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 Progressive Christian Network of Victoria, Progressive Christian Network Queensland, Progressive Christianity Aotearoa (NZ), St Luke’s Community at Remuera (Auckland), Pitt Street Uniting Church (Sydney), The Progressive Christian Network of South Australia, & Progressive Network of Western Australia. “Two founding groups - The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Canberra and The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Sydney - have since gone into recess, but individual members still share in local discussions and national events.”
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 real reason why progressive Christianity exists is not to prune away archaisms and false accretions. It exists to be an authentic gospel voice, to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ life and teaching: a vision of humanity united to the sacred and to one another in love and justice.”—Rev Dr Margaret Mayman
The principal way the alliance pursues its objectives is through staging the major international Common Dreams Conference each three years. These conferences bring 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); 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 fourth was held in Brisbane in September 2016 featuring Diana Butler Bass. The next conference will be presented in Sydney 11-14 July 2019 & the distinguished international guest will be Matthew Fox.
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 under the banner of Common Dreams On The Road. Our touring visitors have included Professor John Dominic Crossan (twice), Professor Bernard Brandon Scott (twice), Rev Dr Robin Meyers, Rev Dr David Galston, Professor Hal Taussig, & Professor Joe Bessler.