Author Archives: Admin

Progressive Christian Alliance Statement on the Immigration Crisis and Plea to All Christians

We, the Progressive Christian Alliance, are appalled by the systemic, amoral, and unethical treatment of immigrants by the current administration. What started with a ban on Muslim immigrants coming in from specific countries has now become full-out incarceration and abuse of People of Color from other countries who came to seek asylum. We are disgusted and appalled that children, babies, and toddlers are not only being abused, but are being ripped from their families and forced to face the grown-up legal system alone and entirely without representation.

We absolutely condemn these actions by this administration. These actions do not in any way fix the so-called problems that the administration claims to be caused by immigrants. They are inhumane and go against the teachings of Jesus and scripture.

In Matthew 25:37-40, Jesus tells us:

“‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”

and Jesus also tells us that the greatest commandment is (Luke 10:27):

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

For those of us in the Progressive Christian Alliance, there are no exceptions to these rules. We love our Muslim neighbor, our LGBTQIA+ neighbor, our neighbors from Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and any other place and religion on this planet. Radical inclusion dictates that there should be a place for EVERYONE at the table. This doesn’t mean that those who do harm aren’t accountable for their actions, but it does mean that even if someone has committed a crime, they are still treated as a human being.

The Progressive Christian Alliance, its clergy and laity, stand in opposition to these inhumane, racist, and exclusionary policies and will fight against them wherever and however we can.

We also call on all Christians, progressive and otherwise, to reflect on the history and role of Christianity in general, and extremist Christianity in particular, in bringing us to this point. We must work, in all our denominations, churches, and groups to root out racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and all other extremism. While we, individually, may not have had a hand in creating the policies created by those who have perverted Christianity’s ethos to their own ends,  we each have a responsibility to own up to Christianity’s dark history and be a part of cleaning up our own house. Until we accept that Christianity has been used for evil throughout its history, own up to it, and atone collectively for it, we will never be able to change the future.

We ask, in Jesus’s name, and in the name of the One who is called Goddess, Godde, God, and many other names, that all of God’s people will return to compassion, to love, and to bringing  justice and care to those who are in need. That we will do the reflection necessary as individuals, groups, and organizations in order to bring about the radical inclusion and hospitality that Jesus taught us to create and emulate.

Amen and May It Be So,

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair

New Interim Secretary and Member-At-Large!

Hello Friends!

As you all know, we’ve been looking for an Interim Secretary and Member-at-Large to round out the Leadership Council I’m very pleased to announce that we have filled our interim positions on the Leadership Council!

Rev. Jenny Howard is now our Interim Secretary and Rev. Nate Sprott is our Interim Member-at-Large. 

Thank you Jenny and Nate for agreeing to take on these positions and I, and the rest of the Leadership Council, look forward to working with you!

Thank you for joining the team!

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair

From the Co-Chair: Reflections of My Time on the Leadership Council

One of the questions I’ve heard from many considering whether to serve on the Leadership Council (LC) of the Progressive Christian Alliance is, “What do you do?” I believe that each LC has its own “flavor” and so the duties of the Co-Chair look different depending on the goals that have been set by our members and the gifts we each bring to the table. Here is a quick look at what these (almost) three years have held for me.

It might be prudent to mention how I got on the LC in the first place. At the last election, when we were asking folks to nominate someone for Chair, I sat quietly and reflected. Lawton Higgs, Sr kept coming to mind. Lawton demonstrates a deep passion for justice and also has wonderful organizational skills. I contacted him, asking if he would be willing for me to submit his name. Somehow in the conversation I got nominated as his Co-Chair. And what a gift it has been to have him (and now Gina) as our Chair!

The goals we set for our LC’s time of service were: to create a structure so that future LC’s and members would have clear documents to support PCA as it continues to evolve with Spirit; to increase ways for folks with our vision to connect with us; to obtain 501c3 status so that we are recognized as a legitimate religious organization and to seek accreditation from BCCi (Board of Chaplaincy, Inc.) so that our chaplains could be certified as PCA clergy. We’ve accomplished all this and more!

The first year, Lawton attended the Wild Goose Festival outside of Asheville, NC. This is a wonderful opportunity for PCA to be more visible and to reach other progressive Christians. As his health became less certain, it was my joy to attend in 2017 and I will return in 2018. We have several persons affiliated with PCA who are offering workshops and I hope that if you attend you’ll look for this sign by my little RV and say “HI!” Perhaps we could share a meal together.

During that first year, Fred-Allen Self (secretary) and I worked diligently to update the Constitution and Cannons of PCA, making the wording clearer to understand. That document was brought to our members for a vote and it passed. Simultaneously, JT Ramelis (treasurer) was getting us incorporated and filling out endless documentation needed for the 501c3 application. Through his efforts we now are officially a not for profit entity.

