501(c)3 Update

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.

Many thanks,

The Leadership Council

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – August 2016

Note from the Board: We apologize for the lag in the posting of meeting minutes. We will be posting the backlog as soon as we possibly can.

Minutes:  PCA Leadership Council

August 12, 2016

Present:  Lawton Higgs, Sr, Beth Abbott (recording secretary), Gina Pond, J.T. Ramelis

Absent: Fred-Allen Self

 

Opening Reflection and Prayer:  Matthew 5:15  Lawton spoke of the need for us as PCA and PCA leaders to be light in the darkness of today’s world.  Lawton asked Beth to lead the opening reflection and prayer for the September meeting.

 

July Minutes Approved  JT made motion, Gina seconded, consensus of approval.

 

Treasurer’s Report $50 from JT is in account we opened to receive contributions for the 501c3 application and administrative costs for PCA.  When we receive our 501c3 status, the cost per month will drop from $15/month to $10/month if we keep a $500 balance.

 

501c3

In order to submit the 501c3, we will have to make a minor change in the wording of our Constitution and Canons (C&C) article VI.  Because there has been mis-use of 501c3 status by other people, the IRS strongly suggests that any monies in a 501c3 account be transferred into another tax-exempt account upon dissolution.

 

The following wording was approved and will be sent to membership for a vote for the change.  The request for vote will be sent out via e-mail and posted on the PCA private Facebook wall for 30 days to comply with the C&C.  Gina will create a Survey Monkey questionnaire and send out the emails three times as required.  She will create a rotation of LC members for postings with the link on the Facebook wall so that it is more visible and less “spam-like.”

 

from: In the event of liquidation or dissolution of the Progressive Christian Alliance all of its assets and property of every nature and description whatsoever shall be paid over and transferred at the direction of the trustees to the individual congregations and affiliated ministries

 

to: In the event of liquidation or dissolution of the Progressive Christian Alliance, all of its assets and property of every nature and description whatsoever shall be paid over and transferred at the direction of the Leadership Council to PCA 501c3 congregations, 501c3 affiliated ministries or any 501c3 agencies.

 

 

 

Fund raising, PayPal and fund management

In the past, all administrative costs have been paid for by the Leadership Council or volunteers.  As we move forward to be recognized as a global entity, it is important to make PCA self-sufficient monetarily. Additionally, we believe that if people find value in our organization, they should support it with time, talents and financially.  Gina and Fred-Allen will work with J.T. to get a PayPal button set up on the website for donations.  We need $400 for the 501c3.  PayPal takes 2.7% of each donation and charges a 30 cent surcharge.  EXAMPLE: If someone makes a $10 donation, PCA receives $9.43.  If we were to set up a Facebook button, an additional 3.1% would be removed and so we hope to only need the website button.

 

Affiliation and Ordination

Gina and Fred-Allen have backgrounds in quality control and are working to create an updated affiliation document.  Included will be multiple categories: individual (member and requesting ordination separated), clergy, dual clergy and institutional/church.  It was suggested that a small yearly fee ($25) be attached to individual memberships.  This will serve multiple purposes.  It will give us a way to document the number of members for accounting.  It will help fund administrative costs.  It will create a greater sense of “ownership” among the members.  It will help us create a current database for emailing information about PCA and PCA events in the future.

 

It has been recommended that those seeking ordination first affiliate, then they will be linked to a Regional Servant Leader.  A handbook will be made for RSL’s so that the process for meeting standards for ordination is standardized.  We do not want to lose the flexibility of the current system, but do want consistency across regions.  For future discussion:  Cost for affiliation and for clergy;  turning the applicants over to an Ordination Committee chaired by the Co-Chair of PCA; process for mentoring applicants with minimal formal education who are requesting ordination; resources for candidates and RSLs.

 

One of the challenges in ordination is the criminal background check.  These vary from state to state and it is difficult to know whether we are meeting the standards of safety we feel are non-negotiable.  JT will check in with his local sheriff to see if he can give us some guidelines and/or links for candidates to utilize.  Once we receive 501c3 status, the LC can (with adequate funds) do the necessary background checks.

 

The ordination of Julian Adams was approved pending OK of the background check submitted.

