Ashes to ashes: Pentecostalism in Australia and the climate crisis

It’s a form of religion for an individualistic modern consumerist age

“We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely.”

Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister and a Pentecostal Christian, flew in on a taxpayer-funded plane to deliver those words to a church on the Gold Coast.

His sermon-like speech was given to the national conference of Australian Christian Churches – the umbrella body for the majority of churches in the country’s only Christian denomination showing growth: Pentecostalism.

Continue Reading on msn.com »

Barring of same sex blessings backlash

Young Belgian RCs abandon the Church

As many as 700 mainly young people formally left the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Antwerp in two weeks.

This is following on from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s barring the blessing of same sex unions, Bishop of Antwerp Johan Bonny has revealed. The bishop, interviewed by The Tablet Rome correspondent Christopher Lamb in our latest webinar, spoke about the “dramatic” backlash among “mainly straight people” who saw the Vatican document as “a step too far” during a discussion about the Church’s ministry to LGBT Catholics and same-sex couples. Sarah Mac Donald reports in The Tablet.

From Germany, Christa Pongratz Lippitt reports that more than 10,500 priests have signed a petition put together by a group of German Catholic priests who are against the ruling and many are forging ahead with plans for blessings

Greenbelt 2021 Cancelled

The organisers of Greenbelt have announced that the festival will not go ahead this year.

In a press release on the 4th May the organisers said:

Dearest Greenbelters,

We’re absolutely heartbroken to tell you that we need to cancel Greenbelt for a second year. We have spent the last few months hoping and praying that the government would step up and provide festivals like ours with the insurance protection we need to go ahead. It is clear now that we have been waiting in vain.

Continue Reading on greenbelt.org.uk »

Support of Trump within church has driven some USA Roman Catholics to the exits

With Trump, it was basically like watching a car crash in slow motion.

The day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, Mike Boyle decided he was ready to become an Episcopalian.

A practicing Catholic all his life, Boyle was serious enough about his faith that he had spent three years as a member of a Dominican community, in the priestly formation track. But even prior to 2016, he was growing frustrated with the behavior of lay Catholics and clergy. With the initiation of the Fortnight for Freedom during the Obama administration, he began to be uncomfortable with the church leaders' obvious promotion of right-wing political ideologies.

Then Pope Francis was elected. Boyle initially hoped the new pope would bring about much-needed reform, but after a few years started to doubt whether Francis could really change things. He began to be drawn toward an Anglo-Catholic Episcopal parish.

Continue Reading on ncronline.org »

Climate Justice for All

The Methodist Church COP26 campaign, Climate Justice for All (CJ4A for short), has launched!

Climate Justice for All is a campaign run by workers in Britain, Uruguay, Italy, Zambia and Fiji and together we have built a campaign designed to encourage every Methodist community around the world to take action for climate justice, in the lead up to COP26.

We’d love for you to be part of spreading the word about the campaign with your church community.

Less than half of Britons expected to tick ‘Christian’ in UK census

Snapshot of Britain will see many reject church as immoral or irrelevant, academics predict

The “post-Christian era” in the UK will be cemented by data emerging from Sunday’s census which is expected to show further generational disengagement from organised religion, according to a leading academic.

The once-a-decade snapshot of the country has included a voluntary question about religion since 2001. In 2011, returns across England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland showed 59.3% ticking Christianity, a fall from 71.6% a decade earlier.

Continue Reading on theguardian.com »



points to ponder

On-going abuse of process against Dean Percy, Oxford

Averting a catastrophe in… | Progressive Christianity Network Britain (pcnbritain.org.uk)

Calls for a cull of Church bureaucracy -

The Church of England's… | Progressive Christianity Network Britain (pcnbritain.org.uk)

CofE Synod preparations - vital for an inclusive Church

General Synod Elections -… | Progressive Christianity Network Britain (pcnbritain.org.uk)

Science engaging with religion??? See resources from The Faraday Institute

Overview | Faraday (cam.ac.uk)

As the Church of England debates its future read the Bishop of Blackburn's take on it:

The Primacy of the Parish | Progressive Christianity Network Britain (pcnbritain.org.uk)

As the U.K. develops a harsher treatment for refugees a postwar refugee remembers in this Christian Aid video

Around the world, growing numbers of people are rejecting traditional faiths and choosing their own spiritual path. Eight atheists and agnostics open up...


