January
Is a Radical Church Possible? by Adrian Alker

Is a Radical Church Possible? by Adrian Alker

In his new book, PCN's Britain's chair, Adrian Alker, argues that churches should listen to the radical voices within. Far from undermining the institution, they offer the churches' best hope of survival.

Mainstream Christian denominations are facing critical decline in the UK. Church leaders call for new strategies for growth but will these be effective? In this book, Adrian Alker calls for an honest look at the life of Jesus and the faith of the Church and suggests a radical and more honest reshaping of the churches to enable them to face the challenges of the present day.
An opportunity to work for Gladstone's Library

An opportunity to work for Gladstone's Library

The Library aims to create an inclusive and ecumenical community and resource. There are currently vacancies for volunteer chaplains and library interns

The Library is situated in Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF. The closing dates for these vacancies are 14th and 15th February 2016, respectively.

Reception hours are 8:30am until 5:00pm seven days a week. Phone: 01244 532350. Email: enquiries@gladlib.org. The email addresses for applications are given below, following each job description.

The rest of this entry has been written by Gladstone's Library

New progressive Christian discussion group launches in County Durham

New progressive Christian discussion group launches in County Durham

Halfway between Darlington and Barnard Castle and just 10 minutes from the A1, this new group starts meeting next week in the village of Gainford

The new group in Gainford is being launched on Tuesday 2nd February by Neil Russell, a retired priest and former Honorary Canon of Lincoln. It arises out of interest expressed by non Christians in the village as well as local church members. The group is to be called QF (Questions of faith) and will introduce members to progressive theology, with the help of DVDs and speakers. The first meeting is at 4, The Padocks, Gainford, DL2 3GA and starts at 7.30pm.

Inclusive words need to be matched with inclusive actions

Inclusive words need to be matched with inclusive actions

In a letter to the Church Times, the leaders of Inclusive Church, Modern Church and PCN Britain are calling on the Bishops of the Church of England to be proactive in reaching out to the LGBTI community.

Dear Sir,

In the statement following their meeting, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have expressed their profound sorrow for the deep hurt caused within the Church towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation and they affirm that God’s love for every human being is the same regardless of their sexuality....

Marianne Borg to speak at the Diana Butler Bass conference

Many of you have already booked for the special one day event on May 14th at the Church at Carrs Lane in Birmingham in honour of Marcus Borg, when our guest speaker is Diana Butler Bass, but we are also to be honoured by the presence of Marianne Borg, Marcus's widow.

Marianne, an Episcopalian priest is setting up a foundation to continue the work of Marcus and she would like to come to the UK and meet many of us who have been influenced and inspired by Marcus’s writings.

This is a great honour to have her present and she will also be speaking about her hopes for the foundation. Marianne and Diana are clearly close friends and it is Diana who has let me know of Marianne’s intentions. Marianne will be travelling over 4,800 miles to meet us. I hope you might be able to make the rather shorter journey to Birmingham on that day, so that together we can offer not only our condolences but also our gratitude to Marianne for all that Marcus was and said and wrote.

Tickets for the event are available in the PCN Britain shop. Finding God in the World - A Spiritual Revolution

Gay Anglicans and the Primates' Meeting

Gay Anglicans and the Primates' Meeting

You are invited to sign retrospectively the open letter which was sent last week by 105 senior Anglicans to the English Archbishops urging them to take the lead in trying to end the second class treatment given to gay Christians.

You can add your name retrospectively to the list of signatories to the Open Letter by going to the special website set up for this purpose. (Putting your name in the comment section below will not achieve this purpose.)

This is the text of the letter with the original 105 signatories

New PCN group launches in West Sussex

New PCN group launches in West Sussex

The first meeting will be in February 2016 in The Chapel at Billingshurst

Thursday February 4th sees the start of a second PCN group in West Sussex. The Billingshurst group will meet on the first Thursday of every month in ‘The Chapel at Billingshurst’ at 8pm.

At their inaugural meeting the group will discuss PCN’s Eight Points, newly revised in 2015, and also look at different approaches to meditation. The meeting will endeavour draft out plans for future meetings depending on the interests of those present. The convenor, Stuart Coupe, says the group is open to all.

Chair's Update December 2015

Chair's Update December 2015

In December's update PCN Chair, Adrian Alker, looks ahead to 2016 and outlines the varied conferences and events that are planned.

Christmas 2015

As you will have read in the current edition of Progressive Voices, we have appointed Gareth Hexter as our treasurer and we have co-opted him as a new trustee. The trustees met for 24 hours at the Hayes conference centre in Swanwick Derbyshire in November and it is heart-warming to have such a dedicated group of trustees working on behalf of PCN.

I am also delighted that Sarah Guilfoyle, our present administrative assistant has accepted the invitation of the trustees to take over the reins of administrator after Andy retires from that role and I will be finalising arrangements with Sarah in the New Year. We shall however need someone to take the minutes of the trustees meetings from June 2016. We meet four times a year. PCN will pay the full expenses of someone who might feel able to support the network in such work. Could that be you?

