Author Archives: Admin

Updates from the Chair: Welcome to our Newly Ordained Clergy and Other Updates

Hi Friends!

Hope you all are having a great summer and staying cool! 

Updates to the website are still moving forward, and it’s really looking great. I think folks will be really happy with the new design once it’s out. We’re also working on making a member’s area, and putting all of our forms online. I’d like to thank Rev. Alain, Rev. Marie, and Rev. John Propper for doing a lot of hard work to make this possible! I’m hoping we can do some of the roll out by the end of August, beginning of September, with full roll out to happen in November. 

Marie, our Ordination Chair, is still asking for all previously ordained ProgCA Clergy to please email her (rev.mbatel@gmail.com) with their credentials so we can update our files. 

In other ordination news, I’d like to congratulate our newest group of ordinands who were approved by the Leadership Council at our July meeting:

  • Rob Ponsford
  • Ahmondra McClendon 
  • Mark Slater
  • Jonny Diane Thompson 
  • Anna Golladay

Welcome the ProgCA family! 

Rev. Rob, our Member-at-Large, has been working on a revision of our online Covenant (which governs conduct on our Facebook groups). We hope to have that out to you soon. 

As we move into the waning part of the year, I’d like to thank all of you who make the Progressive Christian Alliance possible. I see a lot of the work for love, inclusion, and justice that you all do, and I am so proud of you all! You are fulfilling your calls in the best ways possible, and it is amazing to see the gifts you bring to the table! 

We have many tough battles to fight right now, but I believe that we are doing what Jesus commanded us to do, and that is radical all by itself!

May your work be blessed, and may we always strive for more love, compassion, justice, and inclusion!

In the many names of Spirit, 

Rev. Gina

Updates from the Leadership Chair: Short Summer Update

Hello Friends!

A blessed Pentecost and Summer Solstice (or Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere) to you! 

Things are still moving apace with behind the scenes updates. 

Marie, our Ordination Chair, is still asking for all previously ordained ProgCA Clergy to please email her (rev.mbatel@gmail.com) with their credentials so we can update our files.

Rev. Jon Popper will be helping us with parts of our new website. Thank you Jon for volunteering! 

We will be doing a live Q&A session on YouTube where you can ask questions about the ProgCA, get information about when we’ll be collecting dues, and exchange ideas. We’re shooting for the end of August or the beginning of September for this. Keep an eye out, or subscribe to this blog, to know when the exact dates will be. 

And finally, as a reminder, if you’d like to propose anything to the Leadership Council, please let any of the Council members know up to a week before our next scheduled meeting, and we will put it on the agenda. Our meetings are the 1st Sunday of the month at 5 PM Eastern Time US/11 pm Central European Time.

May your summer be full of blessings!

Rev. Gina

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

The Progressive Christian Alliance and its place in the Independent Sacramental Movement

For me the PCA is very much a part of the Independent Sacramental Movement or at least a part of it is. But before I go into that some reading this may be going the Independent what?

So lets start with that from Wikipedia which in this instance is actually not that bad of a place to start as it gives a brief overview:

The Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM) is a collection of sacramental Christian individuals and groups (and, depending on how one draws boundaries, some Christo-Pagans and Thelemites) who are not part of historic sacramental Christian denominations such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches. Many in the ISM originated in schisms from sacramental Christian denominations, and claim to preserve the historical episcopate or apostolic succession, though this claim by some of these churches would be seriously questioned,[why?] if not rejected,[why?] by the ecclesiastical authorities of Rome,[1] Constantinople, Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic), and Canterbury. The Union of Utrecht and some jurisdictions[which?] within the Anglican Communion have engaged in ecumenical conversation with some groups[which?] which could be included in the ISM.[according to whom?]

Most of the churches listed by ISM adherents as being part of the movement have no historic connection to the movement and share almost nothing with this movement other than apostolic succession. In addition, some churches or other groups which are structurally similar to each other but which do not claim apostolic succession have been claimed by ISMsources as part of their movement.[clarification needed (see talk)]

Groups within the ISM (often known as Independent CatholicOld CatholicLiberal Catholic, Autocephalous Orthodox, Free Sacramental,[further explanation needed] etc.) have a number of common characteristics:[according to whom?]