We brought Lyle Devine and Marie Ba’tel on as Co-Chairs of our Ordination Committee and worked together to get a system in place for those seeking to become PCA clergy. We now have a quarterly discernment of those who submit applications. Some are ordained. Some are connected to mentors when they are not quite ready. Additionally, Marie is the first responder for folks who want more information about PCA and our ordination process while Lyle makes sure that those in process meet our standards. This has freed up our LC to focus on other duties.

In 2017 I submitted the paperwork necessary for PCA to be recognized as a Faith Community by BCCi, the major professional organization for chaplaincy certification. We’d been told this was a lengthy process and could take over a year. One day, I got an email from the reviewers asking why we had submitted the application since we didn’t have a PCA clergy person seeking certification at that time. My response was that many of our clergy have been members of mainline denominations but were not offered ordination because they were from the LGBTQi community or their theology was too broad. Chaplaincy has been a way for them to fulfill their calls and they do this well. These people, I told them, had suffered enough. It was our goal to make sure that those qualified to seek certification have a clear path. I worried how that might be received by the Board. Much to my delight, they not only affirmed us but applauded our foresight in applying ahead of the need. Today, our first PCA clergy person is seeking endorsement. I am so proud!

Our vision of that “mustard seed of grace” growing has been overwhelming during our tenure. Our founders surely were Spirit led when they birthed The Progressive Christian Alliance. It is now necessary for us to set up a tracking system to improve our connection with one another, and we need better ways of creating community. With that in mind, we are implementing Wild Apricot (hopefully in July) which will enable us to keep records of our members, affiliate congregations, and clergy. Too often, people approach us seeking a community where they can feel welcome but we don’t have a current list of members or congregations to offer them. And we want to be sure that our clergy are up to date on security checks and upholding our clergy promise. We hope to have PCA clergy write more blogs for the website, sharing how their ministries are impacting a world that needs our words of a loving Godde. We also hope to find a way to hold a convocation once we know where our members reside. The first one may have to be an online event, but it is still one of our priorities.

It amazes me, looking at this blog, that we’ve come so far in so short a time. Lawton, JT and Fred-Allen had to resign so we now have a system where elections are at intervals so that all of the LC doesn’t change over at the same time. This should smooth transitions in the future. What a joy it has been to serve the PCA family. We have our squabbles as all families do, but when I get to welcome a new person to our community it is truly a moment of Godde’s grace for me. Our Constitution & Cannons mandate that a term in any position on the LC is 3 years. (One can serve in another position for an additional 3 years.) Recently, I was with one of the founders and he said, “Every 7 years leaders should step back. That enables new ideas to rise up. For the organization to flourish it must be constantly asking, ‘Who are we? Why do we exist? What needs are we not meeting yet?’” Wisdom. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I have grown in my skills and in my ministry as a result of serving on the Leadership Council of the Progressive Christian Alliance. I am also humbled by this opportunity you’ve entrusted to our care.

Thank you.

Rev. Beth Abbott

Co-chair, Leadership Council

Call for Volunteers from our Co-Chair

Welcome home!

Do you remember hearing or knowing that The Progressive Christian Alliance was a part of your spiritual family? Those words still hold great meaning for me. Before PCA, I felt adrift. Like I was alone in a world of conservative Christians who were simply on a very different page when it comes to following Christ. And I had to be invisible or I was judged “not Christian.” Here I found like-minded rebels. Freedom!

PCA is a very different organization for a lot of reasons. We are not a top down organization, our members set our goals and then entrust the Leadership Council to fulfill them. And having served on the LC now for almost 3 years, it is an honor to be given that trust. And it has been a joy to work alongside others called to be on the LC and make those goals manifest. It is our passion to bring those ideals into existence. And we are growing so quickly, that it amazes us how short we’ve even been an organization. Our founders were truly Spirit led.

And now, we come to a crossroads once again. Due to health limitations, we’ve had three resignations from the LC over the past year. And the next election is on the horizon. We are trusting the Godde is calling those who are prepared to take the next step on the journey as leaders of PCA, but without your answering that call, PCA cannot survive. When an organization is run by people who are paid, it is easy to fill positions, but to maintain its integrity, our Constitution and Canons require all leadership positions be volunteer.

Right now, we need interim members (until January) for the Secretary and Member at Large. And at the next election, we will vote for those two positions and Co-Chair for a 3 year term. PCA NEEDS YOU if we are to continue to spread the good news and welcome others home. One doesn’t have to be ordained to serve, lay persons who wish to serve are also welcome to do so! Please listen for Godde’s leading. And if you know of someone you feel should be on the leadership council, talk to them. Encourage them. With Spirit leading, we will take the next step into the future. We are now placing our trust in you.

Rev. Beth Beyer Abbott, Co-Chair

PS: If you are interested in volunteering, please let one of the LC members know, or email us at progcainfo@gmail.com.

