Dear PCA friends,
I greet you in the name of the Historic Jesus and the Cosmic Christ.
Your Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council has been hard at work strengthening our Progressive Christian Alliance Community. In the current spiritual environment of our nation and world, a strong Progressive Christian witness is needed. We are experiencing a response to this need by the number of people God is calling into ordination through our organization. This is very exciting to us and we are sure that you share our excitement and our commitment to meet this need.
We are very pleased and grateful for the 501©(3) designation we have received from the IRS. This designation gives us the official status needed to begin the process of requesting acceptance of PCA ordination as valid clergy designation to apply for chaplaincy certification. In the process of making the chaplaincy certification application we discovered that there were some needed refinements to be made to our Constitution and Cannons. Your leadership Council has been at work several months working to revise our Constitution and Cannons to meet those requirements. We have labored to make sure that the document stays true to the spirit our founders intended and that the vision of the Progressive Christian Alliance remains clear and unchanged in this revision. It is very important that we make this revision in order to be able to receive certification for chaplaincy designation for our clergy.
We are sending out this draft copy of our revised Constitution and Cannons for your review, comment, and vote. Thank you for giving it careful consideration to provide a basis for strength as we move into the future. There will also be a Survey Monkey that will be posted in order to allow you to vote on the revision.
Thank you for your time and prayerful consideration.
The Rev. Dr. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr.
Chair, PCA Leadership Council
Constitution and Canon Update 14May2017 (PDF)
Please vote using Survey Monkey below. Voting will close on June 14, 2017.
Create your own user feedback survey
Dear PCA Friends,
We are so grateful that our former treasurer J.T. Ramelis filed successfully our application for a 501©(3) status with the IRS. We are pleased now to be operating as a 501©(3) tax-deductible, nonprofit religious organization. Since that time Mr. Ramelis has resigned from the Leadership Council as our Treasure. The Progressive Christian Alliance is in need of a PCA volunteer to serve as Treasurer on our Leadership Council, a person who has experience managing the finances of a 501©(3) nonprofit, tax-deductible organization.
We would appreciate anyone in our Progressive Christian Alliance connection who knows a person affiliated with the PCA or, who would like to serve in that position themselves, to make a nomination or self-nomination, to serve in the role of Treasurer. Please submit a short résumé for yourself or the person nominated to the Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council for our consideration to be appointed to serve out the term of J.T. Ramelis.
The following is the job description for the Treasurer for The Progressive Christian Alliance detailed in the proposed changes for our Constitution and Cannons:
Leadership Council Treasurer Responsibilities
1. Manages finances of the organization.
2. Administrate fiscal matters of the organization
Provide annual budget to the council for members’ approval.
3. Ensures development and council review of financial policies and procedures.
4. Provides monthly financial statements to council members and, upon approval by council members, to PCA membership.
5. Maintain records of donations by membership both individual and congregational and provides end of year tax statements to all who have donated.
6. Prepare and file all IRS tax forms related to 501(c)3 status. 7. Use software to track all income, expenses, etc.
8. Serves a three (3) year term and may not self-succeed into same position. 9. Cannot concurrently chair another committee.
Thank you for your prayerful response. Please send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. Dr. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr.
Chair, Leadership Council
Progressive Christian Alliance ministers Sheldon and Amanda Alley just recently lost their home and all of their possessions to arson. From their YouCaring page:
“We are devastated to have to tell everyone our home was deliberately burned to the ground. For the immediate future thanks to generosity of family we do have a home with basic furnishings and appliances. But this will be temporary. We lost everything. Furnishings and appliances and all basic household things. Even more so we lost all our sentimental items spanning our lifetimes. We have lost various irreplaceable heirlooms, all of Sheldon’s mementos from his time in the Marines, my wedding dress that my daughter wanted to use, my engagement ring, most all our children’s baby photos and keepsakes, our children’s special toys, our Bible collections, our extensive book collection, our special signed books of people we admired, numerous sentimental childhood items, our church supplies including ordination chalices, stoles, etc. It has been ruled an arson and the State Police investigating. Unfortunately because we were buying our farm through a land contract we do not have any insurance on the home and we didn’t foresee the need to get insurance on the contents of the home. We are going to rebuild as soon as we are financial able because we are still making payments on the property. This was our dream farm. This was our slice of heaven on earth. Our early years in ministry was spent in parsonages. We saved as much as possible and invested our life savings into the farm and home. Our ministry focuses on Veterans, PTSD and Domestic Violence support. With this most all the people we serve are unable to support us financially. We have managed to support ourselves through small scale sustainable farming over the years. Due to the events of the vandalism and harassment leading up to the arson we will not be able to farm as effectively this year. Our children are having a difficult time with the situation. Our youngest two have never known any other home. This will be one of our toughest trials but we will recover. We have a wonderful network of family, friends, and colleagues. Anything you do to help will be greatly appreciated.”
