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annalisa

What Denominations Are "somewhat Progressive"?

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I live in a conservative area and was recently going to a UU church. But I do miss Jesus and the bible. I do consider myself a PC but the nearest church is 30 minutes away by freeway and I am not comfortable driving that far. I am also secure in my own beliefs that I can "blend" in with a mainstream church but i don't want holy rollers and speaking in tongues. I can nod and smile like the next woman. So what might be a good fit? I was raised cotholic until I was 10...then went protestant at 16 but always ended up in holy roller churches which at a young age was scary. Now at 45 and know who I am, I am secure with myself and my beliefs.

 

There is a Lutheran I been eye balling as well as a Methodist. I get very confused reading all the websites about these denominations.

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Hello, Annalisa...

 

One of the forces driving people away from church membership and the Christian faith in general is just what you said: holy rollers or, as I call them, 'Christian Extremists'. One denomination that doesn't see it's mission as one of converting the world 'from sin and the beliefs of Satan to the clear light of True Faith in our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus' is the United Methodist Church. They're kinda low key. I was a Methodist for years and one of several lay speakers in our church authorized to give sermons and conduct the service in the case the pastor was out sick or away on church business. I was also married in a Methodist church. Needless to say, it was hard for me to give up my membership but finally did after a year or so grappling with the issue of gay men or women prohibited from being ordained as ministers of the Church. I felt this was outside of the my belief that Jesus' mission was inclusive with no exceptions, asterisks, or fine print. My pastor asked me to reconsider so that members who felt the way that I did could argue for change from within, but I had to make a change. After attending Quaker meetings for sometime, I became a member of The Religious Society of Friends, a Christian based faith. If you are interested in the Methodist Church, it would be worthwhile looking into. The services are structured, but simple and kinda 'old fashioned' with a real 'down to earth' feel. I liked them myself and I have always had great pastors, too.

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When I left Christian fundamentalism I began searching for a more moderate group to worship with. I made a list of potential groups that came down to the Christian Church. They are liberal but came out of the restoration movement. The eliminated them from my list. The Presbyterians link with Calvinism eliminated them. That left me with the Methodist. I couldn't find anything in their stated beliefs that I couldn't tolerate. I've been worshipping with a large Methodist Church for about six months now. As Russ noted they are a pretty laid back and open minded group. The congregation I worship with offers a variety of worship styles ranging from traditional to contemporary.

Edited by Javelin

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I would add Congregationalist NACCC to the list. The true congregational churches are a mixed bag with some being quite conservative and others quite progressive.

 

United Church of Christ UCC is generally the most progressive denomination from top to bottom. They are the only denomination to have made it completely through the ordination of GBTG.

 

Episcopals can be progressive. They too are working their way through the ordination of GLBT but are still in a bit of turmoil.

 

Some Disciples of Christ "Christian" Churches are pretty progressive .

 

I would visit and ask for a meeting with the pastor then ask where he sits and where the rest of the congregation sits. Ya have to ask both questions

 

steve

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The PCUSA church that I attend is progressive in every respect. However, it is in a university town, and that is true of most of the denominations. It is a More Light Church, which means it affirms the right to full participation in the life of the church without regard to, among other criteria, sexual orientation. In addition to the denominations cited above, there are also progressive American Baptist and ELCA (Lutheran)congregations here.

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I'm not sure I would be willing to classify whole denominations as PC. I'm aware of progressive-leaning PCUSA, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, and other congregations, but there are also very conservative congregations within those denominations. I think you might just have to visit as has been suggested in order to assess each congregation's views (unless you can find someone familiar with local congregations who might be able to make some suggestions).

 

I've heard some complaints about PC supporters that we are trying to start a new Progressive denomination rather than reforming the existing denominations. I'm not sure that would be a bad thing, but since I see religion in general as being a human creation as we try to find a connection with the divine and each other, I think there will always be different denominations so that people can find polity and worship styles that suit their tastes.

