January
JESUS TODAY - A Quaker Perspective by Michael Wright

JESUS TODAY - A Quaker Perspective by Michael Wright

I have had a life-long respect and admiration for Jesus. These days I think so many people who might well share my respect for him, know hardly anything about him.

The fresh knowledge provided by biblical scholars in the last fifty or more years passes most people by. I have been encouraged by friends to share a little of my journey and experiences as an introduction to this book. It is written with Quakers in mind, many of whom these days know little about Jesus, even though the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain is rooted in the Christian tradition and has always found inspiration in his life and teachings. I hope it may also be helpful to others, whether active church members or not, who are interested in a modern perspective on Jesus. I have been very much helped in writing this by consulting various friends who share some of my interests. As well as Quakers, they include Methodists, Anglicans and Roman Catholics. They have told me that what I have written will be of interest to some fellow members of the churches to which they belong.
Shaping the future of the Church of England

Shaping the future of the Church of England

Looking ahead to the 2020 General Synod elections

Should same sex couples be able to marry in church? How can the church respond to the climate emergency? What safeguarding rules should the church have to protect children and vulnerable adults? How do we equip the church for the challenges of mission and ministry in the 21st Century? Do you ever find yourself asking these questions? And do you wonder who in the church is responsible for answering them?
Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction:

Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction:

Widening horizons - developing thoughts from home and across the water and not just the usual suspects

Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction: examples are given below of the changing and challenging thought at home and abroad. The websites from which the extracts were taken are as follows:

The_Tablet_Catholic_Weekly

National_Catholic_Reporter_USA

Progressive_Christianity_USA

Patheos_USA

Centre_for_Action_and_Contemplation

AN INVITATION TO THE FEAST: A POSITIVE BIBLICAL APPROACH TO EQUAL MARRIAGE By Simon Taylor, Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral

AN INVITATION TO THE FEAST: A POSITIVE BIBLICAL APPROACH TO EQUAL MARRIAGE By Simon Taylor, Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral

This excellent article is taken from Modern Believing, the magazine of the Modern Church‘s journal.

Why the interest in marriage?

Let me start by noticing how unlikely it is that Christianity and the Christian Church should be saying anything at all about marriage. Jesus, the one whom we all seek to follow, was not married. Paul, the writer of more than half the New Testament and, if N. T. Wright is to believed, the inventor of theology,4 suggested that ‘I wish that all were as I myself am’ (1 Cor. 7.7), that is to say unmarried. Marriage, for Paul, is only for those who lack self-control. The Church of England’s marriage liturgies accordingly struggle for biblical references. Common Worship merely states that marriage is ‘blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with those celebrating a wedding at Cana of Galilee’.5 The Book of Common Prayer is more creative, praying that ‘as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, (whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge)’. However, given the parenting practices of Isaac and Rebecca, this prayer may be a mixed blessing. Jesus was unmarried. Paul recommended that Christians remain unmarried. The Church’s liturgies can identify only one married couple in the Old Testament suitable to recommend to those marrying in church, together with the fact that Jesus attended a marriage. Given all of this, we ought to ask more often why the Church is so interested in marriage at all.

Oxford dean faces £500,000 secret tribunal in pay dispute (The Guardian)

Oxford dean faces £500,000 secret tribunal in pay dispute (The Guardian)

“Christ Church has allowed this whole dispute to be blown wildly out of proportion,” said the head of another college.

A retired high court judge will preside over a hearing into allegations of “immoral, scandalous or disgraceful” conduct by the dean of Christ Church, Oxford, which are believed to relate to a dispute over pay and governance at the ancient college.

Sir Andrew Smith will assess claims made against the Very Rev Martyn Percy, suspended from his job since last September. The hearing, to be held in private, is expected to last eight days and is estimated to cost at least £500,000.

Francis criticizes traditionalist Catholics who 'safeguard the ashes' of the past

Francis criticizes traditionalist Catholics who 'safeguard the ashes' of the past

Francis singled out Catholic "fundamentalists," who he said have a nostalgia for "returning to the ashes."