New Interim Secretary Needed

Hello Friends!

The Leadership Council is sad to announce that Fred-Allen Self is resigning as Secretary due to ongoing health reasons. Fred-Allen has been a wonderful asset to the leadership team over the last two and half years on the board, especially in helping with revamping the website and as a Facebook admin.  He will still continue in his role as Facebook group admin, and will be helping with the website from time to time. We will miss his presence on the board greatly.

This does mean we need an interim Secretary to serve out the last of Fred-Allen’s term, which ends on December 31, 2018. Fred-Allen is graciously staying on until we find an interim Secretary, and will train whoever fills the post.

The main duties of the Secretary are as follows (from our Constitution and Canons):


1)    Maintains records of the council and ensures effective management of the organization’s
records.
2)    Creates and manages minutes of council meetings.
3)    Ensures minutes are distributed to members of the Progressive Christian Alliance and the
Leadership Council within five (5) business days of the Leadership Council Meeting or Convocation
Meeting.
4)    Is able to research and obtain legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note
applicability during meetings.

Also, because of our transition to the new Membership Policy and the updates we will need to make to our website, it would also be helpful if the new Secretary is familiar with the Google ecosystem (Docs, Drive, and Email) and WordPress (or willing to learn both).

The interim Secretary will be eligible to run for the next term (2019-2021) in November, when we will be holding elections for Co-chair, Secretary, and Councilor-At-Large.

If you are interested in being the interim Secretary, please send a brief statement about why you want the position and qualifications to progcainfo@gmail.com.

Again, we thank Fred-Allen for his service, and we thank all of you for your patience while we go through this transition.

Blessings,

Rev. Gina

Leadership Chair

Blessed Easter and News from the Leadership Chair

Hello Friends!

I hope you are all having a very blessed Easter Sunday! May the Light of the Risen Christ shine brightly on all that you do!

Some of you may have seen my post about this on Facebook by now, but I am moving to Switzerland with my wife. We have several reasons for this, which I talk about in this video: https://youtu.be/fb-ivS5_IGc Overall, though, we’re really excited about this change, even given some of the political reasons for it.

There may be some of you who may be concerned that this move will affect my ability to serve as Leadership Chair. The fact that I’m moving to another country, however, will only have a slight impact on my term and the ability to carry out my duties as Chair. Remember, our organization is international, with clergy and members from Europe, Asia, and other areas of the world. There are some organizational duties that will primarily fall on the US members of the Leadership Council, since our 501(c)3 incorporation is based in the United States, but these are already duties that are delegated to these members regardless of where I, personally, happen to live.

My wife and I plan to move sometime in June or July. I will still be available to folks for any questions, concerns, or suggestions they may need to have addressed during that time. Please do know, that during the actual move, I might be delayed in answering emails.

I’m also pleased to announce that we are finally able to move forward with our new Membership Policy in the next few months (we had a couple of setbacks that were beyond our control), which I will still be able to work on with the Leadership Council during the move. I recommend that folks subscribe to the news blog via email so that you can always have the most recent updates.

We do have some exciting plans coming after we sort out the website membership capabilities and our clergy listings, including the possibility of Leadership Chair live chats, a virtual convocation, and the ability for PCA churches and groups to showcase what they are doing in their communities. We ask that you give us your grace and patience while we put these processes into place, as it will take time to test and implement them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at leadershipchair@progressivechrisitianalliance.org. I usually answer emails within one business day.

Again, may you have the most blessed of Easters, and I thank you all for the blessings you have given me!

In your service,

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair

February Minutes are Posted

Hi Friends!

The February minutes are posted on the Leadership Council page for your perusal.

Click here: http://progressivechristianalliance.org/leadership-council/

Meeting Minutes Posted

Hello Friends,

The meeting minutes for December and January have been posted on the Leadership Council page. We apologize for the delay in posting.

Click here to read the files: http://progressivechristianalliance.org/leadership-council/

 

Progressive Christian Alliance Now Able to Endorse Chaplains

The Leadership Council is pleased to announce that the Progressive Christian Alliance is now recognized as a Faith Group Endorser for the purposes of board certification through the Board of Certified Chaplaincy, Inc (BCCi). This means that any clergy who would like to become chaplains can use the Progressive Christian Alliance as their endorsing body.

We are thrilled to be able to now offer this to PCA clergy! Special thanks to our Co-Chair, Rev. Beth Abbott for making sure this became a reality for our clergy!

Leadership Council appoints Interim Councilor-at-Large

Friends,

The Leadership Council is pleased to announce that Kim Shinabery has accepted the appointment of Interim Councilor-at-Large for the remainder of the 2016-2018 term that was vacated when Rev. Gina Pond became Leadership Chair.

We are very excited to have her on the team, and she will begin serving immediately!

Many Blessings,

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair