Independent Sacramental Movement
The Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM) is a loose association of individuals and micro-denominations that are not part of mainstream Christian denominations, like the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches or the Anglican/Episcopal Church. The ISM possesses a broad spectrum of individuals, from those whose beliefs and practices largely resemble those of mainstream denominations, to individuals who practice esoteric Christianity and non-Christian esotericism.
Many groups within the movement originated through schisms from larger denominations, such that they claim apostolic succession and valid sacraments, though such claims are, in some cases, disputed by apologists of mainstream churches. Most clergy within the movement self-identify as autocephalous (self-governing), and some ISM bishops have been pejoratively labeled episcopi vagantes (wandering bishops) by larger denominations. The movement is characterized by a bi-vocational "working clergy," with many clergy who lead few, if any, congregants, and a more flexible or experimental approach to theology, liturgy and organizational structure. The movement includes a spectrum of theologies, ranging from traditionalist groups with conservative expressions, Latin Masses, and a hesitance to self-identify as part of the ISM, to clergy and communities who are open to "sacramental justice”—the sharing of sacraments with all persons, including the sacrament of Holy Orders for women and married persons and the sacrament of Marriage for same-sex couples.
The term Independent Sacramental Movement likely originated in the mid-1970s and was popularized in Bishop John Plummer's 2005 work, The Many Paths of the Independent Sacramental Movement. The more popular term "Independent Catholicism" is best conceived of as a concentric circle within the ISM, along with other "branches" of the movement.
The Independent Sacramental Movement possesses various "branches," including:
- Independent Catholicism
- Independent Orthodoxy
- Independent Anglicanism/Episcopalianism
- Celtic Christian Movement
- Liberal Catholic Church Movement
- Gnostic Movement
- Other Christian Clergy & Churches enjoying Apostolic Succession