Joshua J. McElwee writing in the National Catholic Reporter (USA) reports that Pope Francis answering questions from journalists aboard his flight from Sibiu, Romania, to Rome June 2. criticized traditionalist Catholics who seek to "safeguard the ashes" of the past, saying the global church's centuries of tradition are not akin to a container for preserved objects but instead like roots to be drawn on for future growth.
AKT - working with LGBT care leavers - seeks help

AKT - working with LGBT care leavers - seeks help

akt formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family home

akt formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, and founder member of Manchester Parents Group (MPG), who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family home and the homophobia they faced within school and society.

Cath was an activist during the days of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and is the original straight ally.

The Pope and the paradigm shift

The Pope and the paradigm shift

Just how deeply Pope Francis is feared and loathed is exemplified by the rise of ultra-conservative Catholic movements on the internet, says the editor of RC weekly The Tablet

The current transformation of the Catholic Church has been likened, prosaically, to a change of gear, or more delicately, as a “revolution in tenderness” – the words of the great and sadly lamented Jean Vanier, whose death was announced this week. Vanier’s own life epitomised that revolution: he was a man who “prepared the way of the Lord”. The more contentious and perhaps more ambivalent phrase for the process initiated and being led by Pope Francis is “paradigm shift”, and opponents of this papacy have latched on to it as summarising all they despise.
Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) campaign against anti-migrant hate speech

Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) campaign against anti-migrant hate speech

QCEA campaign against anti-migrant hate speech on social media in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections. It's called #ChooseRespect.

QCEA campaign against anti-migrant hate speech on social media in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections. It's called #ChooseRespect.

We're trying to build a more civil and positive narrative around people on the move, based on the idea that hate speech has real-world consequences - including at the ballot box.

United Methodists (USA) strengthen the bans against LGBTQ ordination and marriage

United Methodists (USA) strengthen the bans against LGBTQ ordination and marriage

What to do about ordination? A gay divinity school student ponders her future

After finally accepting her call to preach, Spencer Cullom took a step of faith and began the yearslong process to become ordained in the United Methodist Church.

She believed God called her to become a United Methodist minister. And she hoped that her denomination would drop its restrictions against LGBTQ clergy and allow her to follow that call.

But Cullom knew that might not happen.

Sri Lanka massacres - PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others - says PCN Chair

Sri Lanka massacres - PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others - says PCN Chair

PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others who strive to convince a sceptical and weary world that religious faith does have the power to transform for the good both individual lives and the life of communities. Yet in the face of this terrorist activity, all religions suffer from the understandable accusation of being dangerous and that there is no place for religious ideology in the twenty-first century.

For decades theologians such as the late John Hick have written about the need for a pluralistic approach to religion in an ambiguous world. They have seen a search, in different religions, for ultimate reality and truth and consequentially have encouraged a path of dialogue between faiths which has been a constant feature of religious conversations both at the international and local level.
Alan Jack Dean -In Memorium

Alan Jack Dean -In Memorium

Jack was a Lay Preacher of some renown, but his progressive views didn't please everyone

My memories of Jack Dean … George Drake

I first became aware of Jack Dean through articles he had written for Progressive Voices and letters to Reform – the magazine of the United Reformed Church.

My first correspondence with Jack was a request for the first of two booklets of essays he had produced, (the two booklets were 'Didn't see you in church, Jesus' and ' A View from the Pew' – They can be downloaded from the website). This was the start of a blossoming friendship, that was further enhanced when I wrote a letter to Reform in support of Jack, when some readers took offence at a letter he had written.

Rousing finale to Faith lectures at  Rawtenstall

Rousing finale to Faith lectures at Rawtenstall

More than 70 people came to Rawtenstall Unitarian Church in Lancashire on Saturday 23rd March to hear the eminent ecologist and writer Alastair McIntosh deliver a rousing address on the question: Does Christianity still matter, and if so, why?, the final lecture in a series considering ‘The Future of Faith’, writes Jim Corrigall.

