Progressive liturgy weekend: first outing for new PCN chair

Progressive liturgy weekend: first outing for new PCN chair

Angela Smith, who has recently taken over as the chair of PCN Britain, was one of four leaders at this year’s PCN weekend retreat near Cheltenham

This year’s retreat took place for the first time at Glenfall House near Cheltenham. The aim was to consider how liturgy should develop in order to reflect progressive thinking about God and Christianity. All the session leaders were PCN committee members or ex-members.

Sandra Griffiths, who organised the weekend, introduced the topic and led a session on the use of meditations and non-Biblical readings. Richard Tetlow challenged us to consider the nature of prayer for progressives and Ali Morley led a session on hymn writing, which culminated with a joint effort to write a hymn. (You can see the result here). Angela Smith asked some searching questions about the nature of liturgy for progressives and, drawing on her theology thesis, entertained us with a Saturday evening illustrated talk about the religious messages to be found in film. Clips included Chocolat and Mama Mia. Ruth Tetlow led an evening epilogue on Friday and Sandra Griffiths use a liturgy based on exchanging fruit for the final worship on Sunday.

It was a memorable weekend, enjoyed by 21 PCN members and friends. We had unspolit weather and the airy mansion house with its superb terrace with views of the Cotswold edge made an ideal place to ‘get away from it all’. Imagine our sadness to learn that we were among the last to use the centre, for it is closing down in July. It’s warm welcome and excellent food will be missed by many.

Photos of the weekend may be seen here

Angela Smith leads PCN’s New Liturgy Project. She will be writing her first PCN chair’s letter in the September edition of Progressive Voices.

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