Monthly Archives: October 2017

A Statement from the Interim Chair about our Online Groups

Friends,

 

We have closed our Progressive Christian Alliance Facebook and online groups temporarily. They will be open again to posting in seven days. I, as interim Chair, am not going to hash out all the details of why, except to say that I hope that this week will help folks cool off.

 

I want to give you some ideas to think about during this time, however. When my wife and I were doing activism in 2012 against Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, we had a large group discussion with a mixed group of these women and members of the transgender and queer communities. My wife, who is also a Buddhist, went around the room and said the following to each person there, regardless of what they thought of her, a transgender woman:

 

“I love you unconditionally and I surrender to your compassion.”

 

I now say this to all of you: I love you all unconditionally, and surrender to your compassion. We come from very diverse backgrounds. We have very different ideas about what progressive Christianity is and is not. We have very different ideas about how even the Progressive Christian Alliance is supposed to be run. This is a horrific time for people who care about our fellow human beings. There are so many things that are just wrong with the world right now.

 

But there is one thing I’ve observed, especially online, and it’s that the progressive world is forgetting compassion. That in our grief and anger we have forgotten that there are human beings at the other end of the screen. Human beings that screw up, say stupid things, and don’t do things the way *you* think they should. What saddens me is that there is a lot of verbal abuse that has deemed to be “ok” in the name of progressive thought. There is no one way to be progressive. Many of us have come out of churches that subscribed to the One True Way idea, and I ask you, friends, when did that kind of thinking become “ok” and “right” in progressive circles?

 

My teacher, Bishop Yvette Flunder of City of Refuge Church in Oakland, CA, taught me that radical inclusion doesn’t mean that a group doesn’t have boundaries. We need the boundaries to keep group cohesion and for the safety of the group. Our Covenant, which applies to all of our online groups, is our agreement with all of you that you will make our groups a safer place to talk about our Christian beliefs, regardless of how your path manifests. She also taught me to have grace and compassion for those who mess up, who don’t make the mark, or, in some circles, “sin” because, while you may have a boundary that leaves them out of shared space, it doesn’t mean you can’t be compassionate and help them to where they need to be.

 

However, our group is not static, and the covenant is a dynamic document. If you have suggestions on how to make it better, you can email us at pcafacebookgroup@gmail.com with any comments you’d like to make. If you’d like to talk to me personally about the groups, or PCA as a whole, I am always available via email at worthyadvisor@gmail.com.

 

The Leadership Council is trying hard to shore up the foundations of the PCA so we can do more for all of you, clergy and laity. It may not seem like enough at the moment, since there’s so much injustice going on, but you can’t support a stone house when your foundation is made out of toothpicks. We are striving to make a foundation out of stone so that we *can* be able to fight the good fight and do much more than we have in the past.

 

But I ask you all for your patience, and most of all, I again surrender to your compassion. We all take Jesus as our inspiration and center of faith. If he could show compassion for Mary Magdalene, for Judas, and even for those who tortured and killed him, we can certainly find compassion for each other. We are, after all, Christians, are we not?

 

I love you all unconditionally, and I surrender to your compassion.

 

In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,

 

Rev. Gina Pond

Interim Leadership Council Chair

 

Election of Leadership Chair and Treasurer

Nominations are now closed and elections have begun for Leadership Chair and Treasurer.

Statements From Candidates

The following statements are from the candidates who put their names forward for election. Statements are listed in the order they were received, along with nominations.

Candidates for Leadership Chair

Rev. Gina Pond

“My name is Rev. Gina Pond, and I’m running for the position of Leadership Chair. I started
volunteering for the Progressive Christian Alliance in 2014, shortly after my ordination, as
webmaster. I volunteered to clean up the main website and establish the first iteration of our
clergy directory. In 2015, I decided to run for the Councillor-at-Large position of the Leadership
Council so that I could expand my role from just being the webmaster. During the last year and
a half of service I’ve supported the Leadership Council as we gained 501(c)3 status, helped to
update and upgrade the website, authored the new Membership policies, and helped to update
PCA documents, in addition to general maintenance and updating of the website. My main goal,
if I should be elected to Chair, is to firm up the organizational foundations of the PCA so that we
can be more of an asset to our members, particularly our clergy. This includes: putting into
writing and firming up policies and processes in regards to membership, ordination, affiliation,
and churches; creating a committee for and organizing a long needed in person convocation
(that will also be accessible online); finalize our ability to be an endorsing organization for
chaplains; and create a fundraising committee and other opportunities as needed for members
to allow them to invest their time and/or money into PCA ministries, causes, and events. It is
important as an organization to realize that our progressive voice is needed now more than
ever. However, we can only become that voice if our organization has a firm rock to stand on.
Like Jesus said of Peter (Matthew 16:18), the PCA needs to shore up the rock to build our
Beloved Community so that, in these times, those who are called can speak truth to power and
speak for those who can not do so themselves. While these are an ambitious set of goals, I
know that we accomplish them, and I hope to be able to build a rock that will last long past my
tenure as Leadership Chair.”

