There is a growing problem in our movement that concerns me greatly. Back when I joined the movement in 1999, there were individuals who spent all their time suing other churches and organizations over the use of their names or over certain combinations of words. They failed to win in the end, however, they made life unbearable for many in our movement. These individuals eventually got bored, ran out of money or died. And a certain amount of peace returned.
Over the last two weeks, I have been made aware of another organization who is trying to claim a trademark on the use of “Old Catholic Church.” Sadly, I feel that this is the beginning of a repeat of history. How long before they begin suing people over the use of the name Old Catholic? The Roman Church tried that several times and ended up on the loosing end of the stick.
Here is my greater concern in all this: how many people will be hurt or damaged spiritually, physically or emotionally by these types of fights? How many people will loose their faith over the “people of the cloth” and their ego’s and pride? How many will be so damaged that the very thought of church inspires a panic attack?
You think I am exaggerating? I know many people who have been hurt this way by people calling themselves Christians.
We claim to be different. We claim to be there for those who have been disenfranchised and hurt. How can we claim any of this with a straight face while suing each other and tearing each other down because they are not the right kind of “Catholic”?
I started this magazine 4 years ago with the hope that it would help to unite the ISM in a common goal. It was my hope that it would serve as a beacon of light, that it would show that we are not the nuts and flakes that many people think we are. In some ways, it has succeeded. In others, I fear it never will.
I have to take a moment and thank everyone who has supported Convergent Streams. Fr. Rick Romero and USBN has been a faithful supporter from the very first issue. Brenda Eckels Burrows has been a faithful supporter as well and needs our prayers. She is very sick and needs the healing touch of God. Many of our writers have been with us since nearly the beginning: Father Kenneth Nelan, Bishop Tom Shortell, Fr. Tom Roberts, Fr. Bryan Wolf, Bishop Jim St. George and many more who I may have forgotten.
It has been an amazing 4 years and I hope we will be able to continue for many more. I ask that if you want to see the bright light of Convergent Streams to continue, please consider submitting articles, book reviews, recipes, short stories, word puzzles, how-to’s or any thing you think members of the ISM might enjoy. This is your magazine!
To wrap up, we can combat those who would drag the movement down by reaching our hands out to each other. No one has to give up their church, identity or pointy hat. They need only work with others of like mind. Will you reach out your hand today?
May God continue to richly bless you all,
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.