Notes from our meeting on Monday 9 January 2017

1) During a discussion these are some of the remarks that struck me. First there were reports of varied experiences over Christmas: many valued the atmosphere, the ’ music ’ or the narrative, but some found little of value in the way services were conducted. One exception was related: a service which gave scope for critical views of what could be said about the original events.

My carol service: emphasis on the shepherds, real people (perhaps our representatives?) and the angels (perhaps part of their world view, but no longer ours).

2) Recent events, something of a trauma for some. Underlines the importance of really listening to one another. Christianity must have a contribution to make in a ‘post-truth’ political situation. There is a need to shape a vision of the future and further the discussion of ideas. (Here is where PCN has an opportunity to be active).

3) Appreciative comments about our meetings were made: an open atmosphere where ideas can be freely expressed and exchanged; open but critical. Here ideas are taken seriously, and a shared responsibility to develop them.

4) Format of future meetings discussed. Time given to discussion will vary according to the urgency felt. Evening meetings would give those who work during the day a chance to attend. Perhaps this would entail setting up a separate group? A short series of evening meetings perhaps studying a book might be appropriate to encourage younger members. This might become self sufficient /independent of this group. There was interest in a shared meeting with other groups. Summer meetings could take the form of a series dedicated to an important theme or issue. Small groups discussions had some support, although not everyone found them useful.

5) Possible themes for future gatherings: e.g. ‘is “evangelical liberalism” an oxymoron?’ Feminist theology was suggested as overdue. John Churcher’s recent lectures (printed form available) might spark interest.

6) Further action, arising from asking what effect is PCN having on Church congregations: review a book for church magazine. Bring a book you have read to a future meeting and be prepared to talk about it to introduce discussion. Michael Hell offered to circulate a list of books he found useful.

7) We thought that publishing a six-monthly programme for the group would be helpful.

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