There has been a Pentecostal and Charismatic presence in Churches Together in England since its inception in the 1990s. This presence has grown significantly since that time, both numerically and ecclesiologically. Today the movement includes classical Pentecostals and Charismatics. These range from major denominations, umbrella agencies and independent congregations. They also have a presence within non-Pentecostal and non-Charismatic churches, such as Catholic and Anglican churches.
The Pentecostal and Charismatic movement is also discernible through a range of ethnicities and nationalities, including Black Pentecostals (African and Caribbean), and those of European or Asian roots. As of 2021, 45% of CTE’s membership (ie 23 of 52 national Member Churches) were from these ecclesial expressions.
CTE’s Pentecostal and Charismatic work and Multicultural Relations, is led and supported by Principal officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi- cultural relations Shermara Fletcher, who can be contacted via email or mobile: 07776 964288.
Pentecostal and Charismatic President
CTE’s current Pentecostal and Charismatic President is Bishop Tedroy Powell of The Church of God of Prophecy.
Since 2014 there has been a Pentecostal President, who serves for a term of four years and is elected by the Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum members. Read more in The Memorandum of Agreement for CTE’s Pentecostal and Charismatic Presidency.
The role is one of six CTE presidencies representing the diverse spectrum of Christianity in England. The Presidents, though not part of the legal governmental framework of the charity, provide leadership in the ecumenical pilgrimage (journey) of the churches as they engage in the mission of God in the country.
The first Pentecostal President, Eric Brown, was elected in 2013 for two years, and re-elected for a further two years in 2015. Subsequently the term of office was changed to four years, with Pastor Agu Irukwu serving as the second Pentecostal President from 2017-2021.
Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum
Critical to the journeying together of these churches is a twice-yearly Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum, usually taking place in May and November. At its heart is building fellowship, relationships and friendships that flow back into the churches and help to develop acts of mission together. CTE’s Pentecostal President chairs this Forum. Currently there are at least 23 CTE Member Churches that self-identify as Pentecostal or Charismatic, and each appoints a representative to attend.
On the first Tuesday of each month at 7am, Forum members gather by telephone for half an hour of prayer. This is led by the Pentecostal and Charismatic President (who also chairs the Forum).
Emerge Leaders Subgroup
Critical to the succession planning and future life of the church within the Pentecostal and Charismatic constituency, the Forum has started the process of developing a younger generation of leaders to be involved in the work of the Forum. More information about Emerge will be released over time.
Pentecostal Charismatic Protocol
In 2019, the Forum developed and agreed a protocol that guides its involvement in the ecumenical journey. This protocol has been developed by the CTE Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum as a guide for Pentecostals and Charismatic Member Churches to have an effective presence and voice within CTE.
Racial Justice Working Group
Churches are committed to working together on the journey of seeking racial justice – both within churches and in wider society. A number of ecumenical initiatives gathered pace in 2021, including the establishment of CTE’s Racial Justice Working Group. This brings together racial justice representatives from across CTE’s more than 50 national Member Churches, along with CTE Trustees, a representative from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), and others with specialist skills and knowledge.
Explaining the purpose and vision of the Working Group, Shermara Fletcher, CTE’s Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, explains:
“CTE’s Racial Justice Working Group gathers to provide support, share best practice, discuss theological and ecclesiological issues and provide the opportunity to implement solutions to ensure our Member Churches are beacons of racial justice best practice within their own structures. The vision is to foster deep relationships, ecumenically breakdown negative perceptions of the other, and ensure that global majority diasporas living in the UK find safe, equal and equitable spaces to flourish in British society. The church is committed to be being at the forefront of this change.”
The Racial Justice Working Group is chaired by CTE Trustees Rev Dr Lurliene Miller and Rt Rev Bishop Moses Owusu-Sekyere.
Pentecostal and Charismatic working groups
From time to time working groups are established to lead on specific areas of work, as agreed by the Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum.
There are currently four working groups:
- Beyond the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
This group seeks to highlight the enduring legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, which made great wealth for slaveowners and allied traders and their descendants, while blighting the lives of the enslaved and their descendants. The effects of this are very much felt today. Many churches were also complicit in the transatlantic slave trade and chattel slavery, benefitting from the trade.
The working group raises awareness of this issue among the churches, calling upon the churches to respond through considering restorative justice or reparations, and awareness raising. A key partner in this work is the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation.
2. Government legislation
This working group keeps in touch with government legislation that may be of importance for the Pentecostal and Charismatic church constituency. Areas reported on have included religious education in schools and marriage legislation, with information disseminated to the churches
3. Theological planning group
This working group plans theological conferences which inform the Pentecostal and Charismatic community, as well as informing others about these traditions. An example of output from this group’s work is seen in publications such as Pentecostals and Charismatics in Britain, edited by former CTE staff member Bishop Joe Aldred, and published by SCM in 2019.
4. Bi-Lateral conversations
This working group organises conversations with other church traditions (ecumenical dialogues), as agreed by the Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum. Over the years there have been Pentecostal and Charismatic dialogues with Rabbis, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England and Orthodox churches. There is also a bi-lateral Theological Study Group with the Church of England, due to complete its work and submit a report in 2020/2021.
Church of England Synod Representation
Over the years, CTE’s Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multicultural work has led to a range of conferences and research projects, which have produced a range of reports and books.
These include a range of reflections on Pentecostal, Charismatic and Black Majority churches in Britain, as well as resources on specific themes, including Windrush, They Also Served (remembering the contribution of African Caribbean soldiers in WW1), gangs, drugs and gun and knife crime, and modern slavery.