Gretta Vosper - Great news from Canada

Gretta Vosper - Great news from Canada

A message direct from Gretta following the unexpectedly short (and positive) censure hearing...

Hello all!

This coming Sunday, I return to my congregation without a cloud hanging over our heads and secure in the knowledge that the community we have built at West Hill United Church can continue, without conditions.

The following joint statement just went out from the United Church of Canada at 1:00 p.m. today.

Joint Statement Toronto Conference, Rev. Gretta Vosper and West Hill United Church have settled all outstanding issues between them. Rev. Gretta Vosper will remain in ordained ministry at West Hill United Church. We acknowledge the faithful work of all of those who have been involved in this process.

I cannot say how central your support, love, expressions of empathy, and constancy has meant to me over these three and a half years (plus one day!). It has strewn this difficult path with wisdom, late night and early morning insights, en-coeur-agements, letters of support, of outrage and sorrow, perspective, cups of tea, space for the expressions of anger or heartbreak, shoulders braced against the wall. You persevered and this story has been told. In the telling, in the hearing, we have been affirmed. The first denomination to allow an atheist, whose heart and mind, leadership, and theology, formed by that church’s own hand, to continue unobstructed in their ministry. Might I even say “celebrated”? It is a new day in the Christian world. And I am so grateful for your presence by my side.

With much love, gretta

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Gretta Vosper “Heresy” Trial background

Gretta Vosper “Heresy” Trial background

Gretta Vosper Judicial Hearing due 12th November resolved. ...

Scott Kearns had reported to us just the other day that  Gretta was exhausted having worked on a mountain of material to submit. Gretta has had to work hard to correct the many, many misquotes and misrepresentations in the report of the Ministry Personnel Review Committee that found her “unsuitable”, to outline objections to the dozens of breaches of natural justice in the process the Church administration developed to try her. Gretta has been able to evidence scores of samples of the work she has done with West Hill to offer a non-exclusive, theologically barrier-free community united in their commonly held commitment to justice, compassion, integrity, etc.  Gretta and Scott had no idea what would happen at the trial –  now all the worry as to whether indeed the court would be willing to listen to a wide scope of material, or merely “sentence” (their word) her right at the start is answered . Throughout Gretta has exemplified her integrity and passion for people and that has been recognised.

There is Facebook page hosted by the Friends of Gretta Vosper Association that will be keeping folks posted almost every day regarding what’s going on related to the Hearing. Here’s the link:

 

Gretta Vosper Support Group

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Catholic alt right seeks to scapegoat gay priests and homosexuality

Catholic alt right seeks to scapegoat gay priests and homosexuality

Dominican sisters who run the Siena Retreat Center outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to hire security to defend against anti-gay protestors...

Dominican sisters who run the Siena Retreat Center outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to hire security to keep more than two dozen protesters off the property, where they were runniong a retreat for gay clergy and lay people. The National Catholic Reporter reported DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, the Catholic LGBT advocacy and educational organization, stating  it as all part of a “toxic atmosphere that has been building up for decades.” 

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Marcus Borg Memorial Lecture - Adrian Alker reports.

Marcus Borg Memorial Lecture - Adrian Alker reports.

Marianne captivated her audience through the warmth of her personality and the sincerity of her deep commitment to following in the path of the…...

The Marcus Borg memorial lecture took place this year in St Marks Church in Broomhill, Sheffield. The conference resonated with significance for it was in this parish church in the year 2000 that Marcus Borg first spoke at a local parish church in the UK. Marcus had accepted the invitation to come to Sheffield at a time when many people across the country were beginning to read his published books. Through his work many came to realise, in an increasingly conservative Church, that there was another way of seeing the Christian faith. We were being asked to look again at the person of Jesus, to read again the Bible with fresh eyes and understanding, to conceptualise in different ways notions of the divine.

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Justice Week  - new initiative setup by the  Bar Council, The Law Society, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Justice Week - new initiative setup by the Bar Council, The Law Society, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

The purpose of the week is to boost the profile of justice and the rule of law, helping to place them at the centre stage of public and political…...

