Christians, Assemblies of

The Assemblies of Christians, a universal low-profile fellowship of orthodox believers of the restorationist tradition (sometimes satirically referred to as the Two-by-Twos), was introduced into Canada and Newfoundland around 1904. Patterned on the first-century church, the fellowship does not fit into common religious typologies of church, sect and denomination.

In Canada, there are more than 200 full-time ministers, men and women who have undertaken to live in apostolic poverty, celibacy and obedience, dedicated to the pastoral care of the churches and to public evangelization. The Assemblies of Christians community is unincorporated; it owns no property; maintains no temples, shrines or seminaries; publishes no literature, creed, membership lists or statistics; and conducts no sensational campaigns or advertising. Members participate in community and national benevolent and charitable works.

Two sacraments or ordinances are observed. Believers are baptized by submersion. During the weekly observance of the Eucharist held in designated homes, presided over by the elder of each local church or community (a bishop or presbyter) who has been appointed by the apostolic ministry, each member participates in prayer and ministry of the word. The hymnals, both English and French editions, contain traditional and modern multinational hymns appropriate for evangelization, worship and devotion.

In addition to private Bible studies and public missions, the churches and communities in Canada hold approximately 30 annual retreats with international representation. Unity is maintained in the "apostles' doctrine and fellowship" through sustained contact with the ministry and Christian Assemblies in virtually every country in the world, while respecting the individual cultural differences within each of the communities.

See also Evangelism and evangelicals.