An alliance of religious progressives in Australia,
New Zealand and the South Pacific

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Progressive Christianity Australia

About Us

COMMON DREAMS is an alliance of Australian and New Zealand kindred organisations which promote the study, discussion and implementation of Progressive Christian and other progressive religious streams of thought and action. The alliance includes The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought (Canberra), The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought (Sydney), The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria, Progressive Spirituality Network (Queensland), St Luke’s Community at Remuera (Auckland), Pitt Street UC (Sydney), The Progressive Christian Network of South Australia, St Matthew’s-in-the City (Auckland), Progressive Network of Western Australia, and St Andrew’s On The Terrace (Wellington).

Progressive Christianity is a nondenominational approach to faith and spirituality. It seeks to understand Christian beliefs and doctrines in the light of modern biblical and historical scholarship and current scientific knowledge. It values inquiry and intellectual integrity. It rejects biblical literalism and inerrancy. It is open to diversity of opinion. Expressions of progressive streams in other religious faiths have similar approaches within their traditions.

The principal way the alliance pursues its objectives is through staging the major international Common Dreams Conference each three years which brings together for several days a large audience to hear and interact with a distinguished group of international, Australian and New Zealand scholars, researchers, writers and speakers. The first Conference was held in Sydney in August 2007 and featured Bishop John Shelby Spong as lead keynote speaker; the second was staged in Melbourne in April 2010, starring Gretta Vosper (a leading Canadian progressive); and the third in the series was presented in Canberra during September 2013 with Marcus Borg leading a strong line-up of international and Australian and New Zealand experts.

The proceedings of these conferences are made available as study resources for scholars, students and individuals.Common Dreams also arranges tours to Australia and New Zealand from time to time by leading scholars. The most recent of these was a visit to Sydney in September 2012 by Professor John Dominic Crossan, who delivered several days of lectures. A speaking tour (Common Dreams on the Road) of New Zealand and Australia by Professor Bernard Brandon Scott is scheduled for August-September 2014.

OUR BEGINNINGS… It all started in 2005. Rex Hunt was in Canberra and Jonathan Rea in Sydney. Both were actively involved in progressive religion/progressive Christianity. During one of their meetings around the Hunt dining room table in Canberra, Jonathan flagged, ‘we should stage a national progressive conference’.

To that end, Jonathan talked with Ian Pearson and a meeting was called for January 2006 at Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney. Present were: Rex Hunt (Canberra), Jonathan Rea, Ian Pearson, Eric Stevenson and Valerie Worswick (Sydney), Greg Jenks (Brisbane), and John Smith (Melbourne). Jim Veitch (NZ) was an apology. Discussion centred on establishing a national progressive religion network, using the Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Canberra as a model, which would then stage a national Conference. A theme for the first Conference was decided on: Common Dreams: Progressive Religion as a Transforming Agent. Principal speakers suggested included: Bishop John Shelby Spong, Brandon Scott, Joe Bessler-Northcutt. A tentative date was set for August 2007 in Sydney.

That national Conference was staged and was a huge success with people attending from Australia (every state was represented), New Zealand, USA and Canada. Towards Conference end, Rex Hunt approached Richard Carter of the newly formed Progressive Christian Network of Victoria and invited them to hold a second Conference in three years time. He accepted, giving birth to the Common Dreams Conferences.

Progressive Christianity Australia



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About Us

COMMON DREAMS is an alliance of Australian and New Zealand kindred organisations which promote the study, discussion and implementation of Progressive Christian and other progressive religious streams of thought and action. The alliance includes The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought (Canberra), The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought (Sydney), The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria, Progressive Spirituality Network (Queensland), St Luke’s Community at Remuera (Auckland), Pitt Street UC (Sydney), The Progressive Christian Network of South Australia, St Matthew’s-in-the City (Auckland), Progressive Network of Western Australia, and St Andrew’s On The Terrace (Wellington).

Progressive Christianity is a nondenominational approach to faith and spirituality. It seeks to understand Christian beliefs and doctrines in the light of modern biblical and historical scholarship and current scientific knowledge. It values inquiry and intellectual integrity. It rejects biblical literalism and inerrancy. It is open to diversity of opinion. Expressions of progressive streams in other religious faiths have similar approaches within their traditions.

The principal way the alliance pursues its objectives is through staging the major international Common Dreams Conference each three years which brings together for several days a large audience to hear and interact with a distinguished group of international, Australian and New Zealand scholars, researchers, writers and speakers. The first Conference was held in Sydney in August 2007 and featured Bishop John Shelby Spong as lead keynote speaker; the second was staged in Melbourne in April 2010, starring Gretta Vosper (a leading Canadian progressive); and the third in the series was presented in Canberra during September 2013 with Marcus Borg leading a strong line-up of international and Australian and New Zealand experts.

The proceedings of these conferences are made available as study resources for scholars, students and individuals.Common Dreams also arranges tours to Australia and New Zealand from time to time by leading scholars. The most recent of these was a visit to Sydney in September 2012 by Professor John Dominic Crossan, who delivered several days of lectures. A speaking tour (Common Dreams on the Road) of New Zealand and Australia by Professor Bernard Brandon Scott is scheduled for August-September 2014.

OUR BEGINNINGS… It all started in 2005. Rex Hunt was in Canberra and Jonathan Rea in Sydney. Both were actively involved in progressive religion/progressive Christianity. During one of their meetings around the Hunt dining room table in Canberra, Jonathan flagged, ‘we should stage a national progressive conference’.

To that end, Jonathan talked with Ian Pearson and a meeting was called for January 2006 at Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney. Present were: Rex Hunt (Canberra), Jonathan Rea, Ian Pearson, Eric Stevenson and Valerie Worswick (Sydney), Greg Jenks (Brisbane), and John Smith (Melbourne). Jim Veitch (NZ) was an apology. Discussion centred on establishing a national progressive religion network, using the Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Canberra as a model, which would then stage a national Conference. A theme for the first Conference was decided on: Common Dreams: Progressive Religion as a Transforming Agent. Principal speakers suggested included: Bishop John Shelby Spong, Brandon Scott, Joe Bessler-Northcutt. A tentative date was set for August 2007 in Sydney.

That national Conference was staged and was a huge success with people attending from Australia (every state was represented), New Zealand, USA and Canada. Towards Conference end, Rex Hunt approached Richard Carter of the newly formed Progressive Christian Network of Victoria and invited them to hold a second Conference in three years time. He accepted, giving birth to the Common Dreams Conferences.





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