The Progressive Christian Alliance is an international, trans-denominational association of Christian ministers, ministries and laypersons.
== Background ==
The Progressive Christian Alliance (PCA) was founded in May of 2008 after a series of conversations between Reverends Roger and Melissa McClellan from Alabama, Reverend Terry McGuire from Florida and Reverend Jarrod Cochran from Georgia, with the idea of blurring the lines between network and denomination and transcending both. With unique experiences in both the mainline protestant and evangelical churches these founders sought to create an organization that affirmed and respected those traditions and welcomed those diversities into fellowship within the PCA. Those original members established the foundational principles as:
Concern for Social Justice.
Respect for theological diversity.
Welcome for all to participate equally in the life of the church.
The PCA seeks to facilitate connection and build community between progressive or inclusive ministers and ministries; while also training and ordaining new clergy and planting new faith communities.
The alliance also has a strong ecumenical focus, ordaining clergy that serve in churches of other denominations as well as welcoming clergy from other denominations into full membership in the PCA, without requiring those to break their ties with their other affiliations.
As of August 2011 the PCA has been joined by some 60 ministries on 4 continents and actively works with other agencies in the arenas of social justice.
Clergy of the PCA serve not only in traditional church settings, but also in chaplaincies with non-profit organizations.
“As I and my fellow brothers and sisters in the Progressive Christian Alliance have always advocated, the Church is not a four-walled institution, but but a ministry without walls that surrounds and encompasses everything, everywhere we go. Church does not begin only when there is a pulpit or when the message of Jesus is conveyed through spoken word; it extends to all places and is conveyed by our actions.” – Rev. Jarrod Cochran (1)
== Liturgical life and expression==
The PCA requires no liturgical conformity, but encourages local parishes to explore and use liturgies that suit the community’s unique composition. This liturgical expression can take many forms, ranging from “high-church” Catholic mass to informal gatherings and study groups or from quiet contemplation to lively praise.
== Theological beliefs ==
Theologically, there is much diversity within the group; as some hold to a traditional and creedal faith, while others’ thoughts are more in line with the thoughts of Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong and others associated with Progressive Christian theology, but the group tends to place orthopraxy ahead of orthodoxy: “We believe that following the teachings of Jesus means we need to support rights for GLBT people, rights for women, and be inclusive of all. We believe Jesus was for all people, not just coming for one elite group. For us, to be Christian is to embrace all God’s children and to speak up for the oppressed.” The PCA stresses the inclusive character of the Gospel, and teaches radical hospitality for those sometimes excluded from the life of the church; the disabled, GLBT persons and without regard to social status. Holy orders are open to all, without regard to race, social status, disability or orientation.
Many within the PCA are informed by other faith traditions as well, and view those other traditions as providing additional insights into the nature of the divine. PCA members contend that to be Christian is to follow Christ, rather than adhere to any particular doctrine or dogma.
== Organization ==
While the PCA maintains an egalitarian structure; a seven-member Leadership Council is elected to serve in either in an at-large capacity or as a regional coordinator. Parishes, ministers and ministries of the PCA have full voting rights on all matters of organizational polity; yet retain virtual autonomy within the context of their local ministries. All ministries of the PCA retain financial independence from the parent organization as well, as the PCA maintains that resources are best utilized at the local level.