January
The Church has not gone far enough  - editorial The Tablet

The Church has not gone far enough - editorial The Tablet

Editor claims: "The old phrase “pray, pay and obey” still hovers over lay people as a summary of their duties. Bishops are like little medieval sovereigns in their own domain"

The Church has to look itself in the mirror, and realise that what is missing from the image reflected back is any serious role for the laity in church governance.

News of the conviction of the Australian Cardinal George Pell for child abuse has swept away whatever confidence leaders of the Catholic Church might have been feeling at the conclusion of their summit in Rome. Was that summit a success? It will ultimately be judged by results, but for all its shortcomings and disappointments, it has moved the Church forward in addressing one of the greatest crises it has ever faced. The Pell case is a giant step backwards, not least for the Church in Australia. It has been shamed time and again by the most appalling evidence not just of the systematic abuse of minors by clerics but of a systematic failure – for which Cardinal Pell himself bears some responsibility – to root out the abusers.

gays are irredeemably bad, evil and unacceptable.....USA Methodist debate

gays are irredeemably bad, evil and unacceptable.....USA Methodist debate

The delegates have spoken and the UMC has just died: gays are irredeemably bad, evil and unacceptable.

Christy Thomas writing in Patheos states she can barely write about this discussion by the UMC.

"The delegates have been debating the inclusive One Church Plan, one three minute speech after another, since about 1:15 pm. Each side makes points that they feel are definitive.

Nowever, as I see tight, tight votes on what are simple corrections and not substantive changes passing by one vote or not passing by a tie, I am aware of how fully we are split.

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

a chance to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT+ people from our past and present

Greetings for February, LGBT+ History Month.

LGBT+ History Month has taken place in the UK every February since 2005, organised by Schools Out UK, a campaigning group for LGBT+ people in education. It’s a chance to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT+ people from our past and present. Each year it takes a theme from the education curriculum - this year's theme is Peace, Reconciliation and Activism as 2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in the LGBT+ civil rights movement.

Irish government minister delivers talk on women's ordination

Irish government minister delivers talk on women's ordination

"brazen discrimination" could bring about the church's "slow death," an Irish government minister has warned

Dublin — Catholicism's prohibition on women priests is "brazen discrimination" and could bring about the church's "slow death," an Irish government minister has warned.

Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan challenged the church's exclusion of women from priesthood and leadership roles in an address titled "A Community of Faith: Why the Catholic Church should open all ministries to women" on Feb. 11 in Dublin.

Francis inherits decades of abuse cover-up -by Jason Berry AccountabilityOpinion

Francis inherits decades of abuse cover-up -by Jason Berry AccountabilityOpinion

Jason Berry was the first to report on clergy sex abuse in any substantial way

Three-part commentary begins with look at how the crisis reached this point

Feb 19, 2019 As the heir to disastrous mistakes of John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis, Francis is an existential pope, trying to chart a way out of the long, aching scandal by forging standards where few exist.

The upcoming meeting of the heads of bishops' conferences from around the world is the latest evidence that what was once considered the scandal of "a few bad apples," or the result of Western permissiveness, or hostile, anti-Catholic media is, in fact, a pathological sickness eating through the church's clerical and episcopal culture. The scandal has gone global. Prosecutors in several countries have church officials under scrutiny for helping predators evade criminal prosecution.

The "cases" are often old. But as we saw in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, church officials showed Olympian insensitivity to victims, while abetting a criminal sexual underground. Survivors, like the chorus of a Greek tragedy, warn of a moral order being broken. How did the crisis reach this stage? What feasible reforms can the pope engineer?

Seeking participants for  Human Rights Programme

Seeking participants for Human Rights Programme

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)

We are seeking participants for our Human Rights Programme in Palestine and Israel

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI) provides protection by presence, monitors human rights abuses, supports Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and advocates for an end to the occupation.

Based in the West Bank and Israel in 2020 for 3 months’ service.

Expenses covered and living allowance + benefits offered.

For more information and to download an application pack please see: www.quaker.org.uk/applyeappi

We welcome applications from people of all faiths and none.

Closing date: Tuesday 23 April 2019

Les Acklam , 1946 – 2018

Les Acklam , 1946 – 2018

celebrating the life of Les Acklam, Vicar of St Faith’s from 1993 to 1996, and the first Chaplain at the new Lincoln University.

A remarkable service of Celebration of A Life was held at St Faith’s Church in Lincoln in February. People came from all over the country and heard tributes from a large number of people and sang some stand-out hymns. There was music from John Bell, Taize and Gerald Finzi, readings from Oscar Romero and Richard Rohr with blessings from all over.

We were celebrating the life of Les Acklam, Vicar of St Faith’s from 1993 to 1996, and the first Chaplain at the new Lincoln University. Les was that wonderful combination of being a priest who was both quiet and also extremely active and committed. He was both aware of the spirituality of ancient texts and also the stimulus of the thoughts of contemporary authors.