 

Peace,

JoKeR

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When I was preparing myself for leaving the United Methodist Church and joining The Religious Society of Friends, I did extensive reading into Quaker history, faith, and practice. It really is true that organized denominations all have branches and the Quakers are no exception. The conservative branch of the Quakers incorporates structured services with clergy and, in my opinion, are more Baptist than Quaker. There is also an amount of homophobia associated with conservative Quakers and, again in my opinion, has nothing to do with the basic Quaker principle that the Light of God is within each and every one of us. That being said, I am a member of what is known as the 'liberal' branch of The Religious Society of Friends, the Friends General Conference, that continues the practice of silent worship and unqualified inclusion. As traditional Quakers, Friends embrace all people, oppose all war and violence, and follow the Quaker Testimonies of Peace, Integrity, Equality, Community and Simplicity. We have no clergy, no authoritative hierarchy, no dogmas, and no creeds. Feeling at home, I became a member over two years ago.

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Guest billmc

When I was preparing myself for leaving the United Methodist Church and joining The Religious Society of Friends, I did extensive reading into Quaker history, faith, and practice. It really is true that organized denominations all have branches and the Quakers are no exception. The conservative branch of the Quakers incorporates structured services with clergy and, in my opinion, are more Baptist than Quaker. There is also an amount of homophobia associated with conservative Quakers and, again in my opinion, has nothing to do with the basic Quaker principle that the Light of God is within each and every one of us. That being said, I am a member of what is known as the 'liberal' branch of The Religious Society of Friends, the Friends General Conference, that continues the practice of silent worship and unqualified inclusion. As traditional Quakers, Friends embrace all people, oppose all war and violence, and follow the Quaker Testimonies of Peace, Integrity, Equality, Community and Simplicity. We have no clergy, no authoritative hierarchy, no dogmas, and no creeds. Feeling at home, I became a member over two years ago.

 

Russ, is there any easy way to tell if a Friend's Meeting that is close to where someone lives is more conservative or liberal?

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I have found that there are conservative and progressive branches within many denominations, depending on where you live, and the leadership of the parish. Saying that, the Episcopalian Church I attend is very progressive. It offers the beauty of a Catholic type service (very High Church), and communion every Sunday, but the leadership, the sermons, and the over all feeling is progressive and liberal.

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I live in a conservative area and was recently going to a UU church. But I do miss Jesus and the bible. I do consider myself a PC but the nearest church is 30 minutes away by freeway and I am not comfortable driving that far. I am also secure in my own beliefs that I can "blend" in with a mainstream church but i don't want holy rollers and speaking in tongues. I can nod and smile like the next woman. So what might be a good fit? I was raised cotholic until I was 10...then went protestant at 16 but always ended up in holy roller churches which at a young age was scary. Now at 45 and know who I am, I am secure with myself and my beliefs.

 

There is a Lutheran I been eye balling as well as a Methodist. I get very confused reading all the websites about these denominations.

 

Have you tried Unity? My wife and I are Unity, in fact, she's a Unity minister.

If you go to their site: www.unity.org, you can find a church in your area.

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I've been looking in my area for Progressive Churches and there are actually quite a few. There is a "First Christian Church: Disciples of Christ" just down the street from me, which is self-described as "progressive". They even state a couple of the eight (principles, is it?) in their statement of faith. I really want to check them out. Hope my husband will go with me. He's gotten kind of attached to the (very conservative) church we've been attending. I have made a lot of friends there, myself. That's the difficult part about leaving a congregation...

Edited by Marsha

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Marsha,

 

It certainly is difficult to leave a congregation. I have personally found many wonderful people in all the churches i have attended. Unfortunately it grieved my spirit to sit through services time after time with the same fundamental message that just didn't fit right with me. And most of all not being able to share the things that i felt were being revealed to me by the spirit without being shunned as 'backslid-den'. Anyway, those days are past and many have remained close friends and i am now able to attend any church or place of worship on a temporary basis with love and compassion for all and respect their right to believe as they choose.

 

Its so wonderful to have the perspective of more women here. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

 

Joseph

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Unfortunately it grieved my spirit to sit through services time after time with the same fundamental message that just didn't fit right with me. And most of all not being able to share the things that i felt were being revealed to me by the spirit without being shunned as 'backslid-den'.

