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

Monday 15th August, 2016 | Author: Adrian Alker

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.’ 

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How I fell in love with Modern Church

Thursday 28th July, 2016 | Author: Julian Wood

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.”

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Spiritual but not Religious?

Wednesday 13th July, 2016 | Author: Adrian Alker

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.

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

Monday 11th July, 2016

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’:

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Brian McLaren speaks about his UK tour this October

Monday 11th July, 2016 | Author: Brian McLaren

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. 

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Religion in Crisis - what Crisis?

Tuesday 7th June, 2016

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.

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Letter from a refugee kitchen in Athens

Tuesday 26th April, 2016

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.

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Extremism - a perspective on the religious factor

Friday 1st April, 2016 | Author: Howard Grace

Extremism - a perspective on the religious factor There are many factors which lead people to extremism. Howard Grace considers one of them, the belief that scripture demands they serve God in this way.

Many people in the world, including Muslims, are appalled by the barbaric actions of Daesh. How can people think they are doing this in the name of God?  But this might also make us reflect on what it means when Christians refer to the Bible as the “Word of God”. What kind of God is reflected in passages like Deuteronomy 7, v 1&2.

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Plug-in Christianity and Prayer

Wednesday 3rd February, 2016 | Author: Harry Houldsworth

Plug-in Christianity and Prayer Harry Houldsworth explains why he thinks prayer is still relevant whether or not you believe there is a God. This follows an earlier blog in October 2015 by Raymond Eveleigh.

The subject of prayer opens a major can of worms and many people are frightened of discussing the subject, except among orthodox Christians who are comfortable with prayer and have definite ideas on how prayer works.   I know several Christians in their ‘senior’ years, who are prepared to admit to losing some of their ability to pray in a meaningful way.

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Why beliefs are best kept provisional

Thursday 7th January, 2016

Why beliefs are best kept provisional Ian Gregory, a retired Congregational minister, reminds us of a lesson taught by William James in his famous book, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

New ways of thinking about God are as common now as when theological storms broke over the Church 60 or so years ago.  That was when John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, stirred controversy with his ‘Honest to God’ in 1963. Later the Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, asked further awkward questions for traditional believers. More recently the former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, joined the heretical fray, resigning in disillusion over some traditional beliefs.

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