The Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity is creating an Honorary Council made up of individuals who have been instrumental in charting the course of Progressive Christianity in Canada. As the progressive pioneers of this country become known to us, we hope to be able to include them on our council and draw upon their wisdom and courage.
Joanna Manning is a Catholic theologian, feminist, social activist, award-winning teacher and author of Take Back the Truth: Confronting Papal Power and the Religious Right (2002) and Is the Pope Catholic?: A Woman Confronts Her Church(1999). Manning has been outspoken about justice and moral issues within the Catholic Church such as their continued refusal to ordain women, and their positions on contraception, abortion and homosexuality. She provides energy and impact wherever she believes the Catholic Church is in need of a clearer vision.
The Reverend Dr. Bruce Miller is a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and has served Robertson Wesley United Church in Edmonton since 1990. There, he established the Pathways Centre in 2003, a centre devoted to offering progressive Christian education and dialogue to the Edmonton community. Miller is the Vice-Chair of the Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace. He is often called upon to offer guest lectures at the University of Alberta, Naramata Centre and St. Stephen’s College. We will draw on his experience with Pathways and the vision he has for developing Progressive Christianity at the grassroots level as we continue to grow.
Rick Miller, the energy and passion behind the provocative theatre production Bigger Than Jesus, was trained in Montreal as an architect, actor, and singer, and has performed in three languages on four continents. As the Artistic Director of WYRD Productions, he has created and performed the award-winning solo shows Art?, Slightly Bent, and the worldwide hit MacHomer, celebrating its tenth year of touring to capacity crowds. The two latest WYRD Productions have been co-creations: Into the Ring (with Seattle playwright/performer Dawson Nichols), and Bigger Than Jesus (with Daniel Brooks).
Rick is one of Canada’s most respected multi-disciplinary performers, with credits ranging from classical theatre to the avant-garde, from musicals to live comedy, from voice work to film & television. Through Bigger Than Jesus, he uses his many gifts to offer a critical and timely perspective on the church in a progressive, enlightened, and fearless manner. He lives in Toronto with his wife Stephanie Baptist and their daughter. When not on a plane, he can likely be found in a park or in his garden.
Don Murray is a United Church minister, educator, workshop facilitator and author, living with his partner Emily Kierstead, near Truro, Nova Scotia. He is now retired, having served various pastorates in the Maritimes for 32 years and as Program Director and Executive Director of Tatamagouche Centre for 8 years.
Having awakened to “the-death-of-God” in the early 1960′s, he has been an avid searcher. Following his theological education in the quiet 1950′s he became a Human Relations Trainer (with NTI); a member of The International Transactional Analysis Association; National Training Institute Council of Fellows; attended Jean Houston’s School of Sacred Psychology (better known as Mystery School), and discovered Carl Jung, “the psychiatrist of Christianity.” He has authored two books, For Unbelieving Christians (1987) and Celebrating Eve, (2001). Since 2001 he writes a weekly Religion Column for the Truro Daily News.
He and Emily supply in local congregations, lead workshops and enjoy a Seekers group, which they started a few years ago. They are involved with CCPC, The Snowstar Institute, and the Atlantic Seminar on Theological Education.
Bill Phipps’ fame spread like wildfire following a controversial article printed in the Ottawa Citizen in November of 1997 in which his remarks, given in his position as Moderator of The United Church of Canada, about the divinity of Jesus achieved the dual trick of striking chords with those who shared his quest and hitting nerves for those who felt he was betraying his Christian heritage. Regardless of which side of the debate you found yourself, you had to agree that the conversation had started and it was crucial.
Following his three year stint as Moderator of the United Church, Bill returned to his ministry with Scarboro United Church from which he retired in the Spring of 2007. Subsequent to his retirement, Bill completed his book, Cause for Hope, and currently tours and lectures on the challenge of facing the environmental crisis in which we find ourselves. He lives in Calgary with his partner, author Carolyn Pogue.