A Church of Ireland priest blogs on religion in Ireland today


News of Conservative Polish Church in crisis


We have a political and economic system that continues to put profit before people and 2020 exposed this reality again

Justice around the world:… | Progressive Christianity Network Britain (pcnbritain.org.uk)

Christian Aid highlights effects of Covid on already vulnerable communities

Christmas Appeal - Christian Aid

The Future Working of PCN in a Post Covid World

Since March 2020 all organisations have had to adapt to working in a world where social and work gatherings have been proscribed.

PCN is no exception. Conferences have been cancelled, groups have not met, trustees have not travelled to their meetings. However new forms of networking have emerged and, in some measure, thrived. At the present time ( March 2021) many of our PCN groups are holding regular Zoom meetings and some groups report large attendances, with some groups inviting speakers from across the globe to address their members. There are concerns that some PCN members are excluded from such meetings because of technological and other reasons. And obviously there is a desire for real meetings once again when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to meet. Each PCN group will, of course , have to resolve these issues as best as it can.

PCN as an organisation has embarked on staging our own webinars, with the first ,with Brian McLaren, attracting over 250 participants. PCN trustees have been meeting on Zoom. Our website is now advertising a range of online events being hosted by different organisations. PCN members have asked which progressive churches are offering on line worship services, which they might ‘attend’.

In so many ways, as this pandemic has closed down so much ( tragically businesses etc) a new world of interconnected events and meetings etc has opened up and this is clearly so for PCN.

What then of the future?

Quakers in Britain objecting to security Bill

Quakers in Britain are among more than 150 charities, unions and faith bodies objecting to a Bill being rushed through parliament which will hand police draconian powers to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest.

In a letter to the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice they say, “This is a huge Bill, both in length and in potential consequences - for young people calling for social change facing greater criminalisation by the state, for Gypsy and Traveller communities facing threats to their way of life, and for anyone who values freedom of expression and the right to make yourself heard against the powerful."

General Synod Elections - Call for Inclusive Church

"It's really important that Christians wanting a more open and inclusive Church of England use these elections to help bring it about,"

With elections to the Church of England's General Synod are just six months away a new website supporting inclusive Anglicans wanting has been launched. www.inclusive-synod.org brings together information for anyone wanting to know more about the elections, whether it's how to vote or what to do if you want to stand for election. It has been produced by the Inclusive Synod project, a collaboration between several inclusive Christian organisations, including the Progressive Christianity Network, Inclusive Church, OneBodyOneFaith and Modern Church.

Victims still waiting to meet with nuncio by Catherine Pepinster

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse have expressed their frustration at the refusal of the papal nuncio to the UK to meet them to discuss their concerns.

Several letters requesting a meeting with Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti have been sent by 18 survivors. They joined forces to speak out following publication by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in November. The report highlights failures of the Catholic Church to deal with abuse by priests and singled out Cardinal Vincent Nichols for criticism over his response to victims.

In their letter, the survivors wrote: “We have fought for years to have our voice heard by the Church – more often than not, that voice has been dismissed, ignored or treated with contempt. We write to you with the hope that our voice will be heard now.”

Continue Reading on thetablet.co.uk »

Holy relic: what will be left of the Church of England after the pandemic?

Even committed churchgoers like me feel almost ready to walk away.

A clergyman admitted to me that he’d recently burst into tears. He’d received an email from his diocese in this latest lockdown ‘strongly urging’ vicars to close their churches. He has an elderly working-class congregation in a poor area. Coming to church was ‘the one thing keeping them going’. Local vicars like him represent the best of the Church of England. They are loving, kind, and they know their flock.

Before the pandemic, the C of E had seen attendance halve in a generation. Weekly religious attendance is highest among non-Christian faiths (40 per cent), followed by Roman Catholics (23 per cent) and all other Christian denominations (23 per cent). Anglicans are much less likely to attend weekly (9 per cent), or at all — 57 per cent say they go to church ‘never or practically never’.

Continue Reading on spectator.co.uk »

Northern Irish victims call for their own Catholic baby homes investigation: by Sahm Venter

that was the last I'd seen of him for 40 years

KILLYLEAGH, NORTHERN IRELAND — The young mother wrapped her baby son in a shawl and carefully pushed a letter to his adoptive parents into a bag stuffed with toys, sweaters and other clothes.

