On Being a Progressive Congregation.....

Dear PCNV members 

We have been able to arrange a special opportunity for PCNV members  to meet with two visitors from USA to discuss how to help a congregation be progressive in the 21st century. The discussion will include implications for liturgy - the form and content of worship services.

Rev Dr Wolfgang Stahlberg is currently on an eight week exchange ministry at Toorak Uniting Church while Rev Dr Chris Page is at his home Lutheran congregation in Denver Colorado. In USA Dr Stahlberg is actively involved in progressive activities and is a representative of the Marcus Borg Foundation.

TOPIC: "Being progressive in a 21st century congregation"

GUEST LEADERS: Rev Dr Wolfgang Stahlberg and Rev Liliana Stahlberg

WHEN: Thursday 15 October, 7.30pm to 9.00pm

WHERE: Glen Iris Road Uniting Church. Glen Iris Rd. near the corner with High Street Road, Glen iris. Melway 60 A10

PCNV has organised this discussion opportunity for members who have a commitment to encourage progressive perspectives. There is no entry charge.

Lorraine Parkinson will chair the gathering.

Rev Dr Wolfgang Stahlberg was born and raised in Germany and became a parish pastor in the Swedish Lutheran Church. For more than eight years he has been pastor of Messiah Community Church in Denver, Colorado, USA, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is leading them in a process of transformation to be a viable congregation in the 21st century. He was inspired and changed by going through the two-year-long Benedictine Spiritual Formation program. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in ‘Pastoral Leadership in Church and Society’ from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is actively involved in progressive Christian activities in USA and is a keen reader of writers such as Marcus Borg, Dominic Crossan and John Shelby Spong. He is also a representative of the developing Marcus Borg Foundation.

Rev Liliana Stahlberg is also a Lutheran pastor in Denver.

Wolfgang and Liliana will speak for about 30 minutes to start a conversation about being progressive in a 21st century congregation. They have been asked particularly to include implications for liturgy.

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The core understandings of traditional Christianity were developed within a worldview dramatically different from informed contemporary worldviews. Is it possible to be Christian today?

What could a positive and passionate contemporary Christianity look like?

1. Evolution has changed our understanding of humans.
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2. Biblical writings were regarded by many of our ancestors in the faith and some
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How could a meaningful understanding and experience of the Bible enrich our Christian life and practice in the 21st century?

3. In the creeds of the early Christian centuries Jesus is depicted as a divine figure securing salvation through his sacrificial death. More recent biblical and historical studies have shown the varied understandings of Jesus in the first centuries of Christianity. 

What could a Christian understanding of Jesus be in the 21st century?