Their YouCaring page is here, and there is also more information there if you would like to contribute in other ways. If you can’t contribute financially, please spread the word so that they can get as much help as possible.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the whole Alley family during this time.
The Leadership Council
Since the Membership Proposal that was posted earlier is going to be a big change for the PCA as a whole, we are having a 30 day comment and suggestion period. Since a good deal of questions have already come through both on Facebook and from our mailing list, I will be collating the questions and posting these Q&A posts weekly until the comment period is over.
If you have questions, feel free to comment here, on Facebook, and through the mailing list.
Here are this week’s questions:
- General question from several people: “I’m already ordained, do I need to go through the ordination process again?”
- No. Already ordained clergy will be grandfathered in and only required to pay the yearly dues ($10) and get a new background check if they haven’t done so in the last year.
- From Ford Frazar: “Where do we get a PCA stole?”
- We haven’t been able to find the original supplier, but we are looking for an alternate one. If anyone knows where the original stoles came from, please send that information to the LC.
- From Deborah Hill: “Would PCA be an Association of Professional Chaplains (BCCi) approved endorsing body?”
- Not yet, but our Co-Chair, Beth, is now working on the documentation to make us so. This was one of our first priorities after completely the 501(c)3 process. Please keep an eye on our website for updates.
- Jim Tarvid asked about the minutes as legal documents, and “990’s”
- This is J.T. Ramelis, Treasurer: As of right now we are not required to file a Form 990, as per our 501c3 Approval letter. If that changes, I will certainly file a Form 990.
- Jim also wondered if $10/mo is enough, and about the clergy roster.
- Re: Dues: We welcome suggestions of what you think would be a reasonable rate. We intentionally were keeping rates low since the clergy business doesn’t exactly make one rich. Also, we are planning to eventually have ordination scholarships for those in financial hardship.
- Re: Clergy Roster: Unfortunately, there was some document loss in the last few years between changing of boards, and our current records are incomplete. The online roster was also not a complete record of clergy, since the online listing was voluntary. We are hoping that with this process we’ll be able to have, and then maintain, an up to date roster of all PCA clergy.
- From Antinoë Magdalene on Facebook: As an ordained Wiccan priest, would I be a layperson or affiliated clergy? Or, is the affiliation only for other Christian denominations?
- Since the PCA is a nominally Christian organization, the affiliation process would be for other ordained Christian denominations. As a Wiccan Christian, however, you can get your Christian ordination through the PCA.
Again, if you have more questions, please feel free to comment at the places listed above, or through our contact page.
Thank you for your questions!
Posted in News
The Leadership Council is excited to announce that we are now an official 501(c)3 organization! This opens up a lot of opportunities for our members and the organization as a whole. The Leadership Council is very excited, especially since this status opens us up as a body for sponsoring chaplains, having regular convocations, and being able to do more to support ministries! (This also means that any contribution you make from here on out is tax deductible!)
We’d like to particularly thank our treasurer, J.T., for his heroic feat of paperwork filing that made getting 501(c)3 status not only possibly, but fast!
Thank you all for your support while we went through this process, and we will be grateful for your continued support as we move forward!
Many blessings, and Happy New Year from your Leadership Council!
R. Lawton Higgs, Chair
Beth Beyer Abbott, Co-chair
J.T. Ramelis, Treasurer
Fred-Allen Self, Secretary
Gina Pond, Councillor-at-Large
We are pleased to announce that we have been informed by the IRS that our paperwork has been received and that they are in the process of reviewing our application.
We’d like to thank all of our donors who helped us raise the funds to file our application! We really appreciate the faith and hope you have invested into the Progressive Christian Alliance.
The Leadership Council
Voting is now closed for the Proposed Change to the Constitution. The results from SurveyMonkey are shown below:
There were 30 total votes with 29 “yes” and one “no.” This means that the change has passed.
This means we will update the Constitution and Canons accordingly and move forward with our 501(c)3 filing.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this process!
The Leadership Council
We are nearing the finish line with our application for 501(c)3 status! All the paperwork is in order and our initial incorporation is done, but now the Progressive Christian Alliance needs your help! In order to actually file the paperwork, we need to come up with the $400 filing fee.
This is where you come in: we need your donation to help us be able file for our non-profit status so that we can do more for our members and clergy than we can do right now. Getting this status means we can be an official ordaining body for clergy who would like to do chaplaincy. We’ll be able to do more fundraising for special ministry projects. It’ll help make it possible for us to do annual, or even regional, conferences and gatherings. This status will also help pay for the little things: printing ordination certificates, paying for background checks clergy, and other basic office type necessities.
