The United Catholic Church was founded and incorporated in the state of Florida in 1996 as both a denomination and an inter-church fellowship.  We embrace ecumenical Catholicism and welcome all Christians to our Communion rail, and serve all, but our primary outreach is to three  groups: first, to people who hold that worship and the sacraments need to be validly apostolic in terms of historical belief and succession, but who are unchurched;  second, to the increasing number of Christians who have no single tradition background from childhood and who feel they can comfortably be neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant; and third, to the isolated, individuals who through age, sickness, or other impediment can no longer reach out to participate in a faith community and now find themselves alone.  To the outcast, we offer inclusion; to the rejected, acceptance; to the afflicted, comfort; to the sinner, forgiveness; to the despondent, hope; to the troubled, peace.  In pursuit of this healing mission the United Catholic Church actively sponsors both congregations where people can grow in Christ, and missions/chaplaincies following traditional and emergent church models.  (Continue Reading)

Who We Are

Picture1.jpg

In Essentials - Unity

  In Non-essentials - Diversity

In All things - Charity

Church Statistics

Computing membership numbers can be a bit difficult since a part of this church’s mission is to reach out to in a non-traditional, post-denominational and emergent church way.   As such, while the church has 900 individuals that can be counted as members of the United Catholic Church in the traditional church counting fashion, due to its mission, it also has a large and active group of 1000 members who are unlabeled because they see themselves as post-denominational in some way.   The church also has a sizeable and growing emergent church model group of over 3500 persons who are supported by this church on an annual basis.

Historical Background Snapshot

The United Catholic Church is a Heritage Old Catholic denomination. We are descendants of the Dutch Church settled by St Willibrord (658-739 c.e.) the Apostle to Frisians and the first named Archbishop of Utrecht. Our history follows that church through its medieval, counter-reformation, and enlightenment accomplishments and travails, and on to its final split with Rome in the late eighteen hundreds, when a local church theology was developed that incorporated elements from both the Western and Eastern branches of the ancient undivided church.  Old Catholicism has its own theology and especially differs from Rome in its understanding of what a church is and how it functions, its ecclesiology. A new church organization was also created, the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches.  Early missionary efforts of the Utrecht Union then produced multiple offshoot strands in the United States which are not part of the European Union of Utrecht organization.

There are two salient facts that frame our heritage:

First, two popes in the Middle Ages produced papal bulls or decrees, that declared Utrecht was, and would always be, administratively autonomous from Rome. This meant that Utrecht was a valid stand-alone Catholic Church. Consequently, when political tensions caused Utrecht to pull away from Rome, Utrecht merely took up its legacy as a stand-alone Catholic church. As such, neither Utrecht nor its many heirs are Protestant or Roman Catholic, but are classified with their own identifier, Old Catholic.

The second salient point to recognize is that Heritage Old Catholic Churches are identified by two dimensions: they recognize and accept the founding documents that created the Old Catholic tradition as well as those beliefs that define catholicism, and they carry an apostolic succession that ties to Utrecht and the Dutch Church settled by Willibrord.  As with Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and other traditions that expanded to span the globe from its original settings, as time passed different refinements of beliefs occurred in different locations, even as each location held constant to the originating principles. Thus Heritage Old Catholicism in the United States today will have a different emphasis of expression than would the Union of Utrecht in Europe while sharing the same core beliefs. This is not an aberration but an expression of the very local church theology which grounds Old Catholicism, the idea that each church should reflect its local situation.