ULC in the United Kingdom
https://ulc.org.uk:80/forum/

The End
https://ulc.org.uk:80/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=961
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Author:  Pete [ Sat May 08, 2021 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  The End

There are very little posts. Just a handful over the Year. It is a tough time for the ULC.
ULC tribal is to close in about a week. ULC.net gets very few posts nowadays.
There is strong consideration as whether we should close too. If the forum is not used and we keep coming on and seeing no posts then we fail to see what options we have left. It is sad it has come to this, I do not see another way forward. Please say if you want us to continue.

Author:  Rev Rob [ Sun May 09, 2021 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

So it's sad to see but also not shocking in many ways. Once US laws began changing and UlC minister credentials were no longer valid it was clear something had to change or eventually people would start leaving. Nothing Changed which isn't surprising given just how independent each UlC minister and member is there was no way to change it.

That being said for a long time the Progressive Christian Alliance (which despite the Christian moniker being used) is actually made up of Christo-pagans Wiccans, Humanist and Gnostics more than it really is made up of what one would call Christians. Have over the last 2 years recieved more enquiries from serving UlC members about coming to the PCA as Pastors..... The difference between the two is the PCA has a central organisation that is officially registered as Church in the States and requires a actual ordination process even those coming from other churches will have interviews with the elected Leadership Council and have to write several essays before being given credentials. The point is of course actual discernment is taken as are Background checks on anyone who wishes to be a Pastor.

The result has been that Progressive Christian Alliance process while open to anyone and indeed embracing just as many faith paths and the idea that all are one. Have had there ministerial credentials upheld because they're process in place. With serving clergy renewing their ministerial vows every 2 years along with background checks.

To the point that even in the UK PCA ministers credentials are not looked at as being part of a ordination mill which like it or not the UlC has the reputation of being.

That has resulted in most ULC activities being limited to posting in forums and for US cousins trying to fight in courts etc. While those who have been practising Ministers have moved onto an Org that has the same sort of ethos but is as stated somewhat organised.

It has not helped either that Independent Ministry in the UK does exist in quite a number of ways with lots of Old Catholic, Independent Anglican, Messianic Jews, and others all participating in small but active ministry. Yet again ask any of these about the ULC UK and the response is universal, "what's that isn't that the ordination mill thing" whats worse that anyone who has come here in the past looking to get a bit more of an Org behind the ULC UK not change the ethos of the ULC but just so it could survive and grow beyond the confines of a forum.

Have been generally met with apathy, people have left the ULC to pursue their calling with Unitarians, or with one of the other types of Independent Ministry. With the response on here being good luck and yet no one once asks how could we have kept people pursuing their calling here with the ULC.

So, you are surprised by a lack of posts?

I don't mean to seem harsh, when I found the ULC I thought yes I could pursue my call, I quickly found there was nothing to help support me, no one with any experience of actually ministering independently or of any idea how much independent ministry took place in the UK or any groups on Social media where one could talk with others in the same boat.

I left the ULC renounced my credentials with them because it amounted to being a joke, I went through a proper seminary experience tailored to my specific needs which a lot of these independent ministires will do.

During this pandemic where the Church has had to go online in the mainstream it has been small Independent churches that have seen their workload increase indeed I hold weekly zoom prayer, I have had people from as far as America view my little live streamed services which are me and my family in a converted room using it as a Chapel and implementing online Communion and or spiritual Communion.

That has been incredible, yet where has the ULC UK ministers been on that front? Where has the burst of acitviity been where were the ULC UK. The answer were you've always been in a forum.......Pete I'm not saying that's your fault because it isn't because not everyone who is part of the ULC UK is a practasing minister etc and working independently in ministry takes a lot of time and it shouldn't fall to just one person.

So it's not a criticism of you, or of anyone person, it is a criticism on the lack of any organisation that is really required to go beyond the forum. The forum is a great starting point but what it's failed at for the longest time is being able to direct people beyond the Forum and so that is all the ULC UK is..... Its a forum.

Meanwhile on groups like the Progressive Christian Alliance discussion group I can see the sorts of conversations that have been had in this forum in greater number, I can also see those practicing PCA ministers, there are links to live streams from those holding Pagan services to those holding quaker like live streams.

There is communications from the Organisation behind the PCA (the discussion group comprised of people who arent a part of the org but find the conversations helpful in deconstruction and other things.)

I should also point out I'm no longer a part of the Progressive Christian Alliance as I have been serving in an Old Catholic Independent Anglican movement for sometime now. But I use the Progressive Christian Alliance as an example because it has a very similar ethos to the ULC but went on a path that has seen it grow. Because I know it had a lot of ULC former ministers come over.

My point is the PCA has a website a forum and also takes people beyond those things into social media and beyond that. This place hasn't changed or grown its stagnated which is a symptom of the wider ULC set up as well.

Stagnation invariably leads to one thing. Agian it's sad to see but the ULC is no longer the leader in being a safe place for those hurt by the mainstream, or those deconstructing, or those looking to serve a calling with a blended path or whatever it may be. PCA ordinations are recognised by multiple chaplaincy organisations across the world. They aren't just given out with now due process or background check etc.