  • solitary clergy and small groups
  • centrality of the sacramental life (especially the Eucharist)
  • a mediatory priesthood mostly composed of volunteers
  • ordination potentially available to a significant percentage of the membership
  • experimentation in theology, liturgy, and/or church structure.[further explanation needed]

The term was popularized in 2005 by John Plummer, in The Many Paths of the Independent Sacramental Movement,[2] although it was used earlier, in 2002 by Richard Smoley, in Inner Christianity,[3] and perhaps first used in the mid-1970s by a short-lived cooperative organization called the Synod of Independent Sacramental Churches.[speculation?] ISMgroups range from the broadly inclusive[example needed] (including marriage of same-sex couples and the ordination of women) to the socially conservative;[example needed] also from the traditionally orthodox to the esoteric, although the term is most commonly employed to refer to the liberal end of the spectrum. While the term “Independent Sacramental” originated as an etic description,[by whom?] it has been used increasingly as an emic self-description by members of some of these churches and groups.

Currently, just as within the new monasticism movement, interspiritual expressions are arising.

So our brothers and sisters in Churches like the Old Catholic Apostolic Church or Liberal Catholic Church are generally and example of the Independent Sacramental Movement(ISM) but as hinted at in the Wiki entry above that isn’t necessarily it.

Indeed the ISM comprises of Independent Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Franciscans, and more really if you can think of a Christian denomination you will likely find a branch within the ISM.

My reason for stating the PCA or at least a part of the PCA is indeed a part of this movement is varied but let’s looks at the shared characteristics that the Wiki entry gave and go from there.

  • solitary clergy and small groups

We of course in general really do fit the mold for this or we at least tend to start out this way, we tend to start off as a small group of like minded people indeed one could the formation of the PCA was based on this.

  • a mediatory priesthood mostly composed of volunteers

We are all volunteers here, those of us lucky to make a living doing ministry do so in what would be called a self supporting manner, or also have secular work that enable us to live and we run our ministry in conjunction with secular work. There is something very Apostle like in this manner or at least in my opinion there is.

  • ordination potentially available to a significant percentage of the membership

Yes indeed we fit this perfectly, and there isn’t much point in elaborating on this further, not in the context of this blog anyway.

  • Experimentation in theology, liturgy, and/or church structure.

It has been mentioned by myself on the Facebook page before and I will do so again you will not likely find such a diverse group of theological and liturgical diversity as you find in the PCA and each of who do Ministry will likely have varying degrees of structure and Liturgy used.

Of course you may have noticed I missed one of the common characteristics out from that Wiki entry and my reason for doing so goes back to the start of this blog, the PCA or at least a part of the PCA is a part of the ISM and it is because of this characteristic:

  •  centrality of the sacramental life (especially the Eucharist)

This is where my interest in History also comes into play, I have been told repeatedly from different members of the PCA who have been around a lot longer than my few years, who have said that one or two of the original founders had very much in mind a very sacramental orientated life and form of ministry.

Now obviously the PCA in its modern incarnation has a much broader range of ministers and layity and congregants, ranging from this very traditional sort of view point to those who are at the polar opposite end of the spectrum who would not have a high view of Christ for example or who have a faith completely outside of the Christian tradition.

For me one of the most educational and rewarding aspects of the PCA is this diversity of thought and belief, but also that we all have a strength of faith that allows us to express our views on faith, on theological matters without descending into labeling each other heretics and the like. However in my own ministry and in the ministry of those who do have a more traditional view of Ministry I look to a number of fellow countrymen and women who like me are Independent Anglicans, or my Brothers and Sisters who given recent events are now independent Methodists, and across the globe those of us in the PCA who as I said have a more traditional view of ministry but are considered too Liberal from the traditions we have come from.

