The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria
invites you to explore open Christianity that:
- Finds through Jesus a way of life encouraging spirituality, compassion, and justice;
- Does not view humans as inherently sinful but with potential for good in cooperative communities;
- Recognises the Bible as a collection of valuable and diverse human writings many of which can inspire and guide us;
- Understands that traditional beliefs and creeds were developed in a prescientific era and were products of their time;
- Affirms equality of women and men and diversity of sexuality and gender;
- Recognises the connectedness of life and all creation;
- Welcomes the contribution of other religions to the enrichment of life.
The Network was established in 2006 to provide opportunities to:
- Promote progressive Christian thought and practice;
- Explore the implications of critical biblical scholarship and the emerging proposals of eminent contemporary theologians, scholars and others;
- Investigate alternatives to traditional religious beliefs and practices and new ways to understand religious faith;
- Affirm the significance of the life and teachings of Jesus for today.
PCNV established a program to:
- Organise lectures, seminars and discussions;
- Sponsor visit to Victoria of Australian and overseas scholars;
- Support the formation of groups for discussion and support;
- Develop Australian resources for individuals and groups;
- Publish a Newsletter to inform members of coming events and to provide articles for reflection;
- Maintain links with kindred organisations in other Australian states and overseas.
- Progressive Christianity developed in North America, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia in the late 20th century and early 21st century.
- Its features are openness toward critical Bible scholarship, theological diversity, continual development, and in particular a focus on the life and teachings of Jesus, and a strong concern for social justice including inclusion of LGBTQ people and the marginalised in the community. It emphasises the importance of how we live rather than what we believe.
- A formative development in the history of progressive Christianity was the founding in 1985 in USA of The Jesus Seminar under the auspices of the Westar Institute to give rigorous scholarly attention to what can be known on an evidence basis about the sayings, deeds, and mission of Jesus. It involved about 50 critical biblical scholars and 100 laypersons. Using a distinctive collegial approach that combined the work of scholars over diverse related scholarly fields, the Seminar published landmark volumes: The Five Gospels in 1993, The Acts of Jesus in 1998 and The Gospel of Jesus in 1999.
- The Westar Institute today actively continues work in related fields.
How PCNV started
- The initiative to establish the Network came from a small group brought together by three Victorians who had travelled to the USA to participate in an educational event convened by the Westar Institute. They had participated with invited scholars in exploring recent developments in understanding biblical documents in their historical perspective and relevance to contemporary life.
- In June 2006, 150 people attended the first public meeting to launch the Network. Former Catholic priest Michael Morwood told the gathering that they were living through perhaps the biggest ever shift in theological thinking in Christian history.
- The president of the new network, Dick Carter, stated it was not a new church but sought to bring together small groups of like-minded people from many churches.
How PCNV is managed
- The PCNV is a member supported not-for-profit Incorporated Association (Association A0048832S) formed under the Associations Incorporation Act of Victoria and governed by its Rules which conform to the requirements of the Act.
- It also operates under the oversight of the Commonwealth’s Australian Charities & Not-for-profit Commission (ABN 93 004 530 448). Public filings are accessible by any interested parties via the Commission’s website.
- Members support the objectives of the Network and provide a small annual subscription to facilitate its programs.
- Each Annual General Meeting of Members elects a Committee to develop and manage the program activities.
The Committee elected at the 2019 AGM is:
|President:||Mr Richard Carter AM|
|Vice President:||Mr Adrian Pyle|
|Secretary:||Ms Lesley Taylor|
|Treasurer:||Rev John Smith|
|Members:||Rev Dr Julie Hall
Ms Lorna Henry
Rev Dr Coralie Ling
Ms Anne Page
Rev Greg Crowe
Rev Dr David Merritt