Falling congregations - a reflection

Falling congregations - a reflection

Pointers from a study of university students identifying as Christians

Challenging ‘Belief’ and the Evangelical Bias: Student Christianity in English Universities by Mathew Guest, Sonya Sharma, Kristin Aune and Rob Warner provides interesting food for thought for any who think liberal Christianity has no future and that the answer lies in firm Evangelicalism. The study shows a significant number of students who self identify as Christians but whose faith is expressed in fluid terms. One reviewer thought the study to show Christian traditions transforming into "wells" rathe than "fenced off" enclosures. 

Such a view seems to me a serious challenge to a current train of thought in the CofE which sees the future in fenced off enclosures of  Christians committed to a particular theological rationale. Certainly of the Christian students in the study only a small minority identified with the usual Christian Union line and that should be a warning against the too easy move to a one size fits all approach. 

The full study report can be found here: Challenging ‘Belief’ and the Evangelical Bias: Student Christianity in English Universities by Mathew Guest, Sonya Sharma, Kristin Aune and Rob Warner

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Business plan for the CofE???

Business plan for the CofE???

In May of this year Martyn Percy, Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, as the "Thy Kingdom Come" prayer campaign got under way, challenged the Church of England's way of mission.

Looking back over the blogs on the PCN website I was struck again by the item of May this year by Martyn Percy, Dean of Christchurch, Oxford. Martyn’s focus at the time was a challenge to the whole "Thy Kingdom Come" prayer campaign getting under way. A campaign that had come to symbolise, for many of us, the wrongheaded attempt to rebrand the Church of England. The Church, I believe, is becoming more managerial in the worst possible way and aggressive PR is part of the package. As Martyn wrote ‘It is like a business doing even more hard selling, with increasing desperation, but unwilling to ask the consumers why they aren’t buying.’

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Change is all there is Evolutionary Theology

Change is all there is Evolutionary Theology

Very Revd Jonathan Draper, former Dean of Exeter, and General Secretary Modern Church, delivered this talk on 14 October 2018 to PCN at Exeter URC

this is a paper about theology, and is not a paper about the relationship between science and religion, and most certainly not a paper about evolution verses creationism or even so-called ‘intelligent design’; neither of those are questions I think are really worth asking. 

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Transatlantic voices: two nations divided by a common language? maybe not ................

Transatlantic voices: two nations divided by a common language? maybe not ................

Progressive voices from the USA worth hearing -

This website will carry news from across the water in order to give some insight into currents of thought in the progressive Christianity in North America. There is a ferment of ideas which can only be beneficial to us over here as well as to the folk over there. Those progressive voices are across Reformed and Catholic faith groups. .   

The Kingdom of Shared Humanity

The Kingdom of Shared Humanity

Howard Grace, a member of PCN Britain, seeks a universal approach which could unite people of all religions and world views without trying to make them all the same

My Palestinian friend, Imad Karam, says that a primary problem in his part of the world is that Palestinians and Israelis are both trapped in their own narratives. I’m sure that this entrapment is true for so many situations, whether with international conflicts, religious affiliations, husband/wife clashes or even football team allegiances which sometimes turn to crowd violence. Is there a universal vision which we humans, with our many different cultures and beliefs, can all buy into? And what are the implications for followers of Jesus?

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Whose kingdom are we building?

Whose kingdom are we building?

As this year's "Thy Kingdom Come" global prayer campaign gets under way, Martyn Percy challenges the Church of England whose archbishops came up with the idea

Starting today, the Church of England joins other Christian communities in ten days of prayer ‘for more people to come to know Jesus Christ’,  In his essay, Martyn Percy calls on the Church of England to reflect on what kind of kingdom it is building, as its focus on charismatic evangelism over the last thirty years risks achieving little and alienating many.  This is a synopsis of his essay which you can read in full here

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A Journey from Believing to Beloving

A Journey from Believing to Beloving

Trevor Dorey was ordained in the Church of England nearly thirty years ago, at the age of sixty. In this article he attempts to shed light on the way-marks of his spiritual journey which have taken him more recently towards the Religious Society of Friends, (Quakers).

The Spiritual Journey is a restlessness of the heart, a solitary search for the roots of our identity, for the Ultimate Reality that gives meaning to all things including our own self.

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Abuse in the Church

Abuse in the Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has been hearing evidence from the Church of England. It has led Adrian Alker, chair of PCN Britain, to reflect on the hierarchical structure of his former employer

In recent years few organisations, secular or religious, have escaped public awareness and media scrutiny in regard to the scandal of sexual abuse perpetrated by their members. The disclosure of abuse in children’s homes, in local authority care, in churches of all denominations across the globe, has brought shame on so many public bodies and institutions. Men and women, abused over many years of childhood, have been brave enough to come forward to tell their harrowing stories.

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What Do Progressive Christians Think of Billy Graham?

What Do Progressive Christians Think of Billy Graham?

This well known American evangelist died last week at the age of 99. Eric Alexander, the editor of Jack Spong's new website, ProgressingSpirit.com, reflects somewhat ruefully on Billy Graham's achievements.

Overall I’m sure Billy Graham was probably a decent and caring person with genuine motives to help the world. But in many ways I think Billy Graham was one of the worst things to happen to Christianity over the past few decades. 

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LGBTQ people welcome? Then say so!

LGBTQ people welcome? Then say so!

PCN Chair, Adrian Alker, calls on all churches which claim to be inclusive, to say so publicly. He shares a parishioner's letter which could be adapted by any church member to persuade their church council to take action.

The United Kingdom has become a remarkably more tolerant and inclusive nation in matters of its citizens’ sexual orientation than we might have envisaged twenty years ago. A Tory government introduced changes in the marriage act to allow same sex marriage. The support of LGBTQ people and the fight against discrimination can be seen throughout the mainstream media, in employment legislation, in greater sensitivity in schools, at FA football grounds and other sporting venues...

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Masculine worship - an unworthy trend

Masculine worship - an unworthy trend

Historian, Robin Bunce, unveils how gender inequality flourishes in churches which embrace a theology of gender complementarianism

This summer, my 14-year-old daughter went to New Day, an annual Christian festival for young people which takes place in Norfolk. At the first session she took out a piece of paper and divided it in two. At the top of one column she wrote ‘Women’, at the top of the other she wrote ‘Men’. As a man took to the stage she put a mark in the ‘Men’ column.

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