CHURCHES URGED TO UNITE IN GLOBAL PRAYER FOR STUDENTS

CHURCHES URGED TO UNITE IN GLOBAL PRAYER FOR STUDENTS

Churches are being invited to pray for students around the world on Student Sunday, 17 February 2019.

Student Sunday, known internationally as the Universal Day of Prayer for Students, is one of the oldest global ecumenical days of prayer, and recognises the extraordinary contribution of students to the life of the church and their role in serving their communities. It also highlights the challenges facing students, and their need for continued prayer and practical support. Hilary Topp, National Coordinator of the Student Christian Movement said:
Sr Joan Chittister draws on St Benedict to oppose Trump

Sr Joan Chittister draws on St Benedict to oppose Trump

They are not dominant, powerful, nuclear-armed, white males. Otherwise we would be as concerned about the well-being of their children as we are of ours.

St Benedict taught people to remember the pre-eminence of God. "Revere God," he taught, rather than aggrandize the self. "Remember that God is God," he taught, and we are not.

The teaching is a simple but overwhelming one. Just think of it: If we really remember that God created us, that God gives us the world in order to complete God's image for creation, then all the personal grandstanding is for nothing: "I'm the greatest!" No, actually you are not. "I'm the only one who can solve this?" Not on your life. "I'm the first, the best, the greatest, the only one who knows the answers." Not at all. Or, "These other people are not like us; they are our evil enemies, they are beneath us, a danger to us, rapists, thieves, murderers." Or to say it all better, clearer, in shorthand: They are not dominant, powerful, nuclear-armed, white males. Otherwise we would be as concerned about the well-being of their children as we are of ours.

Sr Joan Chittister, Benedictine of Erie, Pennsylvania. Former prioress.

"The Teilhard de Chardin Project" - new film project takes off

"The Teilhard de Chardin Project" - new film project takes off

A documentary about the French Jesuit and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin . The Vatican warned students in 1962 not to read Teilhard, the legendary priest, who died in 1955.

"The Teilhard de Chardin Project" has taken the Frosts from France to England toFilmmaker Frank Frost and his wife Mary, are working on the project of a lifetime: a documentary about the French Jesuit and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The Vatican warned students in 1962 not to read Teilhard, the legendary priest, who died in 1955. China — where Teilhard was essentially exiled in the 1920s for his "dangerous thinking" on science and evolution.

Now, after nearly 40 years of working together, Frank and Mary are close to completing their most ambitious, personal project.

The film will enable viewers to come to know Teilhard — the priest, the scientist, the environmentalist. The aim is to make Teilhard accessible to people who have an interest. The couple believe you don't have to have a Ph.D. in science to understand that Teilhard the man was fascinating.

The Clergy Project......so what is it?

The Clergy Project......so what is it?

"rituals are symbolic celebrations of life, illustrated with strange and wonderful myths that can inspire us to live better lives" Daniel C. Dennet, "the progressive “metaphorical” understandings of Christianity that I had been exposed to throughout my life, had reinforced and strengthened in my theological training" ,Gretta Vosper

"Ideally, individual churches or whole denominations might quite forthrightly forsake the double-talk and hypocrisy and make it clear to young and old within the church that these rituals are symbolic celebrations of life, illustrated with strange and wonderful myths that can inspire us to live better lives, and that there is no obligation to try to believe in their literal truth. Then church services could evolve into a new kind of theater, intended to refocus folks’ attention on things more important than their mundane projects, and inspiring them to contribute their time, effort, and yes, money to making the world a better place.”

Daniel C. Dennet Interview. As recorded by Catherine Dunphy in From Apostle to Apostate: The Story of the Clergy Project. Durham: Pitchstone, 2015. Pg 47.

Clergy Project Website

Connected - worship ideas from PCN USA

Connected - worship ideas from PCN USA

As progressive Christians create new liturgies, they often build on treasures from the past

We are all connected, not only across nations and cultures and religions, but across time. Even as we head into the future, we carry with us our ties to the past. It’s how we orient ourselves and keep from getting lost, like Ariadne’s thread in the labyrinth. As progressive Christians create new liturgies, they often build on treasures from the past — new lyrics to a well-known hymn-tune, a new setting of words from an ancient psalm. Just another form of evolution.
Washington DC Church To Hold Time of Fasting and Prayer For The Peaceful Removal of Donald Trump From Office

Washington DC Church To Hold Time of Fasting and Prayer For The Peaceful Removal of Donald Trump From Office

The church is seeking both the religious and non-religious to join in with them in their time of fasting and prayer. A local meetup group has started online along with a online petition/fasting schedule for those committing to dedicate time to abstain from food and pray for impeachment or resignation. Johnson, who went on a hunger strike for suicide awareness last year via NBC, has already set apart two days a week for this cause. The church hope the fast will serve three purposes.