"I lifted him from the nursery, walked up the corridor and handed him to a nun and that was the last I'd seen of him for 40 years," said Adele, who asked to use a pseudonym because of the sensitive nature of her story.

Continue Reading on ncronline.org »

‘I only know one god – and that’s me’: non-believers on the meaning of life

Around the world, growing numbers of people are rejecting traditional faiths and choosing their own spiritual path. Eight atheists and agnostics open up

Interesting Guardian article explores approaches to meaning of life....

Religion may once have been the opium of the people, but in large swaths of the world the masses have kicked the habit. In countries once dominated by churches characterised by patriarchy, ritual and hierarchy, the pews have emptied and people have found other sources of solace, spirituality and morality.


PCN Britain Chair reflects on ‘Living in Love and Faith’

So what do we make of this latest resource and the reactions to it?

hree years ago, the General Synod of the Church of England set up yet another process of consultation and debate about sex and relationships under the title of ‘Living in Love and Faith’, with the stated intention ‘that the resources make connections with the questions, faith stories, views and experiences of people who span a range of ages, ethnicities, theological convictions, sexualities and genders’. Now the report, which is actually a book running to 468 pages, plus digital resources and a course book, has been published and commended to the parishes of the Church of England for study, reflection and a way forward. So what do we make of this latest resource and the reactions to it?

‘Living in Love and Faith’ should be seen as the Church of England addressing its own people – churchgoers across the parishes of England. The book chronicles the many Church reports on sex, marriage and relationships over the years and the archbishops once again see their vision as keeping the church in graceful union despite and cutting through the disagreements. Those of us who hold a more progressive faith can at least be heartened by the way in which Living in Love and Faith tries openly and honestly to outline in some detail the contexts of societal, scientific and cultural influences. Part Two asks us to pay attention to ‘what is going on’. For churchgoers seeking to make sense of these matters in the context of faith, Part Four seeks to look at different ways in which we handle biblical texts and how we assess the Bible’s authority. Similarly how do we evaluate the church, the surrounding culture, our experiences and conscience?

Living in Love and Faith asks 585 questions, more than one a page. In the sections entitled ‘Encounters’, true life stories are told without comment. Different perspectives on all these sensitive issues are handled with clarity and respect. There are many pages of useful factual information , gleaned from secular sources such as British Attitude Surveys, government departments, alongside numerous church reports and commissions. All in all, the book is clear about the disagreements over matters of sex and relationships, both from a very conservative viewpoint right through to progressive folk like myself and many PCN members. The book inevitably reflects the broadness of the Church of England and its range of views over these matters.

A 'time of crisis' for Poland's Catholic Church: Donald Snyder writing in National Catholic Reporter Jan 15, 2021

It was a gloomy forecast for the Polish Catholic Church.

"I say it's a dark night for the church," said Zbigniew Nosowski, one of Poland’s prominent intellectuals. "It is a difficult time of crisis."

Nosowski, a sociologist and journalist, is editor-in-chief of Wiez (Bond), a scholarly quarterly. Speaking in a phone interview, he said that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the hierarchy of the church and its unwavering embrace of the right-wing authoritarian ruling party, Law and Justice, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

liberal Christians: is this their moment? Guardian editorial

The election of practising Catholic Joe Biden is just one reason for religious progressives to be hopeful

A liberal Catholic

The election to the White House of Joe Biden, a Democrat who is also a practising Catholic, is the best news liberal Christians have had for a long time. In a book published last month, the conservative Australian cardinal George Pell said Mr Trump was “a bit of a barbarian, but in some important ways he’s ‘our’ (Christian) barbarian”. The end of that cynically transactional relationship between Mr Trump’s White House and the religious right signals new possibilities. In his victory speech, Mr Biden quoted from Ecclesiastes, saying that for a divided America, “it was a time to heal”. When he has discussed his faith, the president-elect has tended to talk about altruism, decency and personal integrity, steering clear of provocative dividing lines.

Kent bishops call on Government to intervene in Dover

"this is a national issue and the government needs to intervene decisively"

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops in Kent have called on the Government to “intervene decisively” to resolve the situation in Dover, where more than 2800 lorries are queuing to enter the port and the Channel Tunnel.

Lorries have been stranded in Dover since Sunday, when France closed its border with the UK to try to prevent the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus to mainland Europe.

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