ST. MICHAEL OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH
Frequent Questions from Visitors
If I join you for worship, what should I expect?
You will be warmly welcomed and accepted JUST AS YOU ARE. T-shirts, shorts, jeans, flip flops or more formal attire works just fine. Worship guides are available as you enter the church - these will provide the prayers, readings, and will fully guide you through the liturgy. If you have any questions, ask us. Guest cards are available if you wish to provide your contact information. Feel free to sit anywhere. We stand during portions of the Liturgy. If you are unable to stand with ease, please remain seated. Though we pass an offering plate you are under no obligation to contribute.
May I receive Communion?
Holy Communion (the Eucharist) is open to all who sincerely desire to partake. We believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated Bread and Wine. Visitors who may feel uncomfortable participating – or whose beliefs may prohibit participation – should not feel pressured, and may simply remain seated. Both the consecrated Bread and Wine are offered at Communion. We are happy to provide gluten-free Communion wafers as well, just let one of the clergy know before Mass.
I/we are LGBTQ. Will we/I be welcome?
Everyone, without exception, is welcome in the Lord's House! We do not exclude anyone because of their race, sexual identity, gender expression, ethnic background or any other status.
I haven’t been to church in years, can I just walk in?
You sure can! If you feel nervous about it, just let us know when you arrive that you haven’t been to church for awhile. You can pretty much bet that a few of us here hadn’t been to church for awhile either, and we know what you are going through.
What if I’m divorced and have remarried?
The church should be a community of care and hope for those who divorce. Regrettably, some marriages end in divorce. However, continuing some marriages may be destructive and abusive to those involved. Those who are divorced or have remarried are welcome to share in the full Sacramental life of our church.
Do you exclude certain groups of people?
No. We welcome all people, no matter their ethnicity, race, gender/sexual expression and identity, social status or history. All people are at a different places in their spiritual walk and life and we are certain that not one of us is perfect, but all of us are sinners. Yet, “But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God's anger!” (Romans 5:8-9)
Who are the Old Catholics?
Old Catholics are small and growing communities. The term “Old Catholic” was coined in 1870 when a group of Dutch bishops broke with the Roman Catholic Church. The rift came about because Rome declared a new doctrines including the infallibility of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). The group of Christians who broke with Rome declared themselves loyal to apostolic Christianity rather than the “new” Catholicism that Rome was attempting to define. Most Old Catholic jurisdictions are derived by means of apostolic succession through validly consecrated Bishops. Old Catholics have varied worship liturgies. At St. Michael's we generally use the Anglican Book of Common Prayer as the basis for the liturgical order of our Eucharistic services (the Mass).
Who “runs” these churches?
Old Catholic churches are “run” by the People of God who are members of the community who worship with and take part in the life and fellowship of the community. We have a Rector (the presiding pastor), a Vicar and an Associate Priest. They each are led by the Bishop of Florida. The worldly affairs of the church are handled by the Vestry (Parish Council).
Is there more than one Christian church?
No. The Church of Jesus Christ is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC. However, there are a large number of Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant and other Christian denominations. We are a parish church of the Independent Old Catholic Church.
Are you affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church?
No, we are not. We do not fall under the authority or rule of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome. We are a separate and unique church tracing its linage back to the Old Catholic churches of Utrecht.
Do I have to be Catholic to participate?
No. Everyone is welcome to come and worship with us! It is our belief that all people should be welcome to pray, worship and share the Sacraments together, regardless of denomination.
How does the church support itself?
We depend on the generosity of those who join with us or who share our vision to contribute as they are able. At St. Michael’s, as with most Old Catholic churches, ordained members work in regular jobs. The benefit of this is two-fold–it keeps them “real”, living and working like everyone else, and it provides an income so that the parish does not have significant financial responsibilities of supporting a pastor and family, which allows contributions to be used for ministries and church upkeep.
I have always felt called to service in the church, how can I follow that calling?
We will be happy to talk to you about your vocation. Both women and men are ordained to all orders: deacon, priest, and bishop. Saint Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The Diocese of Florida of the IOCC has a seminary, Agape Seminary - East Coast Campus, to train qualified candidates for the Orders of Deacon (permanent or transitory) and Presbyter (Priesthood). Check it out!
Where can I go if I have more questions or want more information?
Take a look around our website. You may find answers to your questions, and probably answers to questions you didn’t know you had! If you still want more information, drop a note or call and we’ll set up a time to talk.