Marriage and same sex relationships

Marriage and same sex relationships

Pre-occupation with who is allowed to marry has led us to ignore a much more significant issue - the side-lining of marriage itself, says Harry Houldsworth

Adrian Alker, the chair of PCN Britain, is to be applauded for his criticism of the House of Bishops Report on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships. My only reservation is that, once again, a single issue has been permitted to deflect attention from the fact that marriage in any form has been under sustained political and legal attack for many decades. The highly emotive language used in this latest debate is doing little to stop the institution of marriage being further undermined…

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Philip North was right to withdraw as Bishop of Sheffield

Philip North was right to withdraw as Bishop of Sheffield

The experience of this flawed appointment should be a test case that ends the ongoing prejudice and discrimination in the Church of England, says PCN Britain chair, Adrian Alker

I very much welcome the gracious decision of Bishop Philip North to withdraw his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Sheffield. This has doubtless been a painful process for him as well as the many women and men in the diocese of Sheffield who opposed his nomination. It is to be hoped that Philip North’s ministry in the Blackburn Diocese will continue to flourish…

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It’s a Man’s Church

It’s a Man’s Church

Rhian Taylor charts the ebb and flow of empathy for Philip North over his aborted appointment as Bishop of Sheffield.

After considerable controversy Rev Phillip North resigned from his forthcoming appointment as the Bishop of Sheffield. This was due to criticism that as a member of Forward in Faith and The Society, organisations that don’t accept women priests and bishops, he would not be able to adequately support the clergy in Sheffield, a third of whom are women. The immediate response to his resignation seems to be a call to greater tolerance and a concern that this response has not shown enough tolerance to those of a traditional perspective…

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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?

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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….

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.”

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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.

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