The Progressive Christian Alliance was founded in May of 2008 by Revs. Roger and Melissa McClellan, Rev. Terry McGuire, and Rev. Jarrod Cochran with the idea of blurring the lines between network and denomination and transcending both. With unique experiences in both the mainline protestant and evangelical churches, these founders sought to create an organization that affirmed and respected their respective traditions and welcomed diverse faith paths and experiences.
Those original members established the foundational principles as:
Concern for Social Justice.
Respect for theological diversity.
Welcome for all to participate equally in the life of the church.
The Progressive Christian Alliance seeks to facilitate connection and build community between progressive or inclusive ministers and ministries, to train and ordain new clergy, and to support new and diverse faith communities.
The alliance also has a strong ecumenical focus, ordaining clergy that serve in churches of other denominations as well as welcoming clergy from other denominations into full membership in the Progressive Christian Alliance, without requiring those to break their ties with their other affiliations. Clergy of the Progressive Christian Alliance serve not only in traditional church settings, but also in chaplaincies, non-profit organizations, and many other settings.
LITURGICAL LIFE AND EXPRESSION
The Progressive Christian Alliance requires no liturgical conformity, but encourages local clergy and churches to explore and use liturgies that suit the community’s unique composition. This liturgical expression can take many forms, ranging from “high-church” Catholic mass to informal gatherings and study groups, quiet contemplation to lively praise.
Theologically, there is much diversity within the group; as some hold to a traditional and creedal faith, while others’ thoughts are more in line with the thoughts of Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong and others associated with Progressive Christian theology, but the group tends to place orthopraxy ahead of orthodoxy. The Progressive Christian Alliance stresses the inclusive character of the Gospel, and teaches radical hospitality and inclusion for those who have been excluded from the life of the church; the disabled, LGBTQA+ persons, and others without regard to social status. Holy orders are open to all, without regard to race, social status, disability or orientation.
Many within the Progressive Christian Alliance are informed by other faith traditions as well, or practice both Christianity and another faith, and view those other traditions as providing additional insights into the nature of the divine. Progressive Christian Alliance members contend that to be Christian is to follow Christ, rather than adhere to any particular doctrine or dogma.
While the Progressive Christian Alliance maintains an egalitarian structure: a Leadership Council is elected to serve for 3 year terms, or volunteers can serve as Ordination Members, or in any other ways that are needed. Parishes, ministers and ministries of the Progressive Christian Alliance have full voting rights on all matters of organizational polity; yet retain virtual autonomy within the context of their local ministries. All ministries of the Progressive Christian Alliance retain financial independence from the parent organization as well, as the Progressive Christian Alliance maintains that resources are best utilized at the local level.
As of December 2016, the Progressive Christian Alliance became an official 501(c)3 organization.