Category Archives: News

Update from the Leadership Chair: Transitions and Volunteer Opportunity

Hello Friends!

As we move towards Ascension Day, the Progressive Christian Alliance is also moving forward. We have a lot of goals we are looking to accomplish in the next few months, and the behind the scenes work is still going strong.

One bit of sad news is that Matt Self, who has been our interim and elected Treasurer since 2017 has to step down from this role. Matt has worked hard to make sure our organization’s legal paperwork and banking was in good order. I thank him for stepping up, taking on this role, and helping in the work to make the ProgCA better. Thank you Matt for all your hard work and years of service!

While we are all sad about Matt’s departure, we are pleased to announce that Helen Drivick has stepped up to be interim Treasurer for the rest of Matt’s term, and we welcome Helen to the Leadership Council and look forward to working with her!

Marie, our Ordination Chair, is still asking for all previously ordained ProgCA Clergy to please email her (rev.mbatel@gmail.com) with their current information and copies of ordination credentials so we can rebuild our database. Again, we are asking for this so a) we can be able to provide you duplicates in the future if you happen to lose them, and b) so we can be able to make ProgCA clergy referrals when people ask us about clergy in their area.

Work on the new version of the website is continuing. One of the many ways we hope to make your life easier as clergy with the ProgCA with the site update is providing a member’s area where people can access documents and forms, and, if we can make it work, a place where you can possibly re-download your certificates and letters to be reprinted in case you lose your paper copy.

To that end, we are looking for a volunteer to be our WordPress Webmaster. We would like someone who knows WordPress very well, especially someone who has worked with plugins that are useful to non-profits (eg: directories, membership portal plugins, etc.), and knows how to work with and manage templates. This won’t require any server side work, although, you will probably work with the server owners on occasion. Please contact me at leadershipchair@progressivechristianalliance.org if you are interested. We could use someone in this capacity ASAP, as we have a lot of website changes we would like to roll out this summer.

Again, thank you all for your grace and patience as we continue to work on these projects!

May you be blessed during this summer season,

Rev. Gina

Leadership Chair Updates: Changes are Coming!

Hello Friends!

I hope that this season of Lent has been good for everyone! The Leadership Council has been working very hard this Lenten season on making our organization more streamlined and to document and solidify our processes.

Our Council Co-chair Alaina and the Ordination Committee have been working hard on documenting and streamlining our ordination and affiliation processes. This project, as most of you know, is a huge undertaking because it includes not only doing our own internal documentation, but also revising all of our application forms in order to be able to move them from paper to online.

Speaking of moving things online, our website will be moving to a new server in the next few months, and with that we will be re-launching our website with a new template, and, what I hope, will be many improvements!

Marie, our Ordination Chair, is also asking for all previously ordained ProgCA Clergy to please email her (rev.mbatel@gmail.com) with their current information and copies of ordination credentials so we can rebuild our database. We are asking for this so a) we can be able to provide you duplicates in the future if you happen to lose them, and b) so we can be able to make ProgCA clergy referrals when people ask us about clergy in their area.

We hope to have these projects completed by the end of the Summer (if not sooner), and when they are complete, we will start implementing membership, clergy, and church dues. Membership and dues will not only support the organization financially, but include the right to vote in officer and policy elections and the right to run for organizational positions. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY FOR DUES NOW!! We will let you know when when we are ready to accept everyone’s payments, with all relevant instructions. (Although, if you feel like donating, you can certainly do so! And it’s tax deductible!)

If you’ve been wanting to volunteer with the ProgCA, we could certainly use help with these projects! If you have experience with Google forms and WordPress and have the time to help us, please let me or one of the other board members know. We could also use someone who knows WordPress really well to volunteer to not only help with the site transfer, but also with an eye to being an additional webmaster in the future. If that is something you would like to volunteer for, please contact me.

In addition to our website, we will also be reorganising our main Facebook page and groups a bit. Our Member At Large, Rob, will be implementing the following updates:

First, the ProgCA Facebook page will be set up so that all news and announcements from the website will be available on that page, and will be one of the ways you can connect directly with the Leadership Council.

Second, the private ProgCA group will be converted to a closed group for ProgCA Clergy and those in the process of ordination or affiliation. Clergy will be able to connect, share information, and find mutual support. We feel that having this specific space for clergy is incredibly important, since it can help clergy not to feel alone in their callings, mitigate burn out, and help each other find resources that can sometimes be hard to find on one’s own.

We thank you all for your patience and grace as we roll these changes out through the next few months. While we understand that change is hard, we will strive to make things as easy for everyone all as possible!

