January
New progressive group in South London

New progressive group in South London

Your chance to be in at the start of a new progressive Christian group forming in Balham

Are you a Christian with progressive theological views who feels a need for discussion in a safe place where no one is going to condemn you for your beliefs? After a few years with no group in South London nearer than Richmond, one of our members is about to start a new one. The first meeting will be in Balham, SW12, on Tuesday 26th November at 7.30pm. PCN members, and others who are sympathetic to PCN aims and concerns, are all welcome. For further details please contact Jane Westland: janewestland@yahoo.co.uk; tel. 0208 772 1937.

If Richmond is closer for you, then have a look at their webpages.

Image credits - description: Broad-bosomed, bold, becalmed, benign; Stands Bal-Ham, four square on the Northern Line. Matched by no marvel save in Eastern scene; A rose-red city, half as Gold as Green. 27 January 2006, Uploaded to Wikimedia Commmons by Oxyman, Author - Mike Knell from Zürich, Switzerland

How to find religious and spiritual talking books

How to find religious and spiritual talking books

Robin Story, a PCN trustee who is visually impaired, has kindly provided contacts for two sources of progressive Christian talking books which are available via the web.

The following titles are available as talking books for those who have sight loss and/or are print disabled,

1. Calibre Audio Library, New Road, Weston Turville, AYLESBURY, HP22 5XQ. Tel: 01296 432339

Note: The Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free service of unabridged audio books for adults and children with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print. There is a one-off joining fee of £35 (£20 for Young Calibre).

Birthday wishes on the Greenbelt tree

Birthday wishes on the Greenbelt tree

At Greenbelt this year, PCN and our partners erected a large plywood cut-out tree, on which Festival goers were invited to hang a wish or prayer for the world, for the church or for Christianity. PCN volunteer Nicola Phelan has been collating the results.

There were 271 messages from all ages and I've arranged them into themes reflecting their different concerns and hopes. Each section is illustrated with a few typical quotes. Incidentally, we loved the pictures from our younger contributors.

Christian Shorts

Christian Shorts

PCN member, Tony Raine, is offering some dramatic stories to illustrate gospel themes for use in churches and youth groups.

Tony Raine writes: This book evolved gradually. Many of the stories were originally sketches and may be found in a collection of 135 sketches published by Lulu under the title 'What do you Think?' Realising that many people are less happy about reading stories in play format, I started to convert my favourites into ordinary short stories. It began with a smaller collection of 24 stories, then was expanded, eventually to 50, and questions were added.

Chair's Update for August 2013

Chair's Update for August 2013

PCN Britain's new chair, Angela Smith, has filed her first chair's update, a bi-monthly circular sent to all PCN members

August 2013

In taking on the chair’s role from John Churcher I am conscious of his positive and affirming impact on the shape, size and scope of the network, which is truly remarkable. We owe him an incalculable vote of thanks for all that he has done for PCN during his time in the Chair. Looking to the future, I hope to be able to facilitate further the growing call to reflect the broadening perspective seen within PCN, which includes an extension beyond church-going members and a growing interfaith awareness.

Lost Certainties

Lost Certainties

PCN Britain is pleased to be able to offer this recent publication at a reduced price.

In this new publication, through the medium of essays and letters to friends, Brian Wilson seeks to give an account of the evolution of his own faith and explores the dilemma, which he shares with many modern Christians, of how to reconcile a rational and educated modern mind with the largely mythological faith still propagated by the traditional Church. He makes no claim to having the answers. But he firmly believes that if those who are sympathetic to the Christian faith can bring themselves to recognise those elements of faith which modern scientific knowledge and biblical scholarship have rendered untenable to the modern mind, it will help them to rediscover the true value of the teaching of the historical Jesus of Nazareth, who was transformed by centuries of theological argument into the Christ of Faith. Religion, he argues, is not just an intellectual construct; but without a solid rational basis, it is as a house built upon sand.

Visiting speaker from Australia arrives this week

Visiting speaker from Australia arrives this week

PCN Britain is pleased to welcome Dr Val Webb, a leading writer and speaker on progressive Christianity on her début tour of the UK.

​Val Webb has written ten books and taught at theological colleges in the US and Australia. She has recently revised and extended her first book, In Defence of Doubt and it is to elaborate on this theme that she has been invited to the UK.

