Bob Mueller, pastor of Good Samaritan United Catholic House Church, welcomes those gathered for Sunday service. His two small dogs — one lying off to his side, one resting cozily in his lap — add to the relaxed atmosphere in his nicely furnished living room. The notes of a folksy song by Carrie Newcomer play from a speaker: 

There is room for us all / And no gift is too small
There is room at the table for everyone / There’s enough if we share
Come on pull up a chair / There is room at the table for everyone…” 

As the final refrain ends, Bob affirms that this song feels perfectly reflective of the posture at Good Samaritan: all are welcome. The relaxed, familiar atmosphere reflects the community’s hospitality. 

The United Catholic Church was founded in 1996 as an offshoot of Roman Catholicism. Their official website reads, “We are a liminal Church. We walk and serve in the space between.” As a renewal church, the denomination encourages and supports non-traditional, experimental and ecumenical mission outreach. Their mission is to support the spiritual needs of folks who may not find a home in conventional parish structures. The United Catholic Church strives to meet these people “where they are, as they are, without judgement, with a valid sacramental faith tradition to help bring them spiritual peace and a healing connection to God through Christ.” 

At Good Samaritan, many regular attendees are former Roman Catholics, and some came from other Christian denominations. The Sunday service is comprised of traditional and modern elements. Today, two attendees read Old Testament and New Testament scripture passages, and Bob reads the Gospel. While Bob gives a few minutes of reflection on the Scriptures, he also opens the floor for others to contribute their thoughts and reflections to the group. Many of the prayers shared during the service have been collectively written or edited to reflect the inclusive, diverse nature of the Good Samaritan community. All those gathered participate in the consecration; the Eucharistic hosts are distributed from a communal plate, and the sacramental wine is offered in individual crystal glasses. The service ends on a warm, casual note. 

Bob Mueller is a bishop in the United Catholic Church. He writes, “We welcome all Christians who, for whatever reason, are separated from the sacraments and the church. In the spirit of Christ, to the outcast, we offer inclusion; to the rejected, acceptance; to the afflicted, comfort; to the sinner, forgiveness; to the dependent, hope; to the troubled, peace.”

Learn more about the United Catholic Church here. 

Contact Bob Mueller for more information about Good Samaritan Church here.