The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom, in part, traces its ancestry through Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew who was its first Bishop in Great Britain. The Apostolic Succession of its Bishops can be traced with certainty, Bishop by Bishop, to the early Middle-Ages, beyond which the records of all branches of the Universal Church (Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) become very vague, however, since the Universal Church traces Her succession to Apostolic times we can say the same. This means that our Priest's Orders are valid and, consequently, the Sacraments which they offer are valid sacraments, which help those receiving them toward holiness.
We differ from most Churches, however, in that our Bishops, Priests and Deacons are unpaid, and have to make their own provision for receiving stipend and/or engaging in secular employment in order to support their ministry. In doing so they emulate the Apostles and early believers by receiving payment for the good works they do and by working. Generally, our Priests will minister within their own particular diocesan geographical areas, but with the appropriate Episcopal authority, may exercise a wider role within the United Kingdom. The Provincial Cathedral and Priory Church of St. Thomas, Rugeley, Staffordshire, United Kingdom is based in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside and is a focal point of Sacramental unity. The Archbishop is regarded as ‘Primus inter pares’, the 'first amongst equals', along with the other Bishops who make up the members of the Sacred College.
The Province is divided into two Dioceses, each overseen by a Diocesan Bishop. Priests are supported in establishing Mass Centres, and report to their diocesan on a regular basis. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is guided by the College of Bishops. Counsel is regularly sought from our Religious and senior clergy in order to maintain an open and transparent leadership style. Today, the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is not associated to the Union of Utrecht Old Catholic Churches, for reasons stated in our Canons; like our Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church brothers we subscribe to a male-only Priesthood. All our clergy are at liberty to marry, both before and after Ordination; celibacy remains a free-choice and can be adopted if so desired; continence within the married state may also be voluntarily adopted after Ordination if so desired. The Old Catholic Church in the UK is totally autonomous and independent. All our Bishops hold valid lines of Apostolic Succession and as such are able to offer a totally valid Priesthood to suitable men of high moral standard.