Hickling, Norfolk Broads Group – "Shoreline"
Shoreline, the name of our local PCN group, is an informal weekly gathering where we meet over tea and biscuits in the relaxed atmosphere of a local member’s home. Members come from a variety of backgrounds and faith experiences, but all have felt a need to explore other new and exciting ways of approaching beliefs (and non-beliefs!).
There is no set format, but we always begin with the opportunity to share our hopes, fears, joys, problems and concerns in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere - what is said in the group stays in the group. This is usually followed by either viewing a DVD, a discussion of a book we might be currently reading, or sometimes just talking about a topical religious or social event which has been in the news. We end the meeting with something one of the members has brought - a reading, a joke or cartoon, a prayer, a newspaper article - whatever.
One of the first books we read as a group was Gretta Vosper’s “With or Without God” - subtitled ‘What we do is more important than what we believe’. That’s been our cornerstone and something to aim for, no matter where the journey leads us. If you would like to join in our journey, we would like to meet you.
Venue & Meeting Times
Shoreline meets every Thursday afternoon from 2-4 at the home of a group member. We feel that a weekly meeting enables us to maintain continuity and a sense of moving forward. In fact, we value these informal weekly get-togethers so much that they have begun to replace the traditional Sunday worship experience for several members. Once a month, we travel to Norwich on a Friday morning to meet with the larger PCN group there.
Our group grew out of a Lent course undertaken in 2009 and the desire to continue to meet together. To that end, we became affiliated with the Progressive Christianity Network. To date we have watched and discussed Living the Questions 2, DreamThinkBeDo, Saving Jesus, Beyond Theology and various other DVDs. Along the way we have shared books and articles by Bishop Jack Spong, Gretta Vosper, Marcus Borg and several others. Members have also attended PCN conference days and weekends, events which reinforce the notion that we are not alone on our journey.
After meeting for several years, we felt we needed to address social justice issues in a practical way, so we currently support the WaterAid project, St Martin’s Housing Trust (at Christmas), and we have introduced a local FoodBank collection programme, which has been very successful. We gather up local donations and take them twice-monthly to the distribution centre in Norwich. There is a real need for this kind of action - there are hungry individuals and families all around us, most of whom we never notice. All of us often ask ourselves “What can I, or our small group, do to help our fellow human beings?” We feel these are small things that can make a big difference, and they fit perfectly into our ethos of ‘what we believe must result in action for justice and peace’.