Agian this post is going to read as harsh and that has not been my intent. But it has been what some of my frustrations have been and frankly what the reality has been.

The ULC has been left behind unwilling to change or grow others have taken up its mission it much more proactive ways. It will be sad to see it go..... But not shocking.

I'm sorry for the pain this will cause Pete and the others who have maintained the forum. But it's been on its last legs for a while.

Author:  Pete [ Mon May 10, 2021 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

one of the difficulties with taking a title of progressive Christian alliance is it uses the word Christian which puts that faith above all others even if the individual follows other paths. Christianity has always sort to have a hierarchy or a group of elders and all else are expected to follow their leadership. The ULC has fought against that by putting people on an equal footing and making each individual accountable for their own personal faith and not that of a church credo.
The other issue is if you register yourself as a progressive Christian alliance and you are not Christian then your being a pretender and hiding behind that pretense. The ULC is still a legal ministry in the US and can do marriages in most states. Just a few insist that you have to belong to a church of a named faith. However, if you are practicing your faith and ministry whether in a front room, a hired space or a religious building then that should not be a problem. Just contact ULC HQ for advice.

I personally attended the Quakers in the UK and when a marriage is carried out all attending sign the certificate as all are seen as ministers. Just that in the UK the body does have an individual working a a minister in title. In a Quaker meeting you get many people of differing faiths and viewpoints but seeing as no one individual is tasked with giving a sermon there is no issue here. The Body calls themselves the Religious society of friends rather than call themselves a church. Although the Quakers was started by Christians it does not exclusively insist all are of the same religion and therefore there is no pretense.
I had hope the ULC in the UK could also grow in that direction of being a body that has all faiths but sadly it has not worked. The Christians insist on a hierarchy and the rest insist that there is not.
There is no meeting of minds here it seems.

Author:  Rev Rob [ Mon May 10, 2021 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

Well I believe Christian in their name is more a nod to their origin more than any sort of hierarchy as I say the ethos of the PCA is almost exactly like the ULC it is for example the elected Leadership Chair the a lovely Transwoman had the following to say:

"I have been hurt by the church.
Relentlessly.

I think it should probably be self-evident, but sometimes I think I don't talk about it enough.

Because I am a minister, people see me as a defender of the church. People think that I want people to go to church or that I want people to ascribe to Christianity.

I don't.

I want people to be healthy and whole. I want people to find the path that most speaks to them, most calls to them, that gives them an abundant wellspring of life.
Only but rarely in my community is that Christianity.

But I don't want to abandon those who find their meaning here.
I don't want people who understand themselves as Christian as well as transgender to feel that they have to choose or that there can't be or isn't a place for them within the body of Christ.

I don't particularly like Christianity if I'm being honest. I think that on the whole it's flaws and the trauma it has caused the world outweighs its current worth. If I could do away with it in an instant, I very well might.

But I cannot.

And I cannot deny the part of me that finds myself in the story of Jesus.

I hold within myself this constant tension that the story of Christianity has become one of power. That it is a perverted thing. Twisted. When we see people in positions of power finding comfort in Christianity, it makes me want to vomit.

Nothing in the words of Jesus should comfort the powerful, comfort the agents of the state, comfort the vampires of capitalism, comfort the very idea of whiteness.

So I want to encourage you.

If you can.

Flee.

Find your identity in the holiness outside the boundaries of religious bondage.

I do not believe that Jesus wanted to create another religion. I do not believe that we should try to propagate it. I believe in freedom from it.

I remain on the inside to hold open the door.
To usher.
To encourage.
To remind you that you are whole and holy as you are made.
And that you don't need the death of anyone to find redemption.
Not the murder of a first century Palestinian Jew.
Not the murder of yourself.

Today unexpectedly I am holding a significant portion of the trauma of being a minister in a religion that almost exclusively teaches me to hate myself.
I'm swimming in it.

You don't have too.

________________________

But to those who wish to retain their Christian identity.

I encourage you as well. Do not ever let it comfort your positions of power, no matter how great or how small. But let it remind you that God is most accurately depicted as the person being lynched, and not the agents of power, state, money, religion, etc. that enact that violence.

Center your Christian identity not on a cross where the marginalized hang for healing people, for loving people, for preaching solidarity, but on the resistance of resurrection and refusing to stay dead.

We have had enough crucifixion.
Prepare for the day of reckoning instead.

Good news for the poor is bad news for the rich.
Freedom for the slaves is bad news for the slavers.
We try and have gospel that goes both ways. But that is a lie.

So maybe it's time we focus on woe.

Woe to the rich. Woe to the powerful. Woe to the prophets who comfort them. Woe to the police, the prison guards, and other slavers. Woe to the princes of industry. Woe to the bigots. Woe to the champions of inequity. Woe to the politicians in their fortresses of apathy. Woe. Woe. Woe.

May their wailing be a hymn to the heavens.
May it fill the ears of the saints.
May it pour out overflowing.
A cup of sweetness to the oppressed that fills the hearts of the powerful with bitterness and grief.