Further interest: Val Webb's blog on this website. Links to details of all ten tour events are at the bottom of the blog

The Woolwich murder and its aftermath

The Woolwich murder and its aftermath

PCN Britain is pleased to reproduce this statement from the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

We learned with deep shock and great sadness of the murder of a young member of the armed forces in Woolwich yesterday afternoon. Such acts of violence and terror have no place in our society.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family.

The attackers linked their actions with the religion of Islam. Statements from major national Muslim bodies have, in the ensuing hours, condemned the act in the strongest terms and stressed its lack of connection to – and complete contradiction of – teachings of Islam. Even so, there have been attacks on two mosques over the course of the last 24 hours and concerns expressed about the possibility of further attack.

Our thoughts and prayers are also with any whose places of worship or personal safety are affected.

New PCN group launches in St Albans

New PCN group launches in St Albans

The chair of PCN Britain, John Churcher, was the guest speaker at the launch of the fifty-fifth group in the PCN network of affiliated groups.

32 people attended the launch which took place at Trinity URC church in St Albans. John Churcher spoke about John Robinson's book, Honest to God, published in 1963, and the state of Christianity fifty years on. The discussion groups which followed were described at animated. The convenor of the St Albans group is Leonora Jagessar. leonora.jagessar@pcnbritain.org.uk More about the St Alban's group. A map to help you find a group near you.

Being Honest to God

Being Honest to God

A conference celebrating 50 years of "Honest to God". Jointly sponsored by Modern Church and the Progressive Christianity Network Britain. Tickets now available

The book by Bishop John Robinson that caused a furore in 1963 is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. The bishop knew it would be heavily criticised, but thought in time it would seem he had not been radical enough. Her wrote in the preface of the first edition:

'What I have tried to say, in a tentative and exploratory way, may seem to be radical, and doubtless to many heretical. The one thing of which I am fairly sure is that, in retrospect, it will be seen to have erred in not being nearly radical enough'.

Transcendent Vocation: Why gay clergy tolerate hypocrisy

Transcendent Vocation: Why gay clergy tolerate hypocrisy

Sarah Maxwell's book is a tribute to the sticking power of gay clergy in the Church of England, as they face continued hypocrisy and negativity from their employers.

This book is based on interviews with gay clergy within the Church of England, who speak of their beliefs and their experiences at the hands of the church authorities. Further data comes from interviews with non-gay clergy, now retired, who have witnessed the years from 1967 – 2007 in which the secular world has given gay people so many more equal rights. The author concludes that the Church of England has shown ever growing subterfuge in its attempt to maintain the unequal treatment of gay priests. At the same time she discovers a remarkable devotion from gay clergy who put up with all manner of discrimination in order to fulfil their vocation.
Same-sex marriages in church

Same-sex marriages in church

The Progressive Christianity Network Britain warmly welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister David Cameron concerning his support for single sex marriage in those churches and other religious communities which wish to celebrate them.

​Members of this Network have overwhelmingly endorsed a request that this religious freedom be available to those who wish to exercise it. There is no desire on our part to force this on those religious groups which do not wish to celebrate same sex marriages.

Dazzling Darkness

Dazzling Darkness

Readers are invited to attend the launch of this new book by the resident poet of Manchester Cathedral. She has discovered that darkness is as much a positive place as a negative one, inhabited by the Living God – the Dark God, the Hidden God

​Rachel Mann is an Anglican Priest. Her book, Dazzling Darkness is a true story about searching for one’s authentic self in the company of the Living God. Rachel Mann has died many ‘deaths’ in the process, not the least of which was a change of sex, as well as coming to terms with chronic illness and disability.

Joint letter to the House of Bishops - Women Bishops

In a joint letter with St Mark’s CRC, Modern Church and Inclusive Church, PCN expresses regret that the House of Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England failed to reach the two-thirds majority required to pass legislation enabling women to be ordained Bishop and urge them to support the recommendation of the Archbishops’ Council to put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year.

We, the undersigned, deeply regret that the House of Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England failed to reach the two-thirds majority required to pass legislation enabling women to be ordained Bishop.

Church of England Rejects Women Bishops

In this statement issued after the vote in the Church of England Synod, PCN Britain expresses its regret that women priests are not to be given the opportunity to become bishops.

​The Progressive Christianity Network Britain deeply regrets that the Synod of the Church of England was unable to agree to a way in which it could accept women as bishops, against the advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Archbishop-designate. Other provinces of the Anglican church have found a way to do so and been enriched by the ministry of both male and female bishops. Other churches in Britain have for some years had women in leadership roles, and benefited greatly from doing so.

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