Recent Blogs

Politicians and Religious Faith

Politicians and Religious Faith

PCN chair, Adrian Alker, challenges the idea that being a politician and a faithful Christian are incompatible.

The resignation of Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democratic party, citing the impossibility of reconciling his position with also being a ‘faithful Christian’, has set a number of hares running around this field of faith and political allegiance. What might members of the Progressive Christian Network make of this?

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Manchester attack

Manchester attack

What has Christianity to say to a grieving nation and families overwhelmed by grief? The chair of PCN Britain, Adrian Alker, offers this commentary.

The atrocious and heartbreaking attack at Manchester Arena has left us all shocked, saddened and, yes, angry, at the loss of so many young lives. Of course we read and see via the media similar outrages across the world. A few days after the tragic event in Manchester, a similar number of children – all Coptic Christians –were killed by Islamic extremists in Egypt, where the minority Christian population lives in fear.  But Manchester, a drive away, brings home the horror of such murderous ideology of Isis and associated terrorist groups.

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Marriage and same sex relationships

Marriage and same sex relationships

Pre-occupation with who is allowed to marry has led us to ignore a much more significant issue - the side-lining of marriage itself, says Harry Houldsworth

Adrian Alker, the chair of PCN Britain, is to be applauded for his criticism of the House of Bishops Report on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships.  My only reservation is that, once again, a single issue has been permitted to deflect attention from the fact that marriage in any form has been under sustained political and legal attack for many decades. The highly emotive language used in this latest debate is doing little to stop the institution of marriage being further undermined...

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Philip North was right to withdraw as Bishop of Sheffield

Philip North was right to withdraw as Bishop of Sheffield

The experience of this flawed appointment should be a test case that ends the ongoing prejudice and discrimination in the Church of England, says PCN Britain chair, Adrian Alker

I very much welcome the gracious decision of Bishop Philip North to withdraw his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Sheffield. This has doubtless been a painful process for him as well as the many women and men in the diocese of Sheffield who opposed his nomination. It is to be hoped that Philip North’s ministry in the Blackburn Diocese will continue to flourish...

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It’s a Man’s Church

It’s a Man’s Church

Rhian Taylor charts the ebb and flow of empathy for Philip North over his aborted appointment as Bishop of Sheffield.

After considerable controversy Rev Phillip North resigned from his forthcoming appointment as the Bishop of Sheffield.   This was due to criticism that as a member of Forward in Faith and The Society, organisations that don’t accept women priests and bishops, he would not be able to adequately support the clergy in Sheffield, a third of whom are women. The immediate response to his resignation seems to be a call to greater tolerance and a concern that this response has not shown enough tolerance to those of a traditional perspective... 

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Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday

In this sermon, John Churcher, former chair of PCN Britain, encourages church going Christians to act like mothers, making sacrifices in order to nurture the future of the Church.

Being a mother is not easy. Mothers usually want the very best for their children and they will sacrifice even their own self and their own life to protect and to nurture their children and provide a better future for them than they themselves have experienced.  Surely, that is also what we should be doing for the Christian Church today,  sacrificing many of the words that remains precious to us to protect and to nurture the future of the Church in an increasingly secular world?  

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How I Become a Heretic - with help from Jesus

How I Become a Heretic - with help from Jesus

The title of this blog is the title of a PCN conference that Robin Meyers will be leading in Bristol in May. Here he sheds some light on his spiritual journey.

I was a tow-headed twelve-year-old preacher’s kid and Sunday school was not optional. My teacher was Mr. Nigh, a salt-of-the-earth but slightly grim Calvinist holding forth in a stuffy classroom at the Riverside Church of Christ in Wichita, Kansas. He was teaching us about forgiveness, expounding on Peter’s question to Jesus in Matthew 18:21 about how many times a person should be expected to forgive another person before the warranty runs out. My mind was elsewhere....

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A parting of the ways?

A parting of the ways?

As we move away from more orthodox ideas of a paternal, interventionist God, is it inevitable that progressive Christians will set up their own churches? Harry Houldsworth makes a plea for this not to happen.

How do you define “God” and does it matter?  “Which God?” many progressive Christians may reply.  “Do you mean the supernatural, interventionist God?  Or do you mean God as the Ground of our Being, as advocated by Tillich and his supporters?  Or do you see God simply as Love?  Or is it a female or genderless version you want to define?”

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Attending an Interfaith Forum

Attending an Interfaith Forum

This is the third of three articles for Interfaith Week, written by PCN members. The author, Nicola Phelan, offers some reflections on her local interfaith forum in Rugby.

I came to live in Rugby in 1997 but worked elsewhere. Having met Christians of a progressive frame of mind a PCN group started. When an interfaith forum was formed in 1999 I began attending meetings and linked events when possible. This seemed a natural thing to do from my faith perspective.

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Interfaith Orthopraxy

Interfaith Orthopraxy

This is the second of three articles for Interfaith Week written by PCN members. Its author, Howard Grace from Newbury, is co-founder of the West Berkshire Peace and Integration Forum. 

In this year’s Reith Lecture Kwame Anthony Appiah said,

“We all know the word “orthodoxy”: it comes from a Greek word that means correct belief. But there’s a less familiar word, “orthopraxy” which comes from another Greek word ‘praxis’, which means action.”

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Pluralism, the will of God

Pluralism, the will of God

This is the first of three articles for Interfaith Week written by PCN members. Its author, Alan Race from south London has written books about Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Pluralism. 

One meaning of the term ‘globalisation’ is that we are being brought into contact with one another – as individuals, tribes, cultures, religions – as never before. In my newspaper recently, there were stories with Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish references.

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Women, Theology, and St Julian of Norwich

Women, Theology, and St Julian of Norwich

Harry Houldsworth pays tribute to two female authors, separated by over six hundred years, who have given him a sense that there may be a feminine approach to faith.

I don’t know how many members of PCN Britain saw the superb documentary about St Julian of Norwich, shown on BBC4 in July of this year. The title was: The search for the lost Manuscript: Julian of Norwich. It was presented by Dr Janina Ramirez...

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Where do you score on the Gretta Vosper heresy scale?

Where do you score on the Gretta Vosper heresy scale?

The credal trial of the Gretta Vosper, the rebel Canadian cleric, has highlighted a difference in tone between progressive Chistianity and traditional Christendom.

Canadian minister, Revd Gretta Vosper, looks increasingly likely to be defrocked on theological grounds.  The Toronto regional conference of the United Church of Canada has decided that she is not suitable to continue as a minister of the church at West Hill in Toronto city.  Her case will now go before a formal panel of the church’s national General Council.

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Spiritual practices and the art of soul nurturing

Spiritual practices and the art of soul nurturing

Kaitlyn Steele Steele offers an appreciation of Fully Awake and Truly Alive by Jane Vennard.

‘I have come to think of myself as a practicing Christian rather than a believing Christian. This renaming has liberated me from the struggle of agonizing over what I believe and has allowed me to turn my attention and my energy to the practices of other traditions as well as my own. This variety of spiritual practices has helped me to understand and experience what I believe to be the core teaching of Christianity - what it means to be human and truly alive.‘

Jane Vennard, Extract from ‘Fully Awake and Truly Alive’

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