 

 

PCA UK

Since Lawton became Chair, a relationship between the UK PCA and our LC has been increasing.  Recently, David Gray reported ordinations of: Charlotte Hughes, Clive Larson, Jackie Glover, and Marc Roberts and gave a brief overview of their ministries in Great Britain.  It was unanimously approved that Lawton send our blessings to these newest PCA clergypersons.

 

Additionally, we have received a copy of the Promise of PCA Ministers that clergy in the UK sign.  It was approved to add this to our PCA ordinations.

 

As a minister with the Progressive Christian Alliance I promise:

  • To seek to follow the example of Jesus in offering unconditional love, healing, wisdom and affirmation from an inclusive heart that values all people regardless of faith, gender, age, ability, sexuality or any other aspect of human identity.
  • To share my story with a willingness to listen openly to other people’s stories without proselytizing.
  • To seek the good in other people, beings, places and in life’s situations.
  • To develop a daily spiritual practice that while rooted in Christianity may be informed by the cosmic Christ-Buddha nature.
  • To examine my own ego, prejudices and habits against the unfolding revelation of love.
  • To serve my community, especially those of its members who are vulnerable or marginalized.
  • To constructively challenge systems and institutions that are failing to serve the human family and nature herself in the best way possible.
  • To provide and up to date enhanced background check to those seeking my services should this be requested.
  • To take personal responsibility for my words and actions and seek to ensure that the credibility of my ministry is not defiled by them.

…so help me Godde.

 

Name:                                     Signature:                                           Date:

 

 

Next meeting: September 23 at 6:00 CST. 

Proposed Change to Constitution Voting Results

Hello Friends,

Voting is now closed for the Proposed Change to the Constitution. The results from SurveyMonkey are shown below:

surveyresults

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!

Sincerely,

The Leadership Council

Reminder: 501(c)3 Fundraiser and Constitution Change

Hi Friends!

We are so close to our goal of raising $400 to file for our official 501(c)3 status. If you would like to donate and haven’t yet, please click here.

We also have an amendment proposal for our constitution that is required to be in our constitution by the IRS for 501(c)3 status. If you haven’t read about it or voted, please click here.

Thank you so much for your support! The Leadership Council is very excited about this very important stage in our organization’s development, and once we’ve filed, we hope we can serve our community even better!

Many Blessings,
Rev. Gina
Councillor-at-Large

Proposed Change to Constitution

To the Members of the Progressive Christian Alliance,

The Leadership Council, per Article VII of our Constitution, is required to get a vote from the membership, with a 30 day comment period, when we need to change any part of the Constitution and Canons.

In order to submit our 501(c)3 application, we are required by the IRS to change the wording of Article VI to clarify who or what organizations will get the Progressive Christian Alliance’s assets in the event that the Progressive Christian Alliance is either liquidated or dissolved. Because there has been mis-use of 501(c)3 status by other people, the IRS strongly suggests that any monies in a 501(c)3 account be transferred into another tax-exempt account upon dissolution.

The following wording was approved by the Leadership Council and now requires a vote by the membership to approve the following change:

from: In the event of liquidation or dissolution of the Progressive Christian Alliance all of its assets and property of every nature and description whatsoever shall be paid over and transferred at the direction of the trustees to the individual congregations and affiliated ministries.

to: In the event of liquidation or dissolution of the Progressive Christian Alliance, all of its assets and property of every nature and description whatsoever shall be paid over and transferred at the direction of the Leadership Council to PCA 501c3 congregations, 501c3 affiliated ministries or any 501c3 agencies.

Per the constitution, voting will be open for the next 30 days to allow for comment and discussion. Voting will open today and expire on September 30, 2016 and the results will be posted within a week of closing date (if not sooner).

Please vote using the box below, or, if you have issues with the box below, click here to go to the SurveyMonkey website.

Thank you for your participation in this process, and we appreciate your patience as we move closer to 501(c)3 status!

 

Create your own user feedback survey

501(c)3 Filing Fundraiser!

Friends,

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

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – July 2016

 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,

                                      Fred-Allen Self

 

  • 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.

 

Old Business

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.

 

New Business

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.
  • Discussion Questions:
  1. What do we believe?
  2. What does ordination in the PCA cost?
  3. What training does the PCA require for ordination?
  4. What does this training cost?
  5. How does a seeker access the training?
  6. How long does it take to be ordained in the PCA?
  7. Who recognizes PCA ordination?
  8. 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.