Find your christianity here.
Or let it die."

As I say the reason they use the Christian title isn't quite as simple as it would first seem. To be honest it's one of the reasons I left. I felt using the Christian title wasn't required and they change Christian to faith because in practise they already are.

As for US States etc. From what Im told a great many ULC ministers have dual affiliated (have ordination credentials with a more recognised org) they have done this because as I say the ULC name is well it is what it is.

As for here in the UK I'll stand by what I've said and all due respect Pete the last time any discussion of some sort of org was discussed you shot it down and got people involved on what was just a discussion which in reality wasn't going to go anywhere as there wasn't enough users.

Again it's sad I do think the ULC and the ULC in the UK could have done more, but I stand by what I've said. Others have come along with the ULC ethos and do it better.

Author:  Pete [ Tue May 11, 2021 2:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

When the ULC in the UK started we had around 200 members and several admin. Over the time it fell more and more on me. I stuck at it even though I was mostly on my own. Then it whittled down to three admin but again I have been on the forum more than anyone. People can expect more but it seemed it was an expectation that I would do all the organising. Now mainly there is two regular admin. One who makes the mechanics of the forum work and myself posting and talking to people. People slowly left to Facebook and other forums about their faith alone. Now we rarely get a post. It is upsetting but we have done as much as we can. Two people do not make an organisation. So no I do not believe more could be done. We need activists and people who get involved and work with us to grow. Without that I do not see anything happening. I will not take criticism. I have always been keen to see us grow but there we go.
I lost Christian's who wanted a Christian take over of ULC in the UK or they got involved in their church activity. I lost many pagans who joined Pagan forums and met often. For along time it was just me and Zen. We had a great Hindu member but I think he got tragically harmed in a hurricane. I am happy for people to get involved but they must not put their faith above others. Those who can and will do that are rare. Most who have volunteered just want a fancy title and be in charge of people of other Faiths. It is one of the reason I have never adopted any title in the forum. So that there is no hierarchy of Faiths and that it follows the ULC ethos of each individual minister being responsible for their own ministry.
Nowadays I am mostly involved with members involved in politics.

Author:  Rev Rob [ Tue May 11, 2021 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

Proofs in the pudding though isn't Pete?

As I say I tried to get a discussion going on growth and more of an Org and you responded the way you did. Is that a criticism of you? The fact that you seem so invested in the idea of the ULC UK as a forum is probably the criticism I have......

But its done, I'm done and it's does no good to dwell on things past and that's my fault for bringing it up but also a holdover of how enthusiastic I was about the ULC UK at the start, and the other things I've mentioned which I stand by but I'm not going to go over again.

I'll say simply it's sad to see it go but then you could easily move a lot of the content to Facebook though I know there may not be an appetite for that.

Well I wish you all the best I truly do.

Author:  Pete [ Thu May 13, 2021 2:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

There was a time when we had more members we designated an area for people to meet others and become active in their area. Trouble was people seem accept the idea but never met anyone. Till this date the only person who arranged to meet people was Carrie Myself and Zen met up and I enjoyed that. There was never any block from people meeting up in their area and organising activities or talks but they never happened. The only thing I was there for was the forum and not to instruct people what they do in their area. That was up for the members. I never saw myself as the leader, only as a resourse for people to meet around if they wanted support. The only thing I was against was the establishment of a hierarchy. We cannot Christian's in charge of Pagans or Atheists in charge of believers. We have had an attempted Christian take where they attempted to make everyone follow their lead and ethos. It was firmly rejected by the members. So unless you were neutral I could only see conflict. I did even think about putting you on the admin but you turned me down. You cannot dump it all on me. I tried my best in line with what other forums have done and they are getting the same problem. Facebook is winning.
Even the monastery which did set itself up as a rival organisation and church is not looking good with post few and mostly a year or two old.

Author:  Lisa [ Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

Hello all. I dont want this to close. I pop on when can. I cant read all right now as I'm actually unwell right now so excuse spelling errors, I only got meds today to stop dizziness...could be delayed concussion could be inner ear infection as i have a cold..just a cold nothing worse but i keep falling over. I'll try to read tomorrow aswords blur more than usual right now.

Author:  Pete [ Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

HI Lisa, Thank you for your post. It is good to hear that the site is valued. I am aware that you have had many things to deal with and I feel for you. It is just that the forum is seldom used and it is frustrating coming on each day to see no posts. I will consider what you have said. Even if we do close the forum both Neil and myself are available of facebook and you can message me. Maybe we will make more use of the facebook page so that it includes posts from all members. I will discuss this with Neil. I hope things improve for you. Your a good friend and we will stay in touch..

Author:  RevPhilH [ Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The End

It's been a while since I was here, and it came as quite a shock to see how posts have dwindled. I haven't been around because my life has undergone many changes, not all good. I have, however, happily pursued my ministry, have spent two years as an assistant chaplain to a county-wide organisation, followed by three years as chaplain, with my own assistant. During this time I also wrote and conducted a wedding blessing for one of my daughters. So the ULC remains active, at least in my little corner of the UK.

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