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Hello I am not used to using forums so this a new experience. Just wanted to let Bishop Spong to know how much I appreciate his books which I have been reading since the early 90s after seeing him in London at the launch of Bishop Liz Stewart's book,'Dare to Speak Loves Name'. At the time I was in a pretty bad place with my marriage having ended and also at the beginning of my theology studies at Southampton University ( - la Sante Union - formally a Catholic teacher training college).

From the age of 4 I was brought up by my grandfather - a fundamentalist hell and damnation preacher. A very charismatic personality, who at the age of 73, when he died, had a diary fully booked for preaching engagements for the next two years. We three children accompanied him and had to take part - from Bible readings to taking the collection - So I started my ministry at a very young age! i was full of questions!!!! that weren't answered, i was very aware of the duality and downright lies! What i was being taught was in contrast to what i was experiencing. I riled at people who asked me if I had been saved, born again etc it made no-sense to me! I have questioned everything all my life and have come to a lot of the same conclusions as Bishop Spong. I think Carter Heyward, Rosemary Radford Ruether etc that first gave me the courage and confidence to voice these views.

I have put my full name and title as you may like to read the review that Forward in Faith (sic) has given me! (I do not belong any organisation at all) I think they thought it detrimental but the article does actually support my views and beliefs! My thesis, written in '93 was called 'Outside the Church, Inside the World a New Paradigm Shift for Ecclasia' argued that a minister's role is to empower people to have the confidence to facilitate their own rites of passage and I am pleased to say that I am now living out my own theory!

At 13, a year after my grandfather's death, I took myself off to the Anglican church where I fell in love with the transcendent liturgy and music. Also no-one was telling me what to think or make me feel guilty as the Congregational Church had done. I felt I had arrived home - found mother church and was soon involved in the Sunday School where the adults gave me the 9 year old naughty boys group as no-one else could manage them and so started my career in the Anglican church, which came to an end at the same time as my marriage folded (refused communion for divorcing my ex). Devastated I attended MCC with a friend and soon started their clergy training and had leadership roles in the Bournemouth MCC and then Pastor of Southampton MCC. I was ordained with conditions and banned from preaching at Bournemouth MCC even to this day because of my beliefs they do not consider me a Christian. I resigned from MCC in '99 and formed Choice Ceremonies in 2000

Well if you have got this far - well done! and thank you!

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I enjoyed reading your introduction. Rev Jonathan Edwards would want to make it clear that the two of you are not related I am sure.

 

I was particularly struck by this

 

My thesis, written in '93 was called 'Outside the Church, Inside the World a New Paradigm Shift for Ecclasia' argued that a minister's role is to empower people to have the confidence to facilitate their own rites of passage and I am pleased to say that I am now living out my own theory!

 

I know a few who have realized they have this power to ritualize events in their lives. I m an interested observer but, for me it is hard to leave the old rituals that used to mean so much.

 

Well, anyway, welcome. Glad you are here.

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Welcome Rev. Edwards.

 

You say that you want to thank Bishop Spong for his books. He does not actively participate in this forum and I have no idea whether he reads any of the posts here or not. In any event, I hope you will free to join in the discussions.

 

George

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Hi Rev Edwards,

 

Bishop Spong is an honorary advisor here at TCPC now know as ProgressiveChristianity.Org and we are the publishers of his subscription essay series. While he is not a registered member of this forum, Bishop Spong has access to this forum as a guest and if he is not reading the posts here, i think it is his loss. :)

 

On the more serious side, thank you for the wonderful introduction and welcome to the forum. I think you will find some extremely knowledgeable friends here in the community to share with. Some with formal schooling and some self learned, some with ministry credentials like yours and some not, but all in all, a diverse collection of members on a progressive journey.

 

After familiarizing yourself with our guidelines, feel free to participate in your areas of interest or start a new thread.

Again welcome,

Joseph

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Reverend Lesley Edwards, Thank you for the introduction and I respect your courage and strength to follow the Spirit. You are a strong Christian and we need more like you. Welcome and I look forward to your post.

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