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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

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

Retirement of Rev. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr. from Leadership Council

Friends,

The Leadership Council is saddened to announce that Rev. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr is retiring from his role as Leadership Council Chair. Lawton has been an active member of the PCA for several years and has served as the Southeast Regional Servant Leader before serving as Leadership Council Chair for the last year and a half.

During Lawton’s tenure as chair, the Progressive Christian Alliance has finally reached it’s goal of becoming an official non-profit organization, getting IRS designation as a 501(c)3 organization, working towards becoming an endorsing body for chaplains, and revising the membership policies to create a stronger foundation for the organization.

We thank him for his service to the Progressive Christian Alliance and send him prayers for good health and wish him and his family well.

Rev. Gina Pond will be taking on the role of interim Council Chair, and more information will be forthcoming about Leadership Council elections.

Sincerely,

The Leadership Council:

Rev. Gina Pond – Interim Chair

Rev. Beth Abbott – Co-chair

Rev. Fred-Allen Self – Secretary

Matthew Self – Treasurer

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. 

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes for April 22, 2016

PCA Leadership Council Meeting Minutes

April 22, 2016 @ 6 PM CDT

In attendance: Fred-Allen Self, James Ramelis, Lawton Higgs, Gina Pond

After technology adventures the meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM.

  • Opening Reflection and Prayer – Lawton
  •  Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting – Approved unanimously.
    •  Fred-Allen will post meeting minutes to the website and Facebook.
    • Gina will post to the email list.
  •  Approve Agenda – unanimously approved.

Old Business

  • Web site domain name & hosting
    • Fred-Allen and Gina will work together on revamping the website.
    • Beth asked how we will go about compiling the clergy list for the website? Gina said it will all be voluntary and could be done through email/website/Facebook.
    • Look into hosting affiliation forms into website.
    • There is a problem with our emails going into spam folders of RSLs. Emails are being missed because of this. Gina proposed a solution of having that administrators forwarding the emails to the correct person.
    • Gina, Beth, and Fred-Allen will serve as administrators for the info list and forward emails to the correct person.
    • Lawton will take responsibility to create a directory of LC members and RSLs.
  • Facebook administration
    • Things are going VERY well with the Facebook group! We have a great admin team in place and it’s become a place for great dialog.
  • Ordination Committee and ordination & affiliation process
    • Ordination application and materials need to be updated.
    • Fred-Allen will update the ordination application to an editable form and edit the address to which it is remitted and send it to the PCA LC.
  • 501c3 discussion & fund raising and fund management
    •  J. T. gave an update on the process of the 501c3 filing.
    • A large stumbling block is the incorporation. J. T. needs the incorporation paperwork in order to move on the process.
    • Lawton will make contact to get the incorporation papers.
    • If it is necessary we will move ahead with a new incorporation.
    • This has been approved unanimously by the LC.
  • Wild Goose Festival July 7-10, 2016
    • Lawton suggests that if anyone would like to attend to register and we can plan a meet-up time for everyone in attendance.
    • Gina has concerns about attending Wild Goose because of a lack of protections for LGBTQ individuals there.

New Business

  • RSL Pacific Region and other RSL Needs
    • John Contabile has resigned as RSL from the Pacific Region.
    • Lawton has accepted and responded to this resignation. As such there is a need for a new RSL in this region.
    • Gina suggested a friend of hers, an ordained PCA minister, for Pacific RSL: Debra Newcomb. Gina will reach out. If she is interested then Lawton will reach out to her.
    • The LC would like to invite the RSLs to a LC meeting in the future.
  • Rev. David Gray’s PCA Rites development
    • Rev. David Gray is interested in developing rites for the PCA, such as baptism, naming, etc…
    • Beth and Fred-Allen both mentioned resources they had developed that they would be happy to share as well.
    • It was discussed to create a repository of these materials and make them available.
  • Jerry Joyce Veterans Healthcare Justice Letter
    • Letter has not been received yet, this will tabled to the next meeting.
  • Possible PCA Statement on State Oppression of LGBTQ persons
    • The LC has decided that we will make an official statement on HB2 and send it to the Wild Goose Festival as well as to the Governor.
    • Gina will draft the letter and send it to the LC for approval.

Other Business

  • Next meeting date & time: May 20, 2016 – 6:00 PM CDT

**These minutes were approved for publication at the May 20, 2016 meeting.