Meeting Report 2 November 2013

Progressive Christianity Meeting,
Gloucester Branch. Saturday 2nd November 2013
The meeting was a little smaller than in recent times and the hint of new direction with a new convenor was enough to have everyone treading carefully.
Opening with a poem for Remembrance Sunday the invitation to remember is often used in our theological reflecting.
There is a thought that a worship possibility may emerge but there is no desire to be a separatist group. Two main objectives in the meeting was to commence the planning for 2014 and to create opportunities for understanding of our position in PCN in explaining our faith especially to those who are our children . Halloween and the oncoming Christmas traditions can have us floundering and there is a fear of being hypocritical in our interaction with more traditional believers.
The theme for the day was the role of memory in scripture and tradition. In scripture memory plays such an important part as events and actions, words and gestures are conveyed in the texts. The idea that we were being asked to remember stems from the liturgy for holy communion where Jesus at table with his friends calls upon them to remember him through very specific actions. We have then some difficult texts to deal with not least the words of St Paul in the oldest of Christian documents.
There is functional social memory, a dynamic driven by the desire to keep Jesus’ words alive by making them communicate to the present. There is also memory understood as a continual process of commemorative activities. This can be seen to be the grand motivating force of tradition. At a personal level as Frank Godfrey says we are often wanting to create memories for our children and grandchildren.
We could see that other cultures use memory in quite different ways.
It was very clear that for some actions speak louder than words, what Jesus did is so often more important than what he said.

There was an opportunity to reflect on memories of closeness to God in terms of how we remembered those experiences. It was thought that memories are created by what we do. We have to recognise there are changes in the meaning of words therefore literal reflection on memory may contain some challenges.
We are hoping to have Revd Dr John Sutcliffe come and share with us some insights into John’s gospel and a modern Christology.
December 7th is our next meeting and we will have “ The importance of Christmas , its story and how we tell it!.
Eric Massey

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