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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

From the Chair: December 2020

Hello Friends,

I started active service with the Progressive Christian Alliance in 2014 as webmaster when I volunteered to rebuild the website to make it more accessible and bring it up to date. Then I ran for Member at Large in 2015, and to my surprise, I was elected. 

When Rev. Lawton Higgs stepped down as Leadership Chair in 2017, I again volunteered, but this time to be interim Leadership Chair until a new election could be called. I was honored again by the membership, and was elected Leadership Chair for the 2018-2020 term. 

And now, I am finishing nearly 6 years of active service in the leadership of the Progressive Christian Alliance. 

It is a lot of work on many levels to run an organization like this, with its diverse and global membership. We are a passionate group with big ideas, a thirst for justice and equality, and a strong drive for radical inclusion. It has been my honor to work with many of you over the years, not only to ordain new pastors, but to help build a better foundation for our organization so it can last into the future. 

I congratulate Bishop Rob Ponsford and Helen Drivick on winning the election last month. I look forward to seeing how the Progressive Christian Alliance will grow in their Leadership Council’s very capable hands!

My parting wish for you all is that you keep striving for justice, love, and inclusion wherever you are called to serve, however you can. That you all keep reminding everyone you meet and all who you serve that God’s love is for everyone, not just a select few. This is our sacred call from Spirit, and we are the ‘they’ who will embody this message so that others may heal from the damage done by other groups and denominations. 

I also hope that in this season of Advent, and for the years to come, you all find peace and joy wherever you can find it. May you be blessed in the name of Jesus Christ, and in the name of all the Gods and Spirits, with light, love and peace. 

In love and service, 

Rev Gina A. Pond

Leadership Chair and Treasurer Election Results

Hi Friends!

I am pleased to announce the results of the election for Leadership Chair and Treasurer!

With a unanimous vote of 22 votes, Rev. Rob Ponsford has been elected Leadership Chair and Helen Drivick has been elected to Treasurer. 

The tally from Google Sheets is below. 

They will start their term on January 1, 2021. 

Ballot for Leadership Chair and Treasurer Now Live

Hello Friends,

Voting is now officially open for Leadership Chair and Treasurer. The candidates are listed below with their statements, with the ballot following. Emails will be collected for the ballot to ensure that there is only one vote per person, and will be discarded after the close of the election.

The election will be open from 10 AM US Eastern time today, Sunday 15 November 2020, until midnight US Pacific Time on Saturday, 21 November 2020.

Candidate for Leadership Chair

Bishop Rob Ponsford

As many of you know I have for the last two years been the Member at Large for the PCA, and in that time I have been ordained with the PCA and been elected as Bishop very recently. I like many of us truly believe in the PCA and the force for good it clearly is including the multiple ways in which our ministries take. I am very familiar with the Google Office package of suits and I have loved every minute of being the Member at Large, I feel that running for Leadership Chair is something I am being called, and if Elected I will continue the great work started by our current Chair. I want to help grow the PCA so that on our clergy pages we have a more comprehensive set of materials to help those who are going through discernment and continue to develop those in ministry.

I want to create further links with other groups and churches within the wider Independent Sacramental Movement of which I have already had some success though limited. Not just with what some may consider “traditional” groups but also certain mixed path groups as well so that we have links with those that reflect the diverse practises of our membership.

With Lockdowns and restrictions here to stay for the foreseeable, the work we do both physically locally and online is more important than ever. I will seek to set up online services with a number of PCA Ministers if they are interested to once again show the wide range of practises we have within the PCA. If elected I will do all that my humanely best to exemplify that loving kindness and mercy and forgiveness as taught by Christ.

The PCA has blessed me as Minister as a Priest and Bishop within another Church which many would not do, and I have served the PCA as its Member at Large, Now I believe I can give more and help lead and guide and support the PCA as we continue to grow and more importantly continue to reach out to those who have been left behind as we show and reflect the love of our creator, for all of us are loved as we are and I believe I can help us in this endeavour.

I sincerely hope this short statement helps give an idea of why I am running and I hope my love and dedication to the PCA is able to shine through. Finally I want thank you the membership for taking the time to read this, it is my deepest wish to be able to serve you all as its very core that is what I feel this role entails much like Christ a servant hearted leadership and that is what I firmly believe in.

Thank you all-

Rev Rob

Candidate for Treasurer

Helen Drivick

It’s been a pleasure working with the Board for the past year+ as interim Treasurer. I would like to extend my tenure by running for the position.

