What is Convergent Catholicism?
At Prince of Peace, we identify as a Convergent Catholic church, and we are a member 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”?
Our parish is part of the Convergence Movement. This movement emerged as a result of the charismatic, liturgical, and ecumenical movements from the 1960s to the 1990s. The founders of this movement were charismatic Protestants who wanted to return to the faith of the unified Church of the first millenium (before the major break in 1054 when the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches separated). These leaders saw three major streams of Christianity - sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic - and strove to converge these streams in order to embrace a fuller Christian faith.
Sacramental – the Catholic expressions of Christianity as found within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and so on. From this stream we draw upon the creeds, sacraments, and historic episcopate in apostolic succession of the Church Catholic.
Evangelical – the Reformed/Evangelical expressions of Christianity. From this stream we take a strong appreciation for God’s grace, faith, and the Bible, plus we recognize the importance of sharing our faith (evangelism) and reforming the Church when She needs to be reformed.
Charismatic – the expressions of Christianity that emphasize the gifts of the Spirit in today’s church (such as Pentecostals). We believe in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the world today and that the Church continues to receive the gifts of the Spirit. We also have a strong appreciation for revival within the Church.
In the United States, the term “Catholic” is usually associated with the Roman Catholic Church, which is currently the largest Catholic church. However, that is not the traditional meaning of “Catholic”. The word “Catholic” is derived from the Biblical Greek term for “all-encompassing” or “universal”; the word came to refer to the entire Christian Church and especially to Christians who embraced the Nicene Creed, Bible, seven sacraments, and apostolic succession. The creed states, “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church”. Any church which confesses this ancient faith is a part of the Catholic Church.
There are also many other communions which claim a Catholic heritage - such as the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht and Anglican Communion. Solomon’s Porch is an Independent Catholic church and our Communion shares full-communion with several other Independent Catholic communions.