This is a church that combines the sacraments, preaching, and freedom of the holy spirit in their services. They have apostolic succession through the Catholic Church. The ICCEC is the head body, and they have a bishop. I believe his name is Randolph Adler.
Does anyone know much about this? Would this church be considered a possible choice since they do have apostolic succession?
The problem is that from the Catholic/Orthodox point of view apostolic succession isn’t a free-floating, magical power passed down from one individual bishop to another. It’s part and parcel of the transmission of Sacred Tradition within the Church. So while the CEC does appear to have valid orders (as far as I know the RCC hasn’t pronounced on the subject, but one can presume that they do, and obviously an Episcopalian like myself is going to think that they do), they are still engaged in the glorious American enterprise of “create your own church.” The church they have created is, to my taste, a pretty darn good one. But given the freedom and diversity of our society and a minimum of theological and liturgical creativity, anyone can create a pretty darn good church according to someone or other’s taste. That’s why we have so many denominations in America (it isn’t a direct result of the Reformation in the way many Catholics think–Germany, the original homeland of the Reformation, is a completely different picture). That’s not what being a Christian is supposed to be about. We are incorporated into the Body of Christ existing throughout all time and space. The Church, as the current Pope has insisted throughout his theological career, is something we are given, not something we create. That’s why I could never join the CEC, even though (minus the more explicitly charismatic elements) it matches what I believe very well.
A second problem with the CEC–and with all the conservative Anglican groups–is that even by the standards of American denominationalism they are very unstable entities. Right now, for instance, there’s a fight going on within the CEC (for reasons I have been unable to ascertain, but which as usual with conservative Anglicans appear to be personal and political rather than primarily theological), and many parishes and even (I believe) dioceses have withdrawn/are withdrawing from the denomination. The parish in my town no longer identifies itself as CEC but as far as I know has not yet chosen another affiliation–it’s in a kind of ecclesiological limbo, which because of the essential congregationalism of conservative Anglican churches doesn’t really affect their day-to-day functioning that much. At least that’s how it appears to me on the basis of two Sunday morning visits and some conversation with colleagues who attend the church.