Hope for the Future.  Take Action on Climate Change

Hope for the Future. Take Action on Climate Change

Michael Bayley explains why he's started a website to help churches to lobby their local politicians about the need to take action on climate change.

Humankind has an uncanny ability to ignore what we do not want to hear, especially if it requires decisive and radical action which is exactly what is needed now to grapple with climate change.

Is there anything the churches can do about it? The fundamental problems are not technical, however formidable they may be. They are political, moral and religious. The situation is not beyond hope.

Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology

Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology

Noel Preston, of the Uniting Church of Australia, reviews the latest book by Australian author Val Webb

Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology may well be the best volume to come from Val Webb's prolific key pad - and that is quite a rap! Her primary audience is the inquiring lay person. In Val's own words, she “wrote this book because I meet so many people that either know very little about the development of theology within their church tradition; or else have left their church because what they hear there makes little sense to them, or is even harmful to them. Like Richard Dawkins' attacks on Christianity, they only know one version and have no idea that theology has actually changed considerably over the centuries and keeps on changing.(p.1)”
PCN Trustees send letter of support to Canadian minister on heresy trial

PCN Trustees send letter of support to Canadian minister on heresy trial

PCN is concerned about the wish to put doctrinal boundaries around what constitutes good leadership in the church. PCN holds that the way we behave towards others is the fullest expression of our faith. We applaud the Christian work that Gretta Vosper is doing in her church and we are not offended that she rejects traditional concepts of God.

Dear Gretta

The trustees and many members of PCN Britain received the news that the Toronto Conference of the United Church has ordered that you be reviewed due to concerns over the effectiveness of your ministry with real sadness and dismay.

PCN launches the Marcus Borg Memorial Fund

PCN launches the Marcus Borg Memorial Fund

In the latest edition of Progressive Voices, the chair of PCN Britain, Adrian Alker, appeals for donations towards a series of annual lectures in honour of a remarkable teacher and friend of PCN who died this year.

In tribute to the life and work of Marcus Borg, the trustees of PCN Britain have decided to set up a new memorial fund which will be used to underpin financially a series of annual lectures in Marcus’s honour and we invite all our members and friends to make a donation to the Marcus Borg Memorial Fund.

Creed?

Creed?

Have your say on whether PCN's Eight Points are a help or a hindrance to open Christianity. One of our trustees fears they read too much like a creed.

Adrian Alker, PCN Britain's chair of the trustees, introduces this open letter from Pat Fuller, one of our a newly elected trustees. It first appeared in the September 2015 edition of Progressive Voices

Adrian writes: From the beginning PCN Britain adopted the Eight Points of The Centre for Progressive Christianity (TCPC) in the USA. PCN Britain made a slight change to the Eight Points at its inception and after consulting our membership a more major change in September 2014. Whilst the trustees never intended that these Eight Points should be seen as anything more than a signpost, showing our direction of travel as an organisation, clearly some members feel anxious that such points might be felt to be coercive of thought and practice.

The trustees feel minded at present to hold on to the importance of having the Eight Points as an expression of the Christian life but welcome Pat’s letter as we continuously review our work. Your comments on Pat's letter would be welcome. Adrian Alker, chair.

After the Fountain - Poetry and Faith

After the Fountain - Poetry and Faith

In this report on PCN Britain's 2015 spring conference in London, Tony Rutherford reflects on the message and the wit imparted by our speaker, Rev'd Canon Mark Oakley.

When Mark Oakley agreed to speak at the PCN’s Spring Conference, no one expected such an overwhelmingly positive reaction to his “inspiring and engaging” presentation. Members emphasised Mark’s humanity, honesty and reality of his approach. The wide range of Mark’s knowledge of poems and his deep understanding of how poems describe the lives we live, underpinned the impact of his presence with us. Mark was a quality speaker and provided those who came with an event to rank alongside any offered by PCN.
Chair's Update August 2015

Chair's Update August 2015

PCN's newly elected chair, Adrian Alker, brings us up to date on newly available resources and planned future events.

August 2015

This is my first news update to members of PCN since being elected chair of the trustees and I want to begin by thanking my fellow trustees for their encouragement to take up this role. I am following in the footsteps of Angela Smith and I want to first of all pay tribute to Angela’s dedicated service to PCN as chair and it is good that she is able to continue as a trustee. At our last meeting Paul Onslow was elected as vice chair and Sandra Griffiths as secretary and we look forward to the appointment of a new treasurer in the autumn.

Adrian Alker is the new Chair of PCN Britain

Adrian Alker is the new Chair of PCN Britain

The Progressive Christianity Network Britain is pleased to announce the election of the Revd Canon Adrian Alker to be its new Chair, succeeding Angela Smith.

​Adrian Alker was one of the founding members of PCN Britain in 2003. He was Vicar of St Marks Broomhill, Sheffield for twenty years and subsequently Director for Mission Resourcing in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. He was made an honorary canon of Sheffield Cathedral and awarded an honorary degree by the University of Sheffield for his work in the community.

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