For me and for those that I have just mentioned and those I have not mentioned, where the Sacraments especially the Eucharist is very much central to our lives, it is this part of the PCA that is without question as part of ISM, sharing all the common characteristics of Churches that are part of ISM.

You may say Rob, ahh but that Wiki entry mentions Apostolic Succession, Indeed for many Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and a few others this is a important thing, the reason of course relates to the validity of ordinations within these said churches, Rome itself has stated publicly that for churches like the Old Catholic Apostolic Church (Churches that typically trace succession back to the Union of Utrecht which rejected doctrines of the first Vatican Council)

Bishops that have performed ordinations without the consent of Rome or the Papacy are Valid but Illicit, of course as already mentioned some of the ISM don’t place any emphasis on the Apostolic succession as they believe as backed up by scripture that God and their faith in Christ have called them to a royal priest hood (1Peter 2:9).

Some of us within the PCA of course may have come from being Priest in other denominations certainly if any of us are former Catholic, Anglican priests etc then they would have a line of Apostolic succession which in most church structures is performed by a Bishop, however the PCA doesn’t use these titles preferring and I think rather appropriately titles like Servant Leader. My point being is that for those where Apostolic Succession is of the up most importance the PCA in some situations can follow this.

That isn’t to take away from those within the PCA who don’t put any importance in such things or for those that feel no connection with the ISM as I said for the PCA only a part of us is in the ISM and that is because of the mass breadth and diversity present in the PCA.

The reason that I have wanted to write this blog is to really reach those within the PCA who may have an interest or feel a call and connection to this part of the PCA and how this part of the PCA is connected to a wider movement that itself is centuries old.

In fact speaking as both the Member at Large of the PCA, currently seeking Ordination and currently in Ministry that falls within the ISM a lot of our thinking and theology can be traced back to the early Church Fathers, such as Origin, Gregory of Nyssa, all the way to more recent theologians such as Karl Barth, Rob Bell, Steve Chalke, Robin Parry and many more. The point is of course that this makes us both new and old at the same time something that I find deeply ironic but also with something that I feel Gods guiding hand in.

The PCA is a broad church of diversity and theological discussion and persuasion as mentioned already (perhaps as an Anglican its why I feel drawn to it the way I do) but this blog intention has not been to separate or divide the PCA with those who hold a similar view to me and those who don’t, but rather make aware those who share my views or similar views of the deep history that we have as a part of the ISM.

As time goes on I intend to write more on the Independent Sacramental Movement and within my own Ministry and in my capacity as the PCA member at Large is to build some more connections with other churches within the ISM such as the Old Catholic Apostolic Church, The Open Episcopal Church etc.

But it goes to show just how Universal Christ’s Church truly is and I hope those who have read this have found it informative and have at the very least been able to detect the deep passion involved with writing this, even those who don’t consider themselves within the ISM but now understand how the PCA or a part of the PCA is clearly a part of the ISM.

God bless.

Rob Ponsford          

Member at Large

Progressive Christian Alliance

Updates and Changes for the Progressive Christian Alliance

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”


— C. JoyBell c

Hello, Friends!

There is a lot of change happening in the background for the Progressive Christian Alliance. I know that we have been promising change for awhile now, and while we had some roadblocks last year getting these changes off the ground, we are now moving full steam ahead!

The biggest project we are working on, is implementing our membership program for laity, clergy, and churches, and streamlining our ordination process. Our Ordination Committee Chair, Rev. Marie Bat’el and our Leadership Co-char, Rev. Alaina Cobb will be working on improving our document systems and making the process more clear for both those seeking ordination and for our Ordination Committee Mentors. I’m hoping that we’ll have this process fully fleshed out and in place by the end of this Summer.

Another major project will be updating our website. Along with the new membership process, we are also planning to add a progressive Christian resource page for clergy and laity, bringing back the ProgCA Clergy Directory,  and many other enhancements. If you have any ideas for resources that should go on the resource page, please feel free to send it to us.