I feel that it would be in the best interest of the community to have continuity in the position. While this past year has proved to be a learning curve, having that experience will now free me up to pursue some of the PCA financial goals which will ensure future solubility and sustainability. No organization, not even ours, can run without incurring some financial charges – web servers, non-profit status maintenance, ordinations and other activities have been financially managed in the past, mostly through Board members giving of their time, talents and treasures.

If elected, I look forward to visioning with the Board and with our members ways to enable the Progressive Christian Alliance to continue our growth and presence. We are a necessary counterbalance in a world – especially a church world – of othering. I will do all that I can to be a good steward for the organization and our members.

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED.

Nominations Now Open for the 2021-2023 Term for Leadership Chair and Treasurer

Hello Friends!

It’s board election time again! This year we are holding elections for Leadership Chair and Treasurer to serve a 3 year term (2021-2023).

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 plenty of work to be done, and we need committed volunteers! 

It is also 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 current Leadership Chair lives in Switzerland!). Familiarity with WordPress is also helpful. All nominees will be required to fill out a Membership Form if they haven’t done so in the last two years, which will be sent to them by the current Secretary when they send in their nomination.

Please review the position descriptions in this post, and if you are interested in running for office, fill out the nomination form below.

Updates from the Chair October 2020: New Ordinations and Board Election Reminder

Hello Friends!

This past Leadership Council meeting was our quarterly review of candidates for Ordination. We are excited to welcome the following new Pastors into the Progressive Christian Alliance family:

  • John Harris
  • Markie Harrison-Febo
  • Aimee Niles

Congratulations, and again, welcome to the family! 

I’d also like to remind everyone that elections for Leadership Chair and Treasurer are fast approaching, and the schedule is as follows:

November 1-14: Nomination form will be posted and nominations will be accepted until midnight PST on the 14th. 

November 15-21: Election form will be posted and elections will close at midnight PST on the 21st. 

December 1: Results will be announced.

Please see last month’s news post to learn more about the positions. There will be a separate announcement for about the nomination form at the end of this month. Also, feel free to contact the Board if you have any questions. 

Lastly, I would like to strongly encourage our United States members to please go out and vote. Check to make sure your registration is valid, or that you have registered at all. Make a plan for how you will get to the polls, and if you are able to, help others to get to the polls. 

Vote as if lives depend on it, because they do. 

Stay well, stay safe, and please vote!

In His Name, 

Rev. Gina

Updates from the Chair September 2020: Preparing for ProgCA Elections and Webmasters needed.

Hello Friends!

It feels very Fall-like here in Switzerland and the days are getting shorter, which means we are getting closer to the ProgCA Elections for Leadership Chair and Treasurer! Because of the US national elections, we have shifted the timeline for the elections:

November 1-14: Nomination form will be posted and nominations will be accepted until midnight PST on the 14th. 

November 15-21: Election form will be posted and elections will close at midnight PST on the 21st. 

December 1: Results will be announced. 

The following are the position descriptions for both positions from the Constitution and Canons.  I would also suggest that nominees must use and be familiar with Google Suite (Docs, Drive, Gmail, Forms) as all of documentation and communications are through this system. 

Leadership Council Chair Responsibilities

1) Sets agendas for the Leadership Council meetings with input from the

membership at large and fellow LC members.

2) Chairs meetings of the Council.

3) Encourages Council’s role in strategic planning.

4) Responsible for the oversight of the financial aspects of the Progressive

Christian Alliance along with the Co-Chair.

5) Serves ex officio as a member of committees and attends their meetings

when invited.

6) Helps guide and mediate Council actions with respect to organizational

priorities and governance concerns.

7) Ensures regular communication of progress with the membership at large.

8) Performs other responsibilities assigned by the Council.

9) Serves a three (3) year term and may not self-succeed into same position.

Leadership Council Treasurer Responsibilities

1) Manages finances of the organization.

2) Administrate fiscal matters of the organization

3) Provide annual budget to the council for members’ approval.

4) Ensures development and council review of financial policies and

procedures.

5) Provides monthly financial statements to council members and, upon

approval by council members, to PCA membership.

6) Maintain records of donations by membership both individual and

congregational and provides end of year tax statements to all who have

donated.

7) Prepare and file all IRS tax forms related to 501(c)3 status, including form

990 and/or other documents required by the IRS.

8) Is able to use software to track all income, expenses, etc.

9) Serves a three (3) year term and may not self-succeed into same position.

Cannot concurrently chair another committee.

If you have any questions about the positions or the election itself, please feel free to contact us.

We are also still seeking WordPress webmasters for our website. If you, or people you know, could volunteer their time for this, please let us know. More information on the positions is here. 