Under the title, 'Towards Third Millennium Christianity: Activism, Non-Violence and the Mystical Imperative', the lecturer led his audience through the often-violent history of two millennia of Christianity, with learned asides into other faiths.

Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England - your support vital

Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England - your support vital

Equal, the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, is campaigning for a change in the teaching and practice of the Church of England to allow all couples to marry in church, regardless of their gender, sex or sexuality. This principle of equality already applies in English law and in some other churches.

Sign_the_letter_here

The Church of England’s current official position is that only opposite-sex couples can marry in its churches. Same-gender couples cannot marry in church. They cannot even officially receive a blessing after a civil marriage. Christians who have married their same-gender partner are discriminated against in the ministry of the church, both lay and ordained.

PCN AGM 2019 Chair's Report

PCN AGM 2019 Chair's Report

PCN members met for their annual meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on 6 April.

PCN members met for their annual meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on 6 April. Appropriate for the venue, the guest speaker on this occasion was Professor Richard Wilkinson, who spoke on the relationship between inequality and well-being (or lack of it). This was the subject of the Pickett/Richardson latest book, ‘The Inner Level’. Richard was able to show, through his extensive array of graphs how people in more unequal countries have higher rates of mental illness, depression and self esteem. The political implications are of course never far away and PCN members were left considering what we can do as an organisation to press home the points being made by Wilkinson.

The business part of our meeting allowed Peter to present the accounts with a fluency and calm not always seen in treasurers! Our finances are in a healthy state, allowing us to develop our work in certain directions such as the film project. Dave Coaker was re-elected to be a trustee and we welcomed a new trustee, Tony Sanchez from London.

In an opening exercise the 60 or so members took time to meet with someone they didn’t know and exchange their ideas about PCN. We heard of future conferences being planned and saw a film clip which exemplified the expertise of the media company who will produce our films.

All in all a productive and enjoyable annual meeting.

Adrian Alker

Westminster Abbey nuclear weapons thanksgiving service - clergy protest

Westminster Abbey nuclear weapons thanksgiving service - clergy protest

Christian CND has been coordinating the following statement on the upcoming “National Service of Thanksgiving”

Clergy within the Church of England have protested against the planned “Service of Thanksgiving” at Westminster Abbey to mark 50 years of Britain’s nuclear weapons being on constant patrol at sea should not go ahead.

At a time when the United Nations has agreed a new Treaty to ban nuclear weapons and the Church of England General Synod passed a motion calling on Christians to “work tirelessly for their elimination across the world”, we believe this service sends the wrong message to the global Anglican communion.

Please note if you are ordained within the Church of England anywhere in the world and would like to sign this statement, please email ccnddevelopment@cnduk.org

Pelagius’ view of Original Sin and his conflict with Augustine: by Matthew Fox on March 20, 2019

Pelagius’ view of Original Sin and his conflict with Augustine: by Matthew Fox on March 20, 2019

Pelagius’ view of Original Sin and his conflict with Augustine might be something one of our gifted writers would write about. The ninth Article of the Anglican 39 Articles don’t look very favorably on him and his followers.

Q: By Charles

Pelagius’ view of Original Sin and his conflict with Augustine might be something one of our gifted writers would write about. The ninth Article of the Anglican 39 Articles don’t look very favorably on him and his followers.

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected

The reality, whether the pope likes it or not, is that the institutional church cannot fix itself. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer and inactive priest, in the National Catholic Reporter.

The so-called "summit" on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure. The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops' deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.

I have been directly involved in this nightmare since 1984, when the reality of sexual violation of the innocent by clerics, and the systemic lying and cover-up by the hierarchy (from the papacy on down) emerged from layers of ecclesiastical secrecy into the open. By 1985, Pope John Paul II and several high-ranking Vatican clerics possessed detailed information about what was quickly turning into the church's worst crisis since the Dark Ages.

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