PCN Chair’s Update

This update was sent by email to PCN members at the end of October 2011

Saturday October 29th 2011

I start with sincere thanks to those who took part in the consultation over PCN’s new Three Year Strategic Plan. The trustees met earlier this month at the Bar Convent in York for a twenty-four hour planning session. Your responses were invaluable in helping us to draw up the draft plan, which is currently available for your inspection on the PCN website*. We would value your comments which should be sent to the PCN office.

I’d like to highlight a few of the themes in the plan.

​First, we felt it was time for PCN to reinvigorate its relationship with churches. Let me make clear, our membership remains open to all, regardless of church attendance. However, over 85% of our members have a church affiliation and the message coming back from the AGM seminars and the consultation was that these members would like to be given the resources to make a difference within their own congregations. To this end we have agreed to renew our efforts to cooperate with churches. We will offer PCN resources to any church seeking to explore progressive theology. These will include our Eight Points and our growing selection of study guides, DVDs and progressive liturgy. The vehicle for this initiative will be a new PCN leaflet specifically written for churches. And the theme for our two main conferences in 2012 will be “How can progressive Christian communities live as people of the Way” which will include input from the emerging church movement.

Second, we wanted to both broaden and deepen the resources available to groups in the PCN network. We have already begun work on the new website which will give groups more of an online presence, if they wish. We will also give groups a comprehensive tool kit to plan and stage public meetings, including a shopping list of progressive Christian speakers available within the UK. We are planning to expand the DVD library and to invest in a stock of books for sale through the website. In both these themes we recognise that the momentum for any hoped for Christian reformation lies with ordinary Christians sharing the insights they have discovered and which have already transformed their faith.

In the consultation feedback, some of you asked about a progressive “Omega” course or UK originated DVDs in the style of Living the Questions. While we like these ideas, we felt they were currently beyond our budget and expertise. The best hope lies in some kind of combined effort and we remain committed to nurturing working relationships with likeminded organisations. It remains our aim to help stage a joint conference representing all progressive Christian organisations in the UK sometime in 2013.

On the administrative side, we decided that PCN needs two more Trustees with specific responsibilities. First, we need someone to work on media relations, developing new contacts and disseminating press releases. And second, we need someone who can help with website management since the new website will carry much more material than at present. If you have an interest in these areas and would like to help in the continued development of PCN Britain, then please contact me as soon as possible and we will aim to co-opt you on to the committee*. We also felt it was time to call our admin assistant our administrator. Andy Vivian won’t be getting any more money, it is simply recognition of the job he already does. We decided not to increase our membership fees. Financially, we have been helped by the fact that our membership is growing. It currently stands at 537.

I’m pleased to say that the CDs of Dominic Crossan’s talks at the Leeds Conference in September are ready. They can be ordered through the PCN website*. The cost, including postage and packing, is £11 for the three disc audio CD set, or £8 for a set of MP3 files written onto a single CD. You can alternatively send a cheque to the PCN office*. The conference was well attended and with the help of the book and CD stall we made a modest profit of just over £200.

Once again, a heart felt ‘thank you’ to the trustees and Andy for their continuing hard work and vision, but also a sincere ‘thank you’ to all members of PCN Britain. We live in challenging times but I am extremely optimistic about the importance of what we have to offer as progressive Christians both to the church and to our wider society.

And for those who already have their 2012 diary to hand, the May conference and AGM will be in York on Saturday 19th May. We hope to stage a second conference in London later in the year.

John Churcher

*Contacts and links to website items mentioned in this letter

The PCN office: andy.vivian@pcnbritain.org.uk or 26 High Street, Newnham, Gloucestershire, GL14 1BB

John Churcher: john.churcher@pcnbritain.rg.uk

The draft Three Year Strategic Plan can be viewed at http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/index.php/resources/category/C21/

Copies of the Dominic Crossan talks can be ordered at http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/index.php/shop/ or by post, sending a cheque to the PCN office in Newnham, (see above).

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