Rev Pond self nominated and was also nominated by Rev Lyle Devine: “I nominate Gina Pond, she has demonstrated her willingness to consistently go above and beyond for the betterment of the PCA, has offered solutions when unexpected challenges arose, such as when the ownership of the PCA website was in dispute. I can think of no one better suited for the position.
-Lyle

Rev. Jerry Joyce

My name is Rev. Gerald David Joyce, Jr.. Much, much better known as Jerry or JJ.

I am a chaplain currently serving French Village Fire Department in Fairview Hieghts, Illinois, MedStar Ambulance of Illinois, and a volunteer evening-midnight chaplain for Memorial Hospital of Belleville, Illinois. (Part of the BJC Health System)

 A graduate of the LIFE Institute of Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri and did my CPE at St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a chaplain I have worked for several hospitals in the St. Louis Metro area, on both sides of the river.
As the Chair I want to continue the growth of the PCA throughout the world. With the PCA being the melting pot of all of God’s people. A place where everyone is truly welcome. A place where God’s table is really open to all. A place where labels means something and nothing at the same time. A place where the LGBTQ community and straight can join together as one loving community. Bring our peronness (*) to the table in love and respect. Being God’s people into a true family.
Bringing all Religions together as God’s people. In my practice as a chaplain I have stood with people of many religions and religious leaders. Sitting one night with a Wiccan Elder and a bishop of a very closed Christian society I heard the bishop say, ” why do we feel we have to keep ourselves in our own little corner? Why can’t we admit we believe this way and celebrate together? Let’s be people of one Earth. And share our gods’ (Godde) love with each other.” The amazing part about this story is that these two were best friends. The Elder and myself were supporting the bishop as is his father was dying.
This is what my vission is for the PCA. Being a part of this Earth Family. And sharing this Holy Love throughout the world.”
Rev. Joyce self-nominated.

Candidate for Treasurer

Matthew Self

I would like to nominate myself for treasurer. I came into the PCA Leadership Council as Interim Treasurer, but I would like to continue the work I have started. I have a little basic accounting experience under my belt, and I have worked as treasurer for a local church when I lived in Wisconsin. I am in the process of helping the PCA save money and come into the modern age with technology, and I would love the opportunity to continue doing so.
Thanks,
Matt Self
 Please use the following SurveyMonkey to vote for these positions. Make sure to answer both questions. This election will end on October 31, 2017 at 10 PM CDT. Results will be announced on All Saint’s Day, November 1, 2017.

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey

Nominations Open for Leadership Chair and Treasurer

Dear Sisters and Brothers of The Progressive Christian Alliance,

Last week, we shared with you our saddness that H. Lawton Higgs, Sr. had to retire as Chair of The Progressive Christian Alliance. His leadership has had a great impact both on the individuals of the Leadership Council, and on the future of The Progressive Christian Alliance as a living organization.

In spite of our grief, the LC recognizes that the PCA has been offered an opportunity. In the past, all of the Leadership Council positions have all been filled every three years. This meant that there was little continuity from Council to Council. This year, we’ve filled the Treasurer’s position with an interim (Mathew Self) and now we have an interim Chair (Gina Pond who was elected 2 years ago as Member at Large). This seems the perfect opportunity to hold an election for these two positions with the elected officers taking office in January to begin their 3 year term. The Co-Chair, Member at Large and Secretary positions will be elected in the Fall of 2018 to begin January 2019. This creates 2 years with the same members and one year of overlap where new ideas can be brought to the table along with folks who have knowledge of past decisions, policies and processes.

We will be accepting nominations and self-nominations for the positions of Chair and Treasurer from today through October 16th, 10 PM CST. Applicants should include a paragraph of why they feel qualified and what their vision is for the future of PCA. They can be electronically submitted by email in PDF format to: progcainfo@gmail.com. If you are nominated by another person, sending in your paragraph will be your acceptance of that nomination.

Members will be invited to vote through a link on Facebook and through an email link starting October 17th. Watch for the Survey Monkey and make your voice heard! Voting will close on Oct. 31 at 10 AM CDT.  On All Saints Day (November 1st) we’ll announce the new officers.

We thank you in advance for spending time in prayerful consideration of whether this is a call to ministry that Godde is calling you to answer.

Warm regards,

Beth Abbott, LC Co-Chair