OGDEN — The trouble began in spring 2017 when the Rev. James W. Morgan Jr. asked an electrician to install three new lights over the altar of Glory to God Old Catholic Church.
More than two years later, the congregation has only just recently resumed meeting in the church, which was beset by a series of calamities, including structural damage, flooding and nearly a complete rebuild.
Morgan said the electrician came down from the attic and said he wouldn’t be installing new lights.
“I said ‘why, what’s wrong?’”
Scissor joists in the roof structure had broken loose from front to back in the building. An insurance engineer soon declared the building could not be occupied until repaired.
So the congregation had to hold Mass squeezed into a secondary building next door, Morgan said.
There followed a year of sporadic contractor work in the church. Then, another setback.
“As soon as they got the roof off it rained four days straight,” Morgan said.
The resulting flooding caused major damage in the ceilings, offices, bathrooms, hallways and the furnace room, which necessitated reconstruction of the entire interior.
All the work cost $300,000 or more, Morgan said, but fortunately insurance paid for it all.
“Then a drunk driver took out the bell tower,” Morgan said. “I thought, ‘what’s next,’ but I didn’t want to know.”
The church, at 375 Harrison Blvd., was rededicated Sept. 30.
Morgan, who has been in Ogden since 1996, said the church bought the building in 2003. It had housed a bilingual Southern Baptist congregation before.
Through the reconstruction, the congregation of about 60 people stayed close, Morgan said.
“That was really the miracle,” he said. “Everybody continued to come even though we were meeting in virtually a kitchen.”
Morgan said the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church split in the era of the First Vatican Council in the 1860s.
“The bishops declared the pope infallible,” he said. “The difference between us and the Roman church is that there isn’t any, except to us the pope is not infallible; he’s the bishop of Rome.”
The Old Catholic Church is governed by a synod of bishops, Morgan said. He also holds the title of bishop and is a member of the synod.
The Ogden church often refers to itself without the “Old” designation, including on its Harrison Boulevard street sign.
“Hopefully with my Roman brothers that’s going to be enough,” Morgan said.