May your Easter be full of life and light, and the hope that change can bring will be present for you in this season!

Many Blessings,

Rev. Gina

Leadership Chair

PCA Leadership Council Voting Results

Hello Friends!

I’m pleased to announce that the following members have been elected to serve in the following positions for the 2019-2021 term to start on January 1, 2019:

Co-chair: Alaina Cobb

Secretary: Jenny Howard

Member-at-Large: Rob Ponsford

The numerical totals are below:

Thank you to all of the candidates for stepping up, and I look forward to working with Alaina, Jenny, and Rob for the remainder of my term!

Blessings,

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair

Nominations for Co-Chair, Secretary, and Member-at-Large are now open!

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED!

Hello Friends!

It’s board election time again! This year we are holding elections for Co-chair, Secretary, and Member-at-Large to serve a 3 year term (2019-2021).

For all positions: It is important that all nominees are able to work within the Google ecosystem, particularly Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive. The majority of our work is done through these systems since we are an international organization with members all over the world (e.g.: the Leadership Chair lives in Switzerland!). Familiarity with WordPress is also helpful for all positions, and is really desired for the Secretary position (or a strong commitment to learn these systems) so that the Secretary can post minutes and other documents to the website. All nominees will be required to fill out a Membership Form if they haven’t done so in the last year, which will be sent to them by the current Co-chair, Beth Abbott when they send in their nomination.

All potential nominees are reminded that this is a 3 year commitment. Communication is critical in the work that we do! Only 3 unexcused absences from Board meetings are allowed according to our Constitution and Canons. Planned absences can be arranged with the Leadership Chair, but must be communicated in advance. Please consider carefully your ability to maintain your commitment if you do get elected to the Leadership Council. There is a lot of work to be done, and we need committed volunteers! 

Please review the positions below, and if you are interested in running for office, fill out the nomination form below or email your responses to cochair@progressivechristianalliance.org.

Co-Chair Responsibilities:
  1. Performs the Chair’s responsibilities when the Chair cannot be available
  2. Reports to and works closely with the Chair and other LC members.
  3. Performs other responsibilities assigned by the Council.
  4. Responsible for the oversight of the financial aspects of the Progressive Christian Alliance along with the Chair.
  5. Oversees endorsement for specialized ministry.
  6. Serves a three (3) year term and may not self-succeed into the same position.
Secretary Responsibilities:
  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.
  5. Serves a three (3) year term and may not self-succeed into same position. Cannot concurrently chair another committee. In the event the Secretary is unable to fulfill their duties for a period of time, they will notify the Chair as soon as possible so a replacement can be identified.

**In addition to the above, the Secretary should have a strong familiarity with Google Docs, Google Drive, and WordPress, or a strong commitment to learning these systems. Extra special bonus if the nominee has experience with Google Forms!

Member-at-Large Responsibilities:
  1. Acts as a liaison between the council and the membership of PCA as a whole.
  2. Stays in regular connection and communication with the membership of PCA.
  3. Fills in for other leadership council roles in the case of vacancies.
  4. Serves a three year term and may not self-succeed into same position. Cannot concurrently chair another committee.

**In addition to the above, the Member-at-Large will also be the main contact for the Facebook Admins for our online groups, and so should be familiar with how Facebook groups work, preferably know how to be an Admin, or have a strong commitment to learn.

Nominations are open from now until Midnight US Pacific Time on October 31. Voting will begin on November 1 for two weeks.

Any nominations sent on any other platform other than this form, or in an email to the Co-Chair, WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Comments will be closed for this post. If you have any questions about the process, please use our contact form.

Winners of the election will be announced on November 16th, and the newly elected officers will be required to attend the December Leadership Council meeting on December 2, 2018 at 5 PM Eastern/ 4 PM Central/ 2 PM Pacific/ 11 PM Central European Time.

Thank you in advance for volunteering your time to the Progressive Christian Alliance, and I look forward to working with you!

Rev. Gina Pond

Leadership Chair

Following the Wild Goose

“How do you like being on the Leadership Council of an international faith community?” This question, posed by a fellow PCA ordinand, now UCC pastor, made me chuckle. “It feels like some kind of huge cosmic joke,” I replied. Here I am, a 64-year-old Nana, highly introverted, pretty much invisible woman and yet somehow that pesky Wild Goose (Celtic image for the Holy Spirit) has led me to this place. And now I was with over 4,000 people at a campground in the mountains outside of Asheville, NC celebrating how rich life can be when we let go of our plans and allow oneself to live into possibility.