My heart and prayers are going out especially right now to my US siblings in Christ, many of whom are facing so many things at once: forest fires, hurricanes, attending protests, or just trying to stay alive and well during a global pandemic and rocky political situation. I encourage those who can vote in the US, to check their registrations and then vote in the election. Also, keep up the work you can do, wherever you can! Not only do people need social justice work, but they also need spiritual guidance to get through these times. Never doubt that anything you can do as ProgCA clergy is useful, needed, and important!

May all of you stay safe and be well!

In Jesus’ name

Rev. Gina

Updates from the Chair August 2020

Hello friends!

It has been a beautiful summer here in Zurich, and I hope that all of you are having a good August so far!

The Leadership Council is pleased to announce that Rev. Ann Luchterhand has volunteered to replace Rev. Marie as Ordination Committee chair! Thank you Rev. Ann for volunteering and we look forward to working with you!

We are also looking for at least 2 volunteers to become our WordPress webmasters. Click here to learn more. 

November will be our elections for Leadership Chair and Treasurer. Nominations will begin in Mid-October. If you are in discernment about whether you would like to run for either of these positions and have questions, please contact us

I hope you all are staying safe, especially those in the US who are doing the hard work of social justice. May Jesus guide you and watch over you as you do His work. 

In His Many Names, 

Rev. Gina

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: 2 WordPress Webmaster Positions Open

The Progressive Chrisitan Alliance is seeking two experienced webmasters with extensive experience in WordPress. As this is volunteer work, and there’s a good deal that needs to be done, we are looking for at least two people to share the responsibilities. 

We are particularly looking for people who know how to set up and maintain E-commerce solutions, Membership levels/plugins, and personnel directories. The Webmasters will work with the Leadership Council (particularly the Member-at-Large) in order to get these services up and running, along with regular basic maintenance of the website. The webmasters should also be able to work with G-suite as well for forms. 

What the webmasters will be responsible for:

  • Implementing updates and troubleshooting problems. 
  • Choosing and setting up an ecommerce solution for Membership payments. 
  • Setting up member areas and web-forms
  • Setting up the clergy directory and training Leadership Council and Ordination Committee members on how to add new names. 
  • Maintaining user accounts for the Leadership Council and Ordination Committee members (as needed)
  • Contacting the server owners when necessary for troubleshooting.

Again, we understand that this is a good deal of work, which is why we are asking for at least two people to take this on, preferably for at least a year, if possible. 

If you are interested please email me at leadershipchair@progressivechristianalliance.org

Thank you!

Rev. Gina

Updates from the Chair July 2020

Hello friends! 

This month Leadership Council is happy to announce that the following candidates have been approved for ordination: 

  • Jamin Hubner
  • Alanna Ireland
  • Mary Putera
  • Ann Snowberger
  • Elisha VerGowe

Congratulations and welcome to the Progressive Christian Alliance family!

Our Ordination Committee Chair, Rev. Marie Bat’el, is resigning from that position and is moving on to other projects. In her time as Chair, she has done incredible work in improving the ordination process, organizing clergy information, and updating our clergy documentation. Thank you so much for your service Marie, and we wish you all the best!

That being said, this also means that we are looking for a  new Ordination Committee Chair. The chair MUST be able to work with Google Suite (Docs, Drive, Forms, etc) or be motivated to learn it well. Marie has graciously offered to stay on to train the next Chair in our current system. 

We also have need of at least 2 WordPress Webmasters to work with me in implementing member services on our website. I’ve been personally maintaining the website for several years now, but the work that needs to be done is out of my experience. The webmasters MUST have extensive experience with WordPress. Experience in ecommerce and/or creating membership areas would be especially helpful. 

If you feel called to serve, and are interested in donating your time in these positions, please contact the Leadership Council

As a reminder, elections for Leadership Chair and Treasurer are coming up in November. Now is a good time to discern if you feel called to serve in either of these positions. If you do feel so called, we will be taking nominations in October for these two positions. You DO NOT have to be ordained to hold any position on the Leadership Council. (We also highly recommend that if you are interested in these positions that you are comfortable with Google Suite, as all of our communications and documentation are conducted through this platform.)

In order to facilitate updating of our clergy records, we are now offering an address to send photocopies of your records if you’re unable to scan them or transmit them electronically. Please send it to:

Rev. Jenny Howard – Secretary
Progressive Christian Alliance
786 Twin Oaks Dr Apt 2
Decatur, GA 30030

I hope that all of you are staying safe and well during this time. I know it’s hard for everyone right now to maintain faith and hope. May we find hope and joy where we can, and stand up for justice in all the ways that we are able!

In the name of Jesus and God’s many names, 

Rev. Gina Pond