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Re-imagining Church in a Changing Culture

  • Course Dates: Mon 12 April, 2:00 pm to Thu 15 April, 2:00 pm

Much has been written about the dramatic decline in Church membership and attendance as evidence of ‘the death of Christian Britain’ since the 1960s to the present day, raising questions about the future of the institutional church in particular and ‘organised religion’ in general.

This module aims to go beyond such ‘headlines’ to equip students to understand and critique patterns of decline and growth which are characteristic of the church in the 21st century using both theological and sociological tools.

The Church in the UK will be ‘read’ in the wider context of social, religious and cultural change, and compared with the situation in Europe, America and the developing world. Both the challenges facing the contemporary church, and the responses offered, will be critically examined; with particular reference to patterns of community, mission and ministry.

This module will enable students to acquire the necessary tools to understand the Church in mission in contemporary culture. It will offer the opportunity to appraise new ways of being Church and assess different types of Church growth both past and present. Students will be encouraged to learn about different cultures and explore different theologies in relation to mission e.g. liberation theologies, black theologies green theologies and the contemporary missional conversation.

Those not on the MA programme are very welcome to book on this module as an auditor.

Book your place as an auditor 


Dr Eleanor McLaughlin is Programme Leader for the Theology, Imagination and Culture programmes at Sarum College. Her research interests include Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology, theological anthropology, and disability theology.Keith Elford is a leadership expert with 20 years experience supporting leaders to make sustainable and transformative changes in their organisation. He is Programme Leader for Leadership Learning at Sarum College. Guest lecturers include Professor Chris Baker William Temple Research Professor of Religion and Public Life at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research explores how our beliefs, values and worldviews influence the way individuals and organisations act in public life across politics, business, and civil society. Dr Katie Cross is Christ’s College Fellow in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen and the author of The Sunday Assembly and Theologies of Suffering (Routledge, 2020). Her research and teaching is centred on trauma and disaster as well as secularisation and unbelief. Dr Tim Hutchings is Assistant Professor of Religious Ethics, Faculty of Arts, University of Nottingham. Professor Anthony Reddie is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture, within Regent’s Park College, in the University of Oxford. He is editor of Black Theology: An International Journal. Dr Cathy Ross is Head of Pioneer Leadership Training at CMS (Church Mission Society). Her research interests are in the areas of contextual theologies, World Christianity, feminist theologies and hospitality. Dr Léon van Ommen is Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Autism and Christian Community.
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