For much of my life, I was a good evangelical. Daughter of a UMC Elder, I always felt most at home when in a church. I followed all of the rules. I believed the creeds. I trusted the denomination to teach me all I needed to know about God. And then, at age 50, a brochure for a Masters in Holistic Spirituality crossed the desk where I was Health Ministries Coordinator for a major local hospital. Shortly after, I had a dream. In it, God asked, “Do you want to go along for the Wild Ride?” And with some fear but also excitement, I said “YES!”

The next 5 years were eye opening for me. I was the student who declared, “If calling God
“Father” was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me. (God bless Sister Cathy, she didn’t argue which I now know took a huge amount of restraint on her part.) Over time I read about so many ways that people understand the Jesus message, that I felt real anger at the UMC. When I tried to discuss this with my father he said, “That isn’t anything new.” That upset me even more. I am an intelligent person. Why should the denomination choose for me what I should or shouldn’t believe? And so, I listened to the Still, Small Voice, urging me to let go and fly.

There were times when I felt totally adrift. Whenever I tried to talk to other Christians about my questions, I was quickly shut down. No one ever said it out loud, but I’m pretty sure they branded me a heretic. One person even corrected me about what the “minimal standard” is for calling oneself a Christian. And his definition wasn’t “love one another.” It was a set of beliefs that no longer held validity in my own understanding. Thankfully, I had a spiritual director who was there to listen to me and support me. In her office I didn’t feel like I was crazy. She made me understand that this was a moment of transformation for me. I wasn’t a failure as a Christian, I was growing! The Wild Goose had taken flight and I was truly along for the Wild Ride.

Jump ahead to this summer and the Wild Goose Festival. Here I was, surrounded by other “misfits.” We were messy in our spirituality and not afraid to say it because we knew that the others sitting with us were living a similar path. We don’t pretend to have answers any more. Instead, we are learning to be comfortable living with our questions. Always seeking. Always expanding. What a place of freedom!

My favorite T-shirt last year was worn by a ginger haired, teenage boy with a captivating smile. It read, “This is the gay the LORD has made.” This year’s shirt winner was “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” But a new question was on the horizon. What exactly does it mean to be a Progressive Christian? For some, it means being LGBTQ+ affirming. And that’s a good start. But being progressive, for many of us, means much more than that. It means being open and supportive of how the Greater is at work in each of us. No exceptions. And that is hard. At Wild Goose Festival, I’ve been with Shamanic Christians, Wiccan Christians, Presbyterians, Quakers, United Methodists, UCC folk, ELCA folk, Episcopalians, Humanists, Atheists, and even Baptists. And none of us tried to convince the other that they were wrong. We gathered around tables and in workshops and were authentic. And it was like a glimpse of heaven on earth. The Psalmist said it best, “How good it is when people can live in harmony.”

It has been my privilege to serve on the Leadership Council of the Progressive Christian Alliance. Our open FaceBook page has well over 6,000 members. We offer a place where folks on the margin, folks expanding the margins, and folks who feel invisible can be authentic. Can ask questions and know they will be heard. A place like Wild Goose Festival where we can define for ourselves what it means to be a Progressive Christian and no one will shame us. For we’re all on a journey of Spirit. And who knows where that Wild Goose will take us next?

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

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 Page, Meeting Minutes, and Regular LC Meeting Time

Hello Friends!

We have now created a page that lists the Leadership Council and relative contact information. This page will also list the year’s Council Meeting Minutes. All meeting minutes will be posted there as well as being posted on this blog as they become approved.

Click here to go to the new Leadership Council Page and see past Leadership Council minutes.

Also, at our meeting last night we set up a regular stated Leadership Council meeting time. Our regularly stated meetings will be the 1st Sundays of the month at 5 PM Central time. If you would like to submit anything to the Leadership Council for consideration, please send your submission to the Council Chair one week prior to the stated meeting.

Here are October’s approved meeting minutes: PCA Leadership Council Minutes for October 21, 2017

We hope you all have had a good Fall season, and wish you many blessings as we enter the Advent and Christmas season!

Election Results

Hi Friends!

Here are the results for the elections of Leadership Chair and Treasurer. Screenshots are taken directly from SurveyMonkey.

Leadership Chair

Total  Votes: 31

Rev. Gina Pond: 22

Rev. Jerry Joyce: 9

Votes Skipped: 0

Treasurer

Total Votes: 27

Matthew Self: 27

Votes Skipped: 4

 

Congratulations to Rev. Gina Pond and Matthew Self!

 

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