 

Other Business

                   Next meeting date & time: August 12, 2016 @ 6:00

 

Approved by the Leadership Council on 12 August 2016

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – June 2016

Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council Meeting

June 24, 2016 @ 6 PM CDT

In attendance: JT Ramelis, Beth Abbott, Gina Pond, Fred‐Allen Self, Lawton Higgs

 Opening Reflection and Prayer – Lawton Higgs, LC

 Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting – approved unanimously

 Approve Agenda – amended agenda to include discussion on statement of faith and logo. Afterward approved.

Old Business

 501c3 discussion; fund raising and fund management

‐ Statement from JT: “I James T. Ramelis , as incorporator of The Progressive Christian Alliance in the State of Michigan do hereby cede all power and decision making responsibility of said corporation to The Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council to act as determined by guidelines set forth by The Progressive Christian Alliance. James T. Ramelis shall henceforth have only the responsibility for his position as a member of the Leadership Council and Treasurer of The Progressive Christian Alliance.”

‐ JT moved that LC accepts his ceding power for the incorporation to the LC. ‐ Gina seconded. ‐ Passed unanimously.

‐ Discussed the need for a bank account for the PCA for 501(c)3 purposes.

‐ Discussed setting up a business PayPal account for the PCA to receive donations online and any other payments.

‐ Beth motioned that JT move forward on acquiring a bank account and setting up a business PayPal. ‐ Gina seconded. ‐ Passed unanimously. JT will set up a bank account and business PayPal. Gina and Fred‐Allen will set up a donation page on the website.

 Wild Goose Festival July 7‐10, 2016

‐ JT and Lawton will be attending. They will be taking business cards and PCA brochures to give out.

‐ Beth has written a statement to go on the Wild Goose website. She will be putting this into a PDF. ‐ Talked about setting up a hashtag so people can follow the PCA experiences at Wild Goose.

‐ It was also discussed that we might post to the Facebook page daily with pictures.

 RSL Pacific Region and other RSL Needs

‐ Lawton has reached out to the RSLs to start a conversation and get to know each of them.

‐ We are still looking for a Pacific Region RSL.

‐ We need to schedule a joint meeting with the RSLs and the LC to nail down

procedures and how things are done.

New Business

 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.

‐ Discussed adding PCA clergy listings to the website. This would include all ministers ordained by the PCA.

‐ We have many diverse groups, but need to work on making the messaging and everything consistent through our entire presence.

‐ Lawton has suggested using the above listed resource as a way to help us create a cohesive presence online.

‐ Had a lengthy discussion about PCA processes and the need to have clear policies on how to handle all situations. Processes that are both known and easily accessible.

‐ Lawton will reach out to RSLs via email with ordination processes and try to get with each of them.

Other Business

Next meeting date & time: July 22, 6:00 PM

 

These minutes were approved as is on July 22, 2016 by the members of the leadership council. 

Progressive Christian Alliance LC Meeting Minutes 5.20.16

 

In attendance: Lawton Higgs Sr. (Chair), Gina Pond (Member at Large), J.T. Ramelis (Treasurer), Beth Beyer Abbott (Co-Chair and Recording Secretary for this meeting).

Excused: Fred-Allen Self (Secretary)

Reflection by Lawton speaking to the awesome privilege of being called by God in a variety ways, yet connected to one another through PCA.  He continued with a reading from Exodus, the story of Moses and the burning bush.  “The place where you are standing is Holy ground.”  He also reflected on how God meets humankind in so many ways, including nature.

Minutes approved

Agenda approved

Introduction  Lawton spoke of his study of the Constitution and Canons of PCA and our commitment as a LC to upholding those.  Copies have been sent by email to all LC members for our review as we consider PCA business.

501c3  JT reported previously submitted incorporation papers are unable to be accessed.  Incorporation is necessary to apply for 501c3 status. As a result, we are incorporating in Michigan as Progressive Christian Alliance.