 

Yes, I was thinking along this line, as well. As much as I love the people in this church, it still has the feel of disingenuousness on my part, because I don't feel free to express the "real me", or ask certain questions, or question certain teachings, without someone thinking I am going apostate or accepting terrible error. The judgments will be there, spoken or unspoken, because that is simply a large part of the conservative orientation.

 

Its so wonderful to have the perspective of more women here. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

 

Thank you, Joseph. It has been a real pleasure, so far. :)

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The concern for my husband is, in part, because he has only just recently started going to church with me. We never really attended church, very often, in former years, but when I started going to this small church and genuinely liked the people there (they are very welcoming and sweet people), he decided to try it and has actually enjoyed it very much. This could be a sticky point...and I don't want to discourage him.

 

I guess we really need to talk about it. I need to be clear about what I am wanting...and doing.

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I talked to my husband, last night, about what I would like to do, as far as visiting new churches, and a little about the reasons why. Surprisingly, he is agreeing with me about the focus of the church we've been attending, and is more than willing to perhaps find a new church home. Sooooo, we visited the First Christian Church down the street from us, this morning, and had a very nice experience. The minister is a very good speaker. The service was fairly traditional, as far as music and form. We took communion, etc. One thing I loved was that they had a Bell Choir. I love bell choirs. I belong to a senior bell choir through our local senior center and I just love it. We don't play actual bells, though...we play tone chimes, which are long tubes with a hammer that sound like bells. Anyway, that was very fun part of the service, for me.

 

The minister spoke on the Book of Revelation...which, I thought, WOW, that's a rather heavy subject for Sunday morning. :) But, I loved what he did with it. He talked about the return of Christ in a very different way than I had ever heard it discussed. First, he talked about how every generation has believed that they live in the generation of Christ's return. All of the "signs" (immorality, earthquakes, etc) have been apparent in every generation, since the death of Christ. Although, he hinted that he believed Christ would return in "Glory", in a most spectacular way, someday, his main message was that Jesus returns every single day. He is always there, if we are open to the message and his bidding. Jesus is on a mission, and he wants to invoke our help, if we are willing. He has already returned...in a sense, he never left us.

 

I liked it. We will probably go back next week...unless I find another church or two I want to visit, in the interim.

 

Good experience, though. I'm glad we went.

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That is wonderful news Marsha,

 

Also so glad you got a different twist on the second coming message. It seems to me to make much more sense that way.

 

Joseph

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Guest billmc

I liked it. We will probably go back next week...unless I find another church or two I want to visit, in the interim. Good experience, though. I'm glad we went.

 

I'm glad you liked it, Marsha. I've been to a Disciples of Christ Christian church in my area twice and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it is about 35 miles away. :( I also like a UCC church that is about 21 miles away. :( For now, I go to a small UMC church that is a bit "high church" for me, but the people are loving and open. Unfortunately, being "high church", it seems their liturgy and sermons are dictated by whatever UMC governing body handles these things, so I don't know how much freedom the pastor has to change sermons or his approach to ministry in the church. But it is definately old mainline, which many older people in our community like, but which doesn't seem to much attract younger couples, singles, and youth.

 

But you and your DH will be in my thoughts and prayers as you contemplate where your journey together will take you.

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Also so glad you got a different twist on the second coming message. It seems to me to make much more sense that way. -Joseph

 

I thought so, too.

 

When he first started this sermon, I was very curious about where he would go with it...and very pleased about where it ended up.

 

I've been to a Disciples of Christ Christian church in my area twice and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it is about 35 miles away. I also like a UCC church that is about 21 miles away. -billmc

 

That's too bad. I see you are in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, Bill. I lived in Weatherford for just under a year, when my first husband was in the service (many, many years ago). It was pretty much out in the boonies, even though Ft. Worth was only 25 miles away. Still quite a drive to get somewhere.

 

As for high church, I kind of like all of that pomp and circumstance. The church I've been attending is a Christian Reformed and they are fairly "high church". It's a Reformation Church (Calvinist)...yeah Calvinist!...I know, I know! lol

 

UMC is United Methodist? That would probably be a pretty good denomination.

 

But you and your DH will be in my thoughts and prayers as you contemplate where your journey together will take you.

 

Thank you so much!

Edited by Marsha

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