Washington, DC, January 22, 2019 --

Church For Black Men and Families has announced that they will be dedicating a sustained time and prayer and fasting (abstinence from food) to seek God for the peaceful removal of Donald Trump from Presidential office. The church’s decision was motivated by the effects of the government shutdown on federal workers.

Proclaiming the contents of the Catechism more loudly and in more detail not the answer says Tablet correspondent

Proclaiming the contents of the Catechism more loudly and in more detail not the answer says Tablet correspondent

In news from Britain and Ireland (19 January), The Catholic weekly "The Tablet" reported that the Bishop of Dunkeld has launched a Year of Re-Evangelisation aimed at bringing lapsed Catholics back to Mass. The method is the usual one in these circumstances, namely more concentrated catechesis. A respondent asked why do bishops always suppose that the solution to low Mass attendance is to proclaim the contents of the Catechism more loudly and in more detail? Why do they never suggest considering the message itself, to try to discover if there are aspects that might lack credibility for ordinary people?

If they did, it would reveal some fundamental details of Christian belief that require revision, as they are just not credible in today’s world, and that modern theologians provide alternative, helpful insights. It would also reveal that going to Mass is not always a very fulfilling experience for many people, for a variety of reasons.

Getting people into Mass seems a poor objective for a programme of evangelisation.

The Resistance Bible Study Podcast

The Resistance Bible Study Podcast

Friend and frequent contributor to ProgressiveChristianity.org, Rabbi Brian, has compiled conversations with 12 of his Biblically literate friends in a series of podcasts that both delight and educate and are FREE!

Join Rabbi Brian as he talks to Reverend Jim Burklo, Dr. Tracy Hartman, Rev. Irene Monroe, Pastor John Pavlovitz and more as he seeks to find out what the bible is and how to use it to fight oppression.

Find the podcast here: The Resistance Bible Study Podcast

Creationist Christians and Science - news from PCN USA

Creationist Christians and Science - news from PCN USA

Recently, Arizona’s state school board narrowly defeated the effort of creationist Christians to alter science standards and open the door for a literal interpretation of the Bible being taught alongside evolution. Some of the advisers advocating for creationism were referred to as “Young Earthers” in the news. What exactly does that mean? Revd David Felton answers.

Dear Readers, Believe it or not, “Young Earthers” are folks who are convinced that the earth (and all of creation) is only 6,022 years old (as of 2018). How did they arrive at this remarkably specific date?

It seems that back in the 17th century, a Renaissance Bishop (James Ussher, 1581-1656) figured that he could use the Bible to calculate the date of creation. Taking note of genealogies, events, and the number of candles on Methuselah’s birthday cake (all of which he took as literally as possible), he counted backwards to arrive at the exact day of creation: October 23rd 4004 BCE. He wasn’t clear on the exact time (or the time zone), but suggested that it was in the morning.

Today, a big chunk of American Christians attend churches that claim the Bible is inerrant (without error) and infallible (a safe and reliable source in all matters). I want to believe that most of them don’t actually believe this – considering that they live in the 21st century – but enough of them do believe it to make it a problem for the rest of us.

And you’ve got to feel a little sorry for them. Literalists are taught to expect that the Bible does not waiver from objective truth in the matter of history and science – and despite advances in biology, cosmology, archaeology, geology – and evidence in the Bible itself – they continue to double-down on inerrancy. As an outside observer of this phenomenon, it appears that they believe that “real” Christians are somehow spiritually superior for their ability to, despite evidence to the contrary, deny reality. Obviously, this has clear parallels in our current political reality.

Coalition Against Misuse of the Blasphemy Laws

Coalition Against Misuse of the Blasphemy Laws

an international coalition with a common aim: an end to the way Pakistan’s blasphemy law is currently being abused.

CAMBL​ asks for PCN members support -

Coalition Against Misuse of the Blasphemy Laws is an international coalition with a common aim: an end to the way Pakistan’s blasphemy law is currently being abused.

Along with opportunities to advocate for change, we will provide key legal resources regarding the Coalition Against Misuse of the Blasphemy Laws and its status in international law. Also we will keep you updated on all developments as the future of the Blasphemy Law is discussed, within Pakistan and around the world.

The coalition was founded by the Christian charity CLAAS, who have dedicated to helping persecuted Christians in Pakistan since 1998. We have been offering legal assistance to those accused of committing blasphemy and, when necessary, giving safe refuge to those in fear of reprisals.

However, Coalition Against Misuse of the Blasphemy Laws is open to both religious and nonreligious organisations, including both Christians and Muslims, who feel the law should not be abused in this way.

The voice of opposition grows louder every day. Together, change is possible.

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