We are incorporating as a directorship with the LC as the Directors, but this does not change our polity.  Our members will continue to vote for any changes to the Constitution and Canons.  The LC will be the legal representatives of PCA as a corporation.  When the LC changes, they will, in turn, become the directors.  JT plans to send the incorporation papers in next week and will send the final copy to the LC members by email for review prior to submitting to Michigan.  He has graciously offered to cover the cost of the application.  There was a question about whether this needs to be voted on by the members.  Lawton confirmed that this is not a change in polity, it is simply providing structure for the future of PCA under the current Constitution and Canons.  JT is wording answers on this form so it is congruent to the requirements of the 501c3 application to facilitate the next step in this process.

There was much discussion about what applying for 501c3 status means for our members.   This incorporation and eventual filing for 501c3 status will make us legally recognizable and credible as a denomination as we move forward, which is a key in getting approval for our chaplains to be recognized as clergy by accrediting bodies.  It will not make PCA responsible for financial or other actions taken by local ministries.  It will not change polity or require an amendment to the Constitution and Canons.

We thanked JT for his hard work in moving this forward.  It is our understanding  that once this is approved, we can begin functioning as a 501c3, even before the 501c3 paperwork is submitted.  JT will have a final word on this shortly after the paperwork is filed.

Financial Infrastructure and Financial Planning Policies will need to be created.  Lawton asked JT to begin putting these together before we gather a finance committee. Those policies will need to be voted on by our members as they will be an addition to the Constitution and Canons.

Monies will need to be raised for the 501c3 submission which will cost approximately $850.  We can begin raising funds, even before becoming a tax exempt institution.  Gina suggested we consider a Go Fund Me and invite folks on the open page to help us in this process.  With small donations, we can likely make this goal.

Wild Goose Festival  The response to our letter to the organizers of Wild Goose about LGBTQ inclusion and policies for the event was swift and more than we had hoped for.  The Festival organizers shared that Gina’s suggestions from other similar events helped to facilitate their revisions.  They have offered us space for a tent and Lawton and Kevin Higgs plan to attend with brochures and to be a face for PCA.  Lawton also hopes to have some kind of meet-up with others who are on our Facebook pages.  Gina is unable to attend.  Beth is going to contact friends to see if anyone is available to travel with her to the event.  JT is planning to attend.

RSL  Business  Gina spoke with Debra Newcomb and she is unable be John Contabile’s replacement for West Coast RSL.  Lee Whitaker was suggested.  At one time, John asked about having an assistant and it was suggested we contact him to see if that was ever initiated and if so whether that person would be willing to be the West Coast RSL.  Beth reviewed and will email the names of those on the West Coast who have been ordained so that Lawton can look into whether any would be a good fit.  Gina had other names from previous contact with John Contabile.

We have a person who contacted us from Africa about ordination.  We’ve been considering who might be the mentor for him.  Beth suggested we ask the RSL’s if there is anyone who wants to be in that relationship with him.  Lawton will contact the RSL’s about this.  In the meantime, Gina has replied and apologized for our delay as we seek the right person for his needs.

 

A church in FL recently contacted us about connecting with PCA and there was no follow up from the RSL for the region causing them to withdraw.  We are cognizant of the challenges of volunteers and some discussion took place about the demands of the position and how to prevent things like this from happening in the future.  The RSL did say that contact would be made, but if that has happened, we are not aware.  This does not represent who we want to be as an organization.

Statement of Inclusion  Gina would like body size added to our statement of inclusion.  Lawton asked her to put together a copy and we will take it to the membership for a vote.

Next Meeting:  Friday, June 24 at 6:00 CST

Respectfully submitted, Beth Beyer Abbott

Approved by LC 6.24.16

Dear Friends,

Our Progressive Christian Faith was born of the Spirit in the face of the tyranny of hate and violence in our culture. This continued tyranny expressed at Mother Emmanuel in Charlestown and Pulse 1 in Orlando and in many other venues is our ongoing call to strive for the grace of the Mind of Christ and to exercise our gifts accordingly.

Let us preach love and restorative justice to the limit of the faith that has given to us; let us give loving serving attendance to the oppressed among us, the LBGTQ community, the immigrant, people of color, those in prison, the poor and religious minorities.
Let us cheer one another on, inspire each other, pep one another up in the work of social justice and radical inclusion.
May we be conscientious in paying attention to the task given to us as The Progressive Christian Alliance; giving the degree of care required in the current situation with a preserving determination to the performance of compassion for all God’s creation.
Grace & Peace,
R. Lawton  Higgs
Leadership Council Chair