Some other future projects that we have in the pipeline are:

  • Launch of our YouTube channel where we can showcase videos of our clergy and churches in action.
  • Livestream Q&A sessions with the Leadership Council on YouTube
  • Launch of mailing lists for members to receive news directly about ProgCA happenings.
  • A possible online Convocation for 2020.

We hope that you will continue to have patience with us as these projects come into fruition. The Progressive Christian Alliance is completely run by volunteers and it may seem that these changes are slow, but I assure you, we are doing our best to make sure we can serve all of you as well as we possibly can.

If you have suggestions, or would like to volunteer to help with any of these projects, please contact us!

Again, thank you all for your patience and grace during this time of change. Change is never easy, but I hope, in the end, we will become a stronger and more efficient organization.

Blessings,

Rev. Gina

To our fellow United Methodist Church LGBTQA and LGBTQA-allied Siblings

Psalm 44:23-26 Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

It is with hearts made heavy by the weight of shared hope and justice denied that we the Progressive Christian Alliance join with our faithful siblings in the United Methodist Church in lamenting the harm done to the LGBTQ+ members of the body of Christ, and the body of Christ as a whole. 
Though we know the wounds of the special conference will be long to heal and the road ahead filled with much uncertainty, we wish to encourage those who struggle for justice. The Lord is with you dear friends, the Church incomplete without you. 

We grieve with you and pray for the presence of the comforter within these trying times. We pray that you will hear clearly the voice of the spirit as she calls to you as a church and as individuals. 

So beautiful are those who proclaim the gospel, who share with love the Imago Dei that our creator has gifted, who spread wide the table of our Lord. We celebrate each of you who has gifted your church with that amazing and bountiful presence, and we pray for your continued ministry. Queerness is a gift that God has given, and we affirm and extol the virtue of those who share their whole self in vulnerability and delight. We see you, we honor you, and we wish to serve you as you prepare for walking in faith on whatever path our God is calling you into.

And so, on this Ash Wednesday as we enter into the Lenten Season of discernment and divine mystery we open wide our doors to you who are traveling and ask that you come and rest with us a while.

The Progressive Christian Alliance is now offering a period of open dual-ordination and open ordination to any Queer Clergy or Clergy facing discipline for supporting their brothers, sisters, and siblings within the United Methodist Church. As you discern the path of your continued ministry, whether that is remaining with the UMC, seeking ordination in another denomination, entering another line of work or any other path during this time, we would like to remove any worry over loss of credentials and the uncertainty that brings. We know there are queer clergy who are chaplains, directors of ministries, and in other positions where credentials are a necessity and we want to remove any difficulty this situation may cause so that you are free to follow the lead of the spirit wherever she takes you.

We want to be clear that this is a unique ordination path to be used as tool while discerning next steps or while seeking ordination elsewhere, if you seek sole ordination within the Progressive Christian Alliance you may do so while serving on this ordination track. We would be honored for you to be a part of our PCA family, but want that to be a choice made out of shared love and values and not fear or desperation.

This is also a free program, there will be no fees assessed during the tenure of your ordination, nor for the application process of this ordination track.

If you wish to apply please Email the Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council Co-Chair Rev. Alaina Cobb to begin the process. 
CoChair@ProgressiveChristianAlliance.org

We mourn with you on this day set aside to remember our own mortality. As we remember that we are ash, we remember that our institutions are ash, that our hurts are ash, that our fears are ash, and that our Lord makes beautiful things from Ash.

Thank you for your beautiful witness, and may Godde bless and keep your ministry as they lead you into a new season. Amen.

-The Leadership Council of the Progressive Christian Alliance

The Leadership Council wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a joyous Holiday Season!

May the hope and love of Jesus give us renewed strength and guidance in 2019!

Many blessings to you all!

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

Reminder: Voting Open for Co-chair, Secretary, and Member-at-Large Leadership Council Positions!

Hi Friends!

This a reminder that voting will be open until Midnight Pacific time November 15, 2018! Click here to read the information on the nominees and to vote: http://progressivechristianalliance.org/please-vote-voting-now-open-for-co-chair-secretary-and-member-at-large/