What is Convergent Catholicism?
At Solomon’s Porch Phx, we identify as a Convergent Catholic church, and we are the mother church of the Convergent Christian Communion - a jurisdiction within the Convergence and Independent Catholic movements. What does it mean that we are “Convergent” and “Catholic”?
The Convergence Movement
We are part of a larger movement of churches known as the Convergence Movement. In this movement, we believe in bringing together the fullness of the universal Church. We see the Church as having three main streams: sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic. Our Communion adds a fourth stream – affirming.
Sacramental: The sacramental stream of the Church refers to the branches of Christianity that embrace the historic worship and traditions that united the Church since the apostolic age. There are many church bodies that are sacramental such as the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches. All of these bodies identify as being part of the Holy Catholic Church mentioned in the creeds.
Evangelical: The evangelical stream of the Church refers to those within church history that have advocated for reform and renewal of the Church. This stream emphasizes God’s grace, faith, and the Bible, plus the importance of sharing our faith (evangelism).
Charismatic: The charismatic stream of Christianity refers to those who believe in the continuing gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church throughout church history until today. Historically, many Christians believed that after the New Testament times, the gifts of the Spirit ceased. The charismatic stream teaches that Christians continue to experience signs and wonders as found in the New Testament.
Affirming: The affirming stream isn’t technically one of the streams found within the Convergence Movement, but it is an important part of who we are, so it is included here. As an affirming church, we believe that the Church is called to be an LGBT+ inclusive place. We also feel that the Church is called to be inclusive of all people.
To be Convergent means different things to different people, but to us it means that we are embracing the full message of Jesus Christ passed down through the ages. We believe that God wants us to be loving of all of his people—inclusive of all of the limbs of Christ’s body. In our community life and worship, we strive to authentically blend together all of these streams so that the fullness of Christian tradition is lived out.
In addition to being Convergent, we identify as Catholic. In America, the term “Catholic” is usually associated with the Roman Catholic Church, which is currently the largest Catholic church. Many are surprised to find out that there are in fact many other Catholic churches (including the Orthodox, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches). Several million Catholics are independent of Rome and Constantinople. This loose collection of Catholics make up Independent Catholicism.
The term “Catholic” comes from a Biblical Greek term for “universal”. To be a Catholic Christian means to be a member of the Universal Church founded by Jesus and his first apostles. As Catholic Christians we root our faith in:
The ecumenical creeds.
The seven sacraments.
The historic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons (in succession from the apostles).