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?  

Continue Reading »

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....

Continue Reading »

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?”

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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.”

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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...

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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’

Continue Reading »

Theology versus Sex

Theology versus Sex

In the lead letter of today's Guardian, PCN chair, Adrian Alker, while paying tribute to the late Bishop David Jenkins, also calls for less preoccupation with sexuality in the Church of England and more honest debate about theology.

Two Anglican bishops in the news: a report that the former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, has died aged 91 managed to make at least the Guardian online (Report, 4 September); but it was the present bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, who succeeded in making it into print (Business as usual for bishop’s first sermon since coming out, 5 September). Sex has always trumped theology when it comes to selling newspapers.

Continue Reading »

Three appreciations of Bishop David Jenkins

Three appreciations of Bishop David Jenkins

Bishop David Jenkins died last Sunday. This blog contains tributes from three admirers in his former diocese of Durham.

When David Jenkins lectured, his speaking speed was like an express train. It was often hard to take in what he had just said that challenged, enthused, encouraged or enlightened me before he was off on the next thought of significance. He was in the tradition of scholar bishops of Durham such as Lightfoot, Henson, Ramsey and Ramsay – but he was very much a one-off.

Continue Reading »

Why I wrote The Great Spiritual Migration

Why I wrote The Great Spiritual Migration

On the eve of his UK tour, Brian McLaren writes about the title of his new book, a theme which he will develop in eight locations around Britain in October.

The human story is a tale of people in motion. 

Anthropologists tell us that our ancient ancestors lived in southern Africa some two hundred thousand years ago, but it didn’t take long before many began migrating north, eventually crossing into the Middle East. Some then migrated west across Europe and others moved east across Asia. And that, we know, was just the beginning.

Continue Reading »

What must the Church of England do to stop its decline?

What must the Church of England do to stop its decline?

Twenty years ago, those who had no religious interest would often describe themselves as CofE when questioned about their faith allegiance. That has changed; such people are now far more likely to opt for the ‘no religion’ category.

Writing in the Church Times (Jun 17th 2016), Canon Alan Billings puts this trend down to widespread disillusion with the Church of England, fuelled by its attitude to homosexual partnerships and its poor record on child abuse.  He calls on the church’s leaders and members to take time to listen to those of ‘no religion’. ‘In truth we known next to nothing about them.’ 

Continue Reading »

How I fell in love with Modern Church

How I fell in love with Modern Church

Julian writes about how he found his way to PCN's partner organisation Modern Church.

Mark 12:31, The Message

29-31 Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

Continue Reading »

Spiritual but not Religious?

Spiritual but not Religious?

PCN chair, Adrian Alker argues that churches should forgo their love of unbelievable creeds and set rituals. He calls on religious leaders to focus on practice rather than belief. In this way they might reconnect with the increasing numbers who claim to be spiritual but not religious.

This article was first published in Sofia 120 (June 2016), the journal of Sea of Faith. Reprinted with permission.

Churches in the United Kingdom, as elsewhere in much of Western Europe and North America, face an accelerating loss of members.

Continue Reading »

After Brexit - Can we find a broad and middle way?

After Brexit - Can we find a broad and middle way?

As the UK faces an uncertain future, and its two major political parties hold internal contests for their leadership, a senior Anglican professor claims that the need for a new, progressive social-democratic political party ‘has never been more urgent’.

The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, has made the claim in an article published on the website of Modern Church, a society promoting liberal Christianity, of which he is a Vice President.

In the essay, called After Brexit - Can we find a broad and middle way?, Prof Percy notes the absence from the debate preceding the EU Referendum of words such as ‘community’ and ‘union’:

Continue Reading »

Brian McLaren speaks about his UK tour this October

Brian McLaren speaks about his UK tour this October

In this video Brian McLaren explains why the church needs to stop being protective of its nostalgia and to start dealing with the way religious institutions have contributed to division and strife. In the end, he says, justice, joy, peace and the Holy Spirit are what matter.

Brian McLaren will be speaking in Harrogate on Saturday October 15th.  This is the last of eight venues, starting in London on Saturday October 8th. 

Continue Reading »

Religion in Crisis - what Crisis?

Religion in Crisis - what Crisis?

PCN Trustee, Tony Rutherford, dreams up a new vision of religion in general and of the Church of England in particular based on a conference in 2015 led by Linda Woodhead, Professor of the Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University.

In July last year, I attended an exhilarating weekend at Gladstone’s Library. We were about 30 people including self professed heretics, non-conformists, retired and active priests and lay people.  Linda began by suggesting that religion is like a three legged stool. One leg is the everyday life, one is ritual and the third is a belief system or narrative.  All three need to be present or the stool fails.  The word Crisis of the conference title is offered to mean a breaking point - as in a fever - or a point of transition. In Britain, the Crisis is formed of diminishing church membership and attendance, to the point where non-Christians now outnumber Christians. At the same time, atheism is not growing - less than half those who say they are “non-religious” are atheists.

Continue Reading »

Letter from a refugee kitchen in Athens

Letter from a refugee kitchen in Athens

PCN member, Bob Harvey has volunteered to get personally involved in helping refugees. He helps to prepare meals which are then distributed each evening in the city's Victoria Square.

Two new volunteers appeared at our store-room this morning: a girl from Denmark and another from Switzerland. They had been working on a project on Lesvos, and most of their group had transferred the operation to Athens where the need has been increasing.

Continue Reading »

Page 1 of 6

123 Last