Chair's Update

Chair's Update

Here is the July update following another very busy meeting of trustees held at St Columba’s URC York on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

Same Sex Marriage: Government consultation and membership survey report

The report on PCN members’ views about gay marriage is now posted on the website. I am grateful to the 190 members who responded to the survey. All 190 said that PCN should make a submission to the Home Office consultation. 177 [94%] were in favour of same sex marriage. 7 [4%] objected to same sex marriage. 6 could not be categorised. 173 [92%] said the government had not gone far enough and that same-sex marriage should be available in a religious ceremony not just civil ceremonies. These findings formed the basis of PCN’s submission to the Home Office. The full report on the survey results is now available on the PCN Britain web site – it makes for some interesting reading. (

Together in Hope Study Guides

A fourth book in the series has just been published. It is called Examining the Meaning of the Resurrection and is a collection of six essays by Bishop Jack Spong. Each essay is followed by suggested topics for group discussion. Jack Spong has been a regular speaker at PCN conferences. He sees Easter in terms of the birth of a new consciousness that may have taken as long as a year to sink in. The believers, he says, "experienced resurrection". He adds, “Of course, in time the inadequate words they used were literalised in an attempt to preserve them forever. Literalising truth, however, always destroys truth". The book costs £2.95 + £1 postage and can be ordered through the PCN Britain website or office. Other titles in the series are Walk the Jesus Walk and Jesus Then and Now, both by John Simmonds and Christmas: Ancient Meanings Modern Faith, by Adrian Alker.

A number of conferences are being organised for the coming 18 months; the first is just two months away. Here they are in chronological order:

1. Saturday September 15th 2012 at the BloomsburyCentral BaptistChurch,

Shaftsbury Lane, LondonWC2H 8EP
: Jesus Shaped Church - Christian Shaped Lives. This is a PCN day conference led by Adrian Alker, a PCN Trustee and founder of the Centre for Radical Christianity in Sheffield. ( believes that all churches can be places of welcome, inclusion, healing and challenge, unafraid to ask the big questions and committed to following the Kingdom teachings and practices of Jesus. His four talks will each be followed by discussion which will be kept informal. Adrian will have copies of his talks available at the end of the day. The conference will also be the occasion for the launch of a new PCN leaflet intended for churches wanting to explore a progressive Christian understanding. There will also be a small bookshop, selling titles from the Together in Hope series and PCN Resources. The church is 5 mins walk from
Tottenham Court
tube station. The cost of the day is £8 for PCN members and £10 for non members. A booking form is available on the PCN Britain website, or by post from the PCN office.

2. Jim Kenney conference tour: Non-stop Turmoil or Global Spring? Jim Kenney is a ‘progressive’ working in an interdisciplinary way across religion, spirituality, science, culture and philosophy. His visit to the UK is organised by Alan Race and Sonya Brown, both PCN Trustees. The first event is at St. Margaret’s Church, Lee, SE13 5EA on the evening of Friday 26th and all day Saturday 27th October 2012. The second is in Leicester at St. Philip's Church, LE2 1HN on Saturday 3rd November. Booking details are available from Alan and Sonya. & . More details at

3. Saturday April 20th 2013, at Lumen URC, Tavistock, Place London WC1H 9RS, London: Progressive Christian Communities. This is a major PCN conference concluding our year of meetings on the theme of progressive Christian communities. Adrian Alker has brought together clergy and lay members of three churches: St Marks Sheffield, Southernhay URC Exeter and Carrs Lane Methodist/URC Birmingham. Their talks and workshops will reflect upon what a progressive church looks like “on the ground”, covering subjects like liturgy, social justice and young people. Bookings for this conference will open in the autumn.

4. Annual PCN members residential weekend. Following the 2012 residential held in May at The Hayes, there were requests for a similar more reflective residential in 2013. The trustees agreed to arrange a residential weekend possibly in May or June. It will have a retreat nature. Alison Morley and Sandra Griffiths will take the organising leads. ( & Bookings for this weekend will open in the autumn.

5. Friday – Sunday 8-10th November 2013 at The Hayes Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire, DE55 1AU: Permission to Think Honestly – Honest to God 50 years on. This is major PCN residential conference catering for over a hundred people. Paul Onslow is the lead trustee. ( The provisional plan is to have several speakers each addressing a different aspect of Bishop John Robinson's book. The committee discussed a number of well-known and high profile speakers – watch this space!

AGM 2013. This would normally have been held in London in May but since we are already meeting in London in April, (see item 3 above), we decided to run a short AGM during the lunch hour of the April conference. Hopefully, this will help us ensure that we achieve a quorum in order to change the 10% quorum rule to a more achievable 5% for future AGMs.

Please keep in contact concerning plans and developments within PCN Britain. Perhaps you would like to consider offering your suggestions or writing articles for Progressive Voices or discussing the possibility of a new book in the Together in Hope series? I take this opportunity to wish you all a relaxing summer [when it returns] and look forward to meeting you at one or more of the future meetings. If you are attending the Greenbelt festival in August, be sure to look visit the PCN stall in the G-source tent.

John Churcher

PCN Britain,

26 High Street
, Newnham, Gloucestershire, GL14 1BB, Tel 01594 516528

Back to News