From the Chair 10th January 2021

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year to you all,

2021 finds us in just as strange times as 2020 it would seem and in my first blog post as Leadership Chair it would be remiss of me not mention the events that took Place in Washington DC and the attempted Coup.

This attempt is unlikely to have surprised many of us given the main instigators tweets, and propaganda over the last 5 years or so have seemingly been leading sadly to a violent confrontation, what is more disturbing is hearing those people so convinced that what they were attempting wasn’t wrong. This whole sorry affair ended up at last count costing 5 people their lives and I am genuinely saddened by this loss of life, there will be many I’ve no doubt among our members and even our Pastors who will also feel that this could have been so much worse considering the overreaction and brutality that was fostered on peaceful protestors over the summer last year and there may even be a few among us who feel much more strongly that.

Indeed I would write for an age detailing the various positions we no doubt all have on these events, but I think we could all agree any loss of life is a tragic waste of the gift that we have of this life. I pray and will work within my own ministry and within the ministry of the ProgCA to always help bring about the radical love and affirming inclusion that Jesus taught and indeed lived. On this subject I of course look to Rev. Dr Martin Luther King who said:

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

In ProgCA news the Leadership Council met for the first time this past Sunday a little later than scheduled but these things do happen, the PCA is indeed busy as it has ever been and we are currently looking at streamlining and improving the Ordination process as well as creating an online resource for educational purposes. We are also looking at offering Online Ordination Ceremonies that will be presided over by a member of the Leadership Council this is optional but with Covid19 still raging the ability to have an in person service just isn’t as viable as it used to be for some. So this will allow our candidates to have a celebration and ceremony if they so wish risk free.

Speaking of which the Leadership Council approved the ordination of the following people who we welcome as Clergy within the PCA: The Rev. Ivy Light and The Rev. Samuel Lopez who if they wish to have an online service to commemorate their ordination then please contact myself and we can organise this.

In Leadership Council news my election as Leadership Chair has meant that we need a interim Member at Large to fulfil the remainder of the term, I happy to announce that the Leadership Council has approved Rev.Kim Shinabery who is already an admin on our Facebook Discussion page will be stepping into this role, and we warmly welcome Kim as part of the Leadership Council.

As we look towards what is likely to be another year of some significant hardships and year were some real healing will need to take place, I would like this year to be the year of the lost sheep those who many of us in the PCA serve all the time, the reason for this focus and such a theme (and theme years are not something I am necessarily all that keen on) is because of how many of our brothers and sisters, friends and families have become lost or we have sadly lost.

Healing and reconnecting with each other is something that we all need and as always from a place of love. Now given everything that has happened that’s easier said than done and I don’t think for one moment it will be easy. 

This year of the Lost Sheep is also a recommitment to the basic fundamental principles we have in the PCA, those principles of radical and affirming inclusion, it will also be a time were we look at the all the work all our Ordained Clergy do and the various forms ordained ministry takes within the PCA, so in this coming year there will be much more video content on Social Media and on Youtube.

To end I am reminded of an old Celtic Blessing that I will share here as statement of intent for this year:

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,

so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.

And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,

like a candle set in the window of a house,

bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you,

may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,

and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,

and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be on you,

soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,

soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;

and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.

May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.

And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

Rev.Rob Ponsford

Bishop AAC

Leadership Chair ProgCA

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