on the table. One was, coincidentally, a presentation and description of several world-wide networks of covenant communities. A presentation was given by members of the Work of Christ Covenant Community of Lansing, Michigan, one of the first ever birthed from the Charismatic Renewal. This community sprouted other communities under the name “Sword of the Spirit” which now have ninety-three communities in forty-three countries in Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America and Europe.[6] These communities are self-governing, but under similar covenant rules. Seventy percent of its members are Roman Catholic, with 5% Oriental Catholic (Coptic) and the rest Protestant.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2020

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook AnglicalPentecostal.blogspot.com

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