News

New PCN group in East Anglia

Tuesday 9th March sees the first meeting of PCN’s new group in Woodbridge.

The new group has been set up with Julie Mansfield as the convener.  She writes: “We would love you to join us as we search for answers, explore spirituality and try to engage with issues which seem to be relevant to the world today.”  Details of the time and place for the meeting can be found at http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/index.php/locations/groups/woodbridge/

News Update from PCN Management Committee

As promised, here is the Management Committee report to the membership following a very full 24-hour residential committee meeting on 16th/17th January.  At the bottom of the letter you will also find notices regarding two significant PCN events this year.

As a response to the developing work and growing membership of PCN-Britain the Management Committee proposes new guidelines for conducting its business in committee. In an attempt to be less agenda-bound and bureaucratic it proposes to delegate more of its research activities and to make greater use of task groups, where appropriate. This will involve a wider circle of members who are willing to offer specific expertise to short term tasks but who do not have the time available to be part of the Management Committee itself. In this way small ‘expert’ advisory groups will be invited to discuss and recommend strategies etc for consideration and decision-making by the Management Committee.

The Constitutional requirement is that the Management Committee, as Trustees of PCN-Britain, remains the decision-making body and therefore research and task groups would report to it either directly or via the officers. Examples of areas in which this proposal can be developed include:

• Strategies to involve more young people in the work and membership of PCN-Britain [NB: two offers of help were received by the Chair prior to the residential].
• As a result of changes in the membership of the Management Committee there is a need for advice on governance issues, hopefully from a member or members of PCN-Britain with relevant experience.

With this increasing workload it was also agreed to make further changes to the work of the Management Committee.  Changes will include an additional face-to-face meeting so that, in future, there will be 6 full Management Committee meetings per year, split equally between north and south. Urgent business to be conducted between the main meetings will be undertaken by the officers [Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer]. These Officer Meetings will be minuted and reported to the next full Management Committee meeting.

Although conducting Committee business by email is tempting, it was agreed that this should be avoided as much as possible. It was also agreed that all future Management Committee meetings should begin with a short time of “open space” rather than to go straight into a very full business agenda. As far as Governance issues were concerned the Management Committee agreed:

• Following their resignations from the Management Committee, members expressed thanks to Hugh Dawes and Jill Sandham for all the work they had done in establishing and leading the development of PCN-Britain. It also noted the recent resignation of the Treasurer, Duncan Craig and again expressed its thanks for the major contribution that Duncan had made to the development of the financial systems of PCN-Britain.
• At the elections held at the annual residential meeting, members of the Management Committee re-elected John Churcher as Chair. Mary McMahon was elected as Deputy Chair and John Hetherington as Secretary and Webmaster.
• Two co-options were confirmed, that of Sue O’Hare from Wales and Terence Cooper from East Anglia, both developing regions of PCN-Britain. Additionally Terence was elected as Treasurer and he will bring additional expertise to the role.

Other decisions included the adoption of a new policy on confidentiality. There was also consideration given to the increasing workload of the Assistant Secretary / Administrator and it was agreed that this should be reviewed by the Treasurer and Chair who will both report back to March Management Committee meeting.  The Publications Project, in collaboration with partner organisations under the ‘Together in Hope’ logo will continue with a new series of booklets with first working titles: Children and faith; Myths and Story-telling; Discipleship; Christmas; Prayer/Spirituality; Ethics; Interfaith. The plan is to produce 3 or 4 publications in 2010.

The Management Committee was delighted to be informed that 1100 people had attended the PCN-Britain / Jack Spong 2009 tour of UK. Partly as a result of Jack’s tour PCN-Britain membership has recently grown by around 60.

The proposed changes to the operational work of the Management Committee are being made to ensure that continued growth can be successfully accommodated and that members receive increasing levels of support via the Newsletter; local, regional and national events, for example Marcus Borg in Edinburgh in September, and a list of speakers likely to be interested in addressing Regional Conferences will be produced; a group convenors’ conference in the autumn; presence with partner organisations at major festivals such as Greenbelt and working towards a collaborative major convention of Progressive Christians. We will also purchase 2-3 copies of all the Living the Questions titles for loan to local groups.

The development of the website is a major commitment. Its resources will include progressive liturgy/hymns and recommended books (with member reviews where possible).  The new “Starting a Local Group” leaflet will be available on-line along with a download of a longer guide to launching a group.  The new Group Convenors’ Resource is already up and running on the PCN Web Forum pages. An additional development will be the launch of our own Facebook site.

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of the work of PCN-Britain. These really are exciting times of growth for our partner organisations and for us. Do let us have your comments on these proposals and any offers of help/expertise/speaking offers, etc so that the work can continue to develop and progress for the benefit of us all.

Best wishes
The Management Committee

Notice of two PCN Events

Being Christian in the 21st Century

In September, PCN-Britain will host a weekend conference in Edinburgh led by the well known theologian Marcus Borg.  Perhaps, more than any other writer, Marcus Borg, has become the mouthpiece of progressive Christian thought.  His books include Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew and The Heart of Christianity.  This is a chance to hear at length the gentle, well argued presentations for which Borg is already well known, through the Living the Questions DVDs.  The conference weekend is Friday 10th – Sunday 12th September.  Book early as tickets are going quickly, especially for the Friday evening, for which numbers are limited.  The conference and booking details are to be found at http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/index.php/events/detail/being_christian_in_the_21st_century/

Jesus of Nazareth in 2010

This year’s PCN weekend residential workshop at St Deiniol’s, in May, is led by Professor David Catchpole, well known for books such as The Quest for Q, Resurrection People and Jesus People.  We will look at the historical affirmations about Jesus in the Christian creeds, and try to fill in some of the space left where those creeds say nothing at all.  And with an eye to the question of whether Jesus can be viewed as the founder of Christianity, we shall ask whether the religion of the carpenter’s son was truly that of Paul, the Roman tentmaker, and vice versa.  The weekend is 21st – 23rd May.  More details and the booking form can be found at http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/index.php/events/detail/jesus_of_nazareth_in_2010/