Adrian Alker, Chair PCN Britain,  writes, “The Progressive Christianity Network Britain proudly supports Justice Week and the programme of events which will raise the profile of justice and those institutions which promote its cause in these islands. For Christians, Jesus embodied the justice of God in his life, actions and teachings. The Bible as a whole puts distributive justice at the heart of how we should live in society “Give justice to the weak and the orphan, maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82. Justice is the body of love, and love is the soul of justice. God is Love. Love empowers justice and justice embodies love. Keep both or get neither.

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“Queer and Catholic”

“Queer and Catholic”

“Queer and Catholic”, an autobiography by Mark Dowd, former Dominican friar, a broadcaster and journalist...

Peter Bellenes, web editor, writes: I have just finished reading “Queer and Catholic”, an autobiography by Mark Dowd, former Dominicsn friar, a broadcaster and journalist who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4, The Times and the Guardian. Mark gives an authentic insight into growing up as a Catholic boy in the Lancashire of the 60’s.

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News from PCN Britain

News from PCN Britain

Here’s a digest of some of the things currently on PCN’s agenda...

Progressive Christianity on video

For some time PCN Britain has harboured a wish to produce a home grown learning course.  Our groups have made good use of the American course ‘Living the Questions’, but members have often asked, what is there in the UK?  Work on a PCN learning course started in 2017 and this summer we were given a sizable grant by the Westhill Trust to take it forward. 

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A progressive Christianity reading list

A progressive Christianity reading list

PCN Britain has resisted publishing a list of essential progressive Christian reading.  But our partner organisation in the USA has come…...

PCN Britain sometimes gets asked to suggest some book titles that a relative newcomer to progressive thinking might like to read.  So we were very interested when ProgressiveChristianity.org in America came up with just such a list recently.  We can recommend all these books.  Don’t expect them to coincide in their theology. (But then PCN members don’t all coincide in their theology either!).  There is a preponderance of American authors, but that might well be true of any list that we had prepared too.

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Charter for Compassion seeks new affirmations

Charter for Compassion seeks new affirmations

Charter for Compassion is asking for a million new affirmations to mark the Charter’s tenth anniversary in 2019....

The Charter for Compassion was first published in November 2009 and the organisation works towards creating a peaceful and sustainable way of living. If you feel that you can support the Charter for Compassion, either as an individual or as part of an organisation, then please consider affirming your support here.

To find out more about the Charter for Compassion please visit their website.

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Roger Ray speaks at St Albans, Malvern and Brighton

Roger Ray speaks at St Albans, Malvern and Brighton

This leading US progressive minister will be in the UK between 5th and 13th May...

May 5th: St Albans day conference - Progressive Faith and Practice.  Session One:  What do progressive mean when we say ‘God’.  Session two: Worship in a post-modern society: What do we do when we gather as a Community?  Session three: Which Jesus do we hold dear?  

May 10th:  Malvern evnening meeting: Which Jesus do we hold dear?  

May 13th:  Brighton (Hove) day eventThinking Allowed: an insight into progressive christianity.  Dr Ray will be joined by Rev’d John Churcher, former PCN chair and a Methodist minister offering a radical voice from the edge.  In the morning each will preach in a local church and then in the afternoon there will be three sessions: 1. What do progressives mean when we say “God”?  2. Which Jesus do we hold dear?  3. What do we do when we gather as a community?  

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Students polled on their belief in the resurrection

Students polled on their belief in the resurrection

A poll of students by the Student Christian Movement shows that the literal interpretation of that first Easter isn’t set in stone....

In the poll, 15% of participants admitted that they didn’t believe that Jesus returned to his body following the crucifixion, responding ‘I believe Jesus’ spirit is with us but I don’t believe he physically rose from the dead’ or ‘I really want to believe that Jesus rose from the dead but I struggle to get my head around it.’

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