At the end of the last year and the start of the new one, I found myself reflecting on all the things I have done and haven’t done over this year. Many people take the opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions, only to find themselves breaking them before the end of January.
This year I am not going to do the resolution thing. It is meaningless unless you intend to actually keep them. And we all know that when you make a New Year’s resolution, that you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
This year I want to do things, not just resolve to do them. One of the things I have been very proud of this past year is this publication. When others said we could not possibly create and maintain a magazine for the Independent Sacramental Movement, we said we were going to try. With the help of all our guest writers and editors we have not only managed to create a magazine, but we are starting the second year of publication! To my knowledge, this is a venture that has never before succeeded in our movement.
With all that support and all the submissions we hope that this year will be an even better year for this publication.
Another exciting project of ours is mentioned in one of the articles in this edition (Here I am Lord!). That is the Independent Movement Database. The database has been in operation since 2005 and has had 1.5 million hits in that time.
Over the past year this project has seen a complete change in the way it was administered. In the beginning the database was a Wiki-style site where anyone could submit and edit their information. This became a huge burden on the resources of our hosting service and we had to decide to either pay hundreds of dollars a month for dedicated servers or to scale back software load on the existing servers. We chose the later. This change created more work for the human beings behind the scenes of the database, but it dropped the load on the server by three quarters.
We also added a few moderators to help with the submission and editing of the database. This means that it is not a one man show anymore, but that various members of the ISM are involved in the day-to-day operations of the site.
And let me be very clear, we are not the only ones making great strides toward giving our movement a better image. The fine people at the Universal Spirit Broadcasting Network continue to offer quality programing by members of the ISM. As I write this, Father Rick Romero is traveling down the east coast interviewing clergy in the ISM for a brand new series of programs for USBN. We are proud of their work and proud to have them as regular advertisers in Convergent Streams.
I was taken aback when I compiled the numbers for the yearly review of the Independent Movement Database. I noticed that the number of active jurisdictions had dropped. It was not a huge drop, but it was a drop. I began to dig deeper and was encouraged to see that these jurisdictions had not ceased to exist, but rather they had merged into other jurisdictions. This is encouraging because it shows that our history as a movement of splitting into increasingly smaller jurisdictions every other day may be coming to an end.
One of the things we have been working on in our church has been the process of forming working relationships. Not necessarily intercommunions, as in all reality, we should all be in communion with each other as members of the body of Christ. But rather, we are working to build relationships with jurisdictions willing to work together toward common goals regardless of our particular expression of the faith. We believe this is important as it will make us all stronger.
But in order to do so, we have to move past the ideals of the past (ie. hostile takeovers of smaller jurisdictions, demands that a jurisdiction be 100% orthodox in order to work with them) and develop new ways to work together and new ways to reach those who need our message most. It is not about how many people you have in the pews, it is about how many people you helped and how many you were Christ to today.
I want to say that I very proud to be a part of the ISM and I am humbled to be a part of many of the projects that are growing and developing in our movement. It is my prayer that 2014 will be any even greater year for our movement and will bring even more wonderful projects to our doorsteps!
The Right Rev. Gregory Godsey, OSFoc is the Managing Editor of Convergent Streams. He is the Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Churches International and the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (AL, FL, GA, and SC). He is also the Director of the Office of Communications and Media Relations for the OCCI. He lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with his wife and son.