In short, getting 501(c)3 status will allow us to have the necessary tools to help this organization, and it’s ministry of radical inclusion, grow and move forward!
Click here to go to our donation page and help the Progressive Christian Alliance meet our goal! We suggest a $25 donation, but every little bit counts! Even $1 will help us toward our goal!
Many Blessings and Much Thanks,
The Leadership Council:
R. Lawton Higgs, Chair
Beth Beyer Abbott, Co-chair
J.T. Ramelis, Treasurer
Fred-Allen Self, Secretary
Gina A. Pond, Member-at-Large
Progressive Christian Alliance
Leadership Council Meeting
Friday, July 20, 2016 @ 6 PM CDT
Minutes recorded by Fred-Allen Self
In attendance: Beth Abbott, Gina Pond, Lawton Higgs, James Ramelis,
- Opening Reflection and Prayer by Lawton – Spoke on the Festival of Mary Magdalene, which falls on today. Then Lawton opened in prayer.
- Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting – Motion to accept by Beth Abbott. Seconded by Gina Pond. Approved unanimously.
501c3 discussion; fund raising and fund management – led by JT Ramelis.
- JT has opened a bank account for the Progressive Christian Alliance. Unfortunately, this account will cost $15 per month until we can get our 501(c)3.
- JT will be setting up a PayPal account within the next couple of weeks and will work with F-A and Gina to get a donation button on the website.
- We need $400 to file the non-profit application. The LC discussed different options for receiving donations. It was decided that we will use a PayPal donation button through the website.
- It was decided that the fiscal year should be January – December. This way a new fiscal year will begin as the LC changes.
- Constitution and Canons will be used as bylaws for 501(c)3 application.
- Unanimously adopted a Conflict of Interest statement by acclimation.
Report from Wild Goose Festival July 7-10, 2016
- Lawton and JT both attended.
- JT enjoyed most of the experience and felt that there is huge potential there for an organization like the PCA.
- Lawton made some comments during an interview that were included on a podcast. There was a significant amount of interest in the PCA.
- The first question asked by nearly everyone who came to the tent was, “What do you believe?” There were a number of people looking to see if they could pursue chaplaincy through the PCA.
- There were great compliments on our open Facebook page and how great it is!
RSL Pacific Region and other RSL needs
- There is still no Pacific Region RSL.
- Lawton has made a few phone contacts with current RSLs.
Affiliation & Ordination Documents & Process
- We need a form for the affiliation with the PCA. Our material mentions affiliation, this needs to be a formal process.
- It was discussed that there could be a small fee for the affiliation process. There could be a checkmark on this for those interested in ordination, but it would also be a way for people to be engaged with and connected with the PCA as members.
- F-A and Lawton will work together on creating an affiliation form for the website with Jotform.
- Ordination document still needs more revision. Beth had sent an email with some details that she would like to have revised. F-A received the email, but failed to finish updating the document. F-A will finish the update within the next couple of days and send it to the Leadership Council.
- What do we believe?
- What does ordination in the PCA cost?
- What training does the PCA require for ordination?
- What does this training cost?
- How does a seeker access the training?
- How long does it take to be ordained in the PCA?
- Who recognizes PCA ordination?
- What sacred office does an ordained PCA minister hold?
- PCA Strategic Planning (Vision; Short & Long Term Goals) & Social Media Content Management Strategy (Website, Facebook Groups & Facebook Page) Possible Resource: Content Strategy for the Web, Second Edition by Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach.
PCA Annual Conference at Wild Goose 2017? Cost? Programming?
- We can reserve a larger tent for $3000 or an even larger one for $10,000. There are fundraising partners that could partner with us for the tent to share some of the programming time.
- This would allow us to have a larger presence and host programming at the next Wild Goose festival.
- It would be possible to use this as our Annual Conference for the Progressive Christian Alliance so that our connection could come together and actually meet face-to-face and get to know one another and fellowship and learn from one another.
- An unfortunate drawback to this approach is that there is no Wi-Fi available at Wild Goose which presents a dilemma for an organization such as ours since we do have mostly a web presence.
- Gina mentioned that there are definitely accessibility issues with Wild Goose.
Next meeting date & time: August 12, 2016 @ 6:00
Approved by the Leadership Council on 12 August 2016
The Leadership Council is please to report that the Wild Goose Festival has taken our letter to heart and has come up with a more detailed anti-harassment policy and statement of inclusion. We are quite pleased that we were able to help them ensure the inclusion and safety for LGBTQI persons at their event!
Now, we hope, just like the organizers of the Wild Goose Festival, that the leaders of North Carolina will repeal HB2 to ensure the civil rights and safety for LGBTQI people in that state, particularly transgender persons. The Progressive Christian Alliance stands with Wild Goose Festival and other faith leaders in North Carolina in their fight to repeal this un-Constitutional law!