Home Country: A Southern Colorado Catholic Splinter Group

I visited Florence, Colorado, yesterday and noticed that the congregation of St. Jude the Apostle of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ  (not to be confused with the Ecumenical Catholic Church) had apparently evaporated.

Gateway Chapel, Florence, ColoradoAt least their sign was missing from the old brick church on Second Street by which I like to park on hot summer days because of the big trees there.

(Street shade is precious. Although Florence is not a Mormon settlement, it has little street-side irrigation channels like Weber City or Vernal, Utah, that seem to cool the air.)

The ECCC website is poorly designed and graphics-heavy, but if you scroll down you you can find the building and shots of the interior. At least one wedding was celebrated while the congregation occupied that space. Maybe it was like the last wedding at Hvalsey church in Greenland, in or about 1408

Like most Catholic splinter churches, the ECCC seems to have a high ratio of bishops and priests to parishioners.

It is one of the “independent Catholic churches,” shepherded or founded by “wandering bishops,” a term I first encountered when writing for Gnosis  magazine back in the 1990s. “Congregations tend to be minuscule and sometimes even non-existent” (Wikipedia).

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering why you are reading about St. Jude’s the Ephemeral on a Pagan blog.

Reading about ambitious Pagan centers that are/are not foundering makes me think of the way in which little religious groups that are big on robes and ritual but short on cash sometimes over-extend themselves.

6 thoughts on “Home Country: A Southern Colorado Catholic Splinter Group

  1. If you build it, they may or may not come. In truth, they probably won’t.

    And I am such a sucker for anything having to do with marginal Christian splinter groups (and the more marginal and splintered, the better) that it never occurred to me to wonder why I was reading about “St Jude’s the Ephemeral on a Pagan blog.”

  2. Pitch313

    Do Pagans have the equivalent of wandering bishops? So that we could have independent splinter groups of Trads? Like circles devoted to the Columbia of the Potomac as contrasted with those devoted to the Columbia of the Owyhee or the Columbia of the Hardscrabble?

    As I mull it over, I’m tending to favor Pagan centers that are more like brew pubs and less like churches, temples, mosques, or other such faith-based edifices…

  3. Rummah

    There used to be an independent catholic bishop near Joplin, MO who advertised the “smallest cathedral in the world”. It was about the size of a garage. I visited it in 1990 and his choir consisted of a tape deck.

  4. Apuleius: It’s fun to stand on the sidewalk and watch the parade.

    Pitch: We have wandering initiators, right? I once wrote a piece called something like “Tents or Cathedrals” where I argued for temporary venues instead of edifice complexes. But I like the idea of brewpubs too.

    Rummah: Your man sounds typical of the breed!

  5. @ Rummah, I beleive that you’re referring to the late Bishop Karl Pruter. I never met him, but from his Wikipedia article, and from the writings of his that I’ve read, he seems to have been a rather interesting fellow–and, unlike many Independent Catholic dignitaries, he didn’t take himself too seriously.

  6. Rummah

    Thank you, Markarios, that was him. He was quite elderly at the time I met him, so it isn’t surprising the bishop is gone. I still have some of his pamphlets around.

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