About Us

St. Francis Old Catholic Church is a church plant in Midtown Memphis. This means that we are a fairly new faith community.

Worship

Our worship is liturgical. We follow a standard order for our worship like all Catholic churches. While our worship would be considered formal the atmosphere is informal. It is not uncommon for us to laugh during service when Fr. Tommy stumbles over a word. We believe God has a sense of humor.

Dress

Our dress is casual to formal. Some people come very casual in jeans and tshirt and others dress up. Either is acceptable and you will be welcomed warmly.

Before and After Worship

Most Catholic churches spend time in quiet prayer prior to the service. We differ because we tend to visit with each other and use that time to share with each other about our life. We are small and so we develop strong relationships and enjoy hearing about each other's week. After worship we typically have refreshments with our brothers and sisters of Central Christian Church. Yes, there is coffee.

More Info

The Old Catholic Church is a community of faithful people around the world. The faith tradition began with early Christians in the Netherlands who followed the teachings of Jesus. His teachings on justice, peace, compassion, and equality molded the early church and her faith. Old Catholics profess a faith of action. We believe that to have faith requires us to act with compassion and love in all things and to work toward peace, equality, and justice among all peoples, but especially the oppressed and marginalized, poor, and sick. We take seriously Jesus's commandment to, “love one another as he loved us”.  All persons are welcome to worship God with us whether gay, straight, black, white, brown....God made us all and desires our worship.

We are a community that gathers together as often as possible to share the Eucharist. To fellowship with one another and to work towards our goal of bringing the Kingdom of God here and now. The Altar is open to all Baptized Christians who seek to encounter Christ. The Old Catholic Church is a church that offers refuge and hospitality to all who walk through her doors. Whether your faith is strong or you have no faith at all, you are welcome here amongst us sinners to worship God through Christ.

St. Francis Old Catholic Church is a Catholic faith community not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Though we share common Catholic theology and liturgical tradition, we differ significantly in many of the disciplines and rules that govern the Church.

We recognize that each baptized person is an equal member of the Catholic Church.  No bishop, priest, deacon, or lay person owns the Church, the ministry, or the grace of Christ.  All people play an important and prominent role in the governance of the Church.  All must respect, as well as actively seek to discern, how the Holy Spirit is motivating the faithful to act.

In our communities all the baptized, men and women alike, are given the opportunity to respond to a genuine vocation and to fully participate in priesthood.  As St. Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; all are one in Christ Jesus.”  We are acting to correct the injustice done by the long-standing practice of excluding women from ordained ministry, which unfairly diminishes women within the Church and also within the current world culture.  Presently, within many of our communities, women are actively engaged in the ordained priestly ministry.

Similarly, we affirm those, whether lay or ordained ministers, who are called to serve the People of God in a variety of life states which include people who are single, or have taken promises of celibacy, commitment, or marriage. We embrace and affirm the full and open participation in all the sacraments of LGBTQ individuals. We believe that the gift of sexual union is a source and celebration of love for couples, which allows for the special and safe sharing of intimacy.  We consider it a danger to marriage and other intimate relationships to be denied sexual sharing.  This has significant implications for Catholic practice, particularly as it applies to divorce and remarriage.

We affirm the dignity of all persons regardless of race, national origin, religious affiliation, gender, or sexual orientation. We strive for justice within the universal Church and the whole world.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know from history that the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ was united for a thousand years.

Today, however, the Catholic Church is comprised of five sister Communions:

  • Roman Catholic
  • Old Catholic
  • Anglican Catholic / Episcopalian
  • Eastern Catholic (or Eastern Orthodox)
  • Oriental (Coptic, Syrian, Nestorian)

These sister churches, together relating to each other in love, hold that through baptism, celebrated in our churches according to the faith handed down to us from the Apostles, we are each made members of the one Mystical Body of Christ.

For the most part, the sister churches interpret God's plan of salvation essentially the same. But like all sisters in a family, there are differences: mostly administrative and disciplinary, and some theological.

Certain differences are expected and accepted. Nevertheless, each of the five churches is united with all or most of its sisters through the closest bonds, that is, by Apostolic Succession and a valid, mutually recognized Eucharist.

