Having received emails and messages not for publication, I need to tread carefully regarding more information on the OEC split. I have, as they say, very good sources.
The Scottish reading of OEC Canon Law and its action is that the diocese can register as a charity and this is what it has done, whereas in the OEC in England and Wales there is more of an Archbishop's Council oversight approach, that is the bishops gathering and agreeing together for the whole OEC.
David Gillham in Scotland thus chose autonomy and a division became a split and this was over matters of ministry. From the Council point of view there is the issue of clergy being able to appeal above the head of the bishop to all of them. The specific dispute was regarding the retreat centre at Luing in Scotland, which the Scottish bishop will not support as it was as, on that account, it was operating outside regulative Scottish laws, over which, in terms of support, the Archbishops Council took a different view. The Scottish removed Luing as functioning from the website once under the new regime, whereas the OEC under the Archbishop's Council have it included under what is claimed is a vancant see. The further issue is David Gillham's retirement and how his successor is to be chosen.
From this dispute and separation comes other priorities on the ground differently worked out. Inevitably such organisations begin together, and then they get wider and wider apart. It leaves the OEC (in England and Wales) without any bishops north of Wales - none in the Midlands and none in the north.
And, in the end, the model has been independent clergy, people who have considerable space around them in regards to how they operate. Personally, I think there is a clash between that independence and space, and all that to do with Nicene Creeds and formalities, which comes about through the idea of having a legitimate apostolic ministry. Another issue is how much that independence is modified by the existence of congregations that may form when there are confessional elements in text and form. How do 'Hedge priests' and 'Sea of Faith' priests perfom then? A passing traffic of rites of passage laity is not the same thing as forming communities on the ground and the understanding that generates among a group. I get the sense that there is more of this in Scotland and that a different more settled model is forming.
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