In essentials, unity.
In non-essentials, liberty.
In all things, love.
--St. Augustine

The Old Catholic Church recognizes the clergy and Eucharist of all four of its sisters. Its own are recognized by all.

The Tradition of the Old Catholic Church comes from Scripture, the Ecumenical Councils of the early, undivided Church, and the teachings of the early Church Fathers and of all saints, inspired by the Holy Spirit, from our Lord’s time on earth to the present. The Old Catholic Church, collectively and through its bishops, looks to the Holy Spirit for guidance and not to any one man. The Old Catholic Church is ruled not by one man but by councils where the bishops, priests, deacons, and laity are active participants. The Old Catholic Church fully believes in the priesthood of all the baptized and insists that all members of the church be included in the governance. Church is not just a weekly occurrence for Old Catholics, it is so much more than that. Old Catholics come together as often as possible to celebrate the Eucharist (Lord's Supper or Holy Communion) and in that celebration we join with each other in love and fellowship as one to offer our thanks and praise to our God.

The Old Catholic Church is a Communion or family of national churches who are members of the Union of Utrecht. The Union of Utrecht is similar to that of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Utrecht is the "first among equals" of the Union. At the current time, there are no churches in the United States that are members of the Union of Utrecht. This fact, however, does not prevent St. Francis Old Catholic Church from adhering to the principals of the Union of Utrecht. It is our desire, along with the rest of the Old Catholic church, that one day we all may be one, just as Christ prayed. St. Francis Old Catholic Church is not formally in associated with the Union of Utrecht but we share a love and affection for our Old Catholic brothers and sisters in Europe and share in the deepest of all bonds which is the Eucharist.

"Holy Father,
keep through Your name
those whom You have given Me,
that they may be one as We are."
John 17:11

The Old Catholic Church is ecumenical, working toward Christ's desire for all Christians, "that they may be one". Old Catholics recognize all other Christian Baptism and welcome all who desire to meet Christ to participate in the Eucharist.

"For where two or three
are gathered together
in My name, I am there
in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20

The Liturgy (The Mass) is our supreme act of communal worship. It was given its form by the Apostles, and continued by the universal Church. From the earliest beginnings of the Christian Church there were variations in the manner in which the Eucharist was celebrated in the regional churches. Within these churches, with their mixed populations and differing historical development, local traditions, cultures and languages, it was inevitable that a large number of different types of Eucharistic prayers should emerge.

The unity of the Church of Christ and the unity of the Eucharistic Sacrifice did not require uniformity in the celebration of that Sacrifice. Therefore, The Old Catholic Church utilizes various liturgies in its worship. At. St. Francis Old Catholic Church, we use a mixture of The Old Catholic Mass and the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.

The Church confesses Seven Sacraments.

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Penance
  • Holy Anointing
  • Matrimony
  • Holy Orders

We recognize Sacraments as very holy creations; some instituted by Christ during His public life, and others instituted later by His church.

St. Francis Old Catholic Church accepts the responsibility in ensuring that the children of God study and are taught the teachings of the Bible and are fed and strengthened by the Sacraments.

Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. The Church recognizes the reality of divorce and will not withhold the Eucharist. The Church can also permit remarriage. Abortion is opposed, but family planning and birth control are left to the judgment and conscience of the married couple. Clerical celibacy is optional. Most Old Catholic priests are married and have children, as is true for most Eastern Orthodox and Anglican/Episcopalian priests.

St. Francis Old Catholic Church practices an Open Communion. This means any person who seeks a deeper relationship with Christ may partake of the Eucharist. Just as Christ welcomed sinners and even ate with them, so too do we welcome sinners to sit among us sinners and to partake of Christ's invitiation to the Table.For a more detailed explanation of why St. Francis Old Catholic Church practices Open Communion read an article written by Father Rick Fabian entitled Scandalous Table.

Membership in the Church is through Baptism.If you are already a baptized Christian who wishes to become a member of The Old Catholic Church — we welcome you! We recognize all Christian baptisms by water and the Triune formula (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). All you need to do is to let the Church know that you wish to have your name listed as a member of the church and provide the church with your Baptismal Certificate.

If you have not been Baptized then please contact the church office, we would be most excited to talk to you about Baptism.