From 2008, University of Leeds research on Christianity and sexuality has
changed both the form and the content of church discussions of sexuality,
mainly but not only within the global Anglican Communion. The relevant
Leeds-based research is Ward's work on sexuality and global Anglicanism
(2002-); an international study of Anglican/Episcopal churches
(2008-2010); and Muers' work on theology, sexuality and gender (2007-).
Specifically, Leeds research shaped the design and evaluation of the
Anglican Communion's "Continuing Indaba" (2008-) process. Leeds research
has also informed the content of that debate, and in promoting
understanding of under- recognised perspectives in wider debates on
From 2002 the Centre for the Study of World Christianity (CSWC), formerly
Centre for the Study
of Christianity in the Non-Western World (CSCNWW), at the University of
an action research process which culminated in the establishment of nine
groups from 2008-10 leading to the international conference `Edinburgh
2010', a major
ecumenical conference with delegates from 115 Christian denominations.
livestreamed around the world, marked the centennial of the Edinburgh
Conference 1910 (EWMC 1910). Drawing on its research on EWMC 1910, CSWC
an international process of knowledge co-creation involving and
benefitting churches, church
leaders, clergy, laity, ecumenical and mission organisations, as well as
scholars of Christian
mission and Christian history. The project has led to increased
understandings of Christianity as
a religion of the global South as well as North, and a reinvigoration of
partnership in mission reflecting this understanding, as evidenced in form
of impacts on
theological education at the global level.
Research on ecclesiology undertaken by Revd Dr Alison Milbank:
Research into the psychology of prayer aids the Church of England in one
of its key areas of
mission, to engage with and to promote the spiritual health of the nation.
promotes the engagement of those who do not necessarily attend church to
engage with their
spiritual development. The research conducted into the analysis of prayer
cards left in
churches and cathedrals has influenced: the development of a Church of
website; the reconceptualization and reorganisation of the Bangor
Cathedral prayer request
area; and integration of prayer card analyses in larger research projects
initiated by Church of
England dioceses exploring church growth.
This case study describes the impact of Orthodox theological research at
Winchester on Orthodox
Christian life in the UK at several levels. The development of the
Winchester Orthodox Network — a
study and research network bringing academics together with members of
communities — has had diverse impacts on the engagement of Orthodox life
with British contexts,
including: (a) a major contribution to the Orthodox Fellowship of St John
the Baptist, enabling
theological research to inform the practice of clergy and their
communities; (b) expert advisory
work; (c) continuing education for serving clergy; (d) the use of research
expertise in informing the
catechesis, liturgical and spiritual life of Orthodox parishes in
Challenging the popular perception of Pentecostalism as a
`made-in-the-USA' religion and
advocating the global beginnings, multiple origins and local initiatives
of the phenomenon,
Anderson's research has had profound effects on the self-understanding
and practices of
Pentecostal Christian churches across the globe. He has inspired a
through his outputs that are used within Pentecostal communities and have
resulted in invitations
to give public lectures and addresses to large, global church audiences.
His writings and lectures have also influenced the philosophy behind
curriculum design and
course content in seminaries where lay and ordained ministers are
trained, particularly in India,
the Philippines, South Korea, Ghana and Ecuador. The Anderson agenda for
Pentecostal identities has helped develop a new vision for the movement
regional missionary expressions.
Sebastian Brock's research on Syriac language, literature, and religion
has changed public understanding of the history of Christianity and
directly influenced the practices and beliefs of several Christian
communities, helping to overturn centuries of theological opinion and
persuading the leadership of western churches that Syriac Christianity is
not a heretical offshoot but a central part of its history and
development. The impact of his research is significant not just for
followers of the Syriac traditions, for whom he has authored many
resources for instruction and liturgy, but also for other denominations,
including the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches and Roman Catholicism.
His research opened the way to stronger relations among these communities,
leading to official doctrinal agreements between the Roman Catholic church
and the Syriac language-using churches. His publications have cemented his
reputation as the voice of scholarly authority within the Syriac church.
In Autumn 2011, Dr Stephen Bullivant was appointed Director of the
European Society for Catholic Theology's research project into 'the
nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to
the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society'
(InSpiRe 2013), and with a special focus on the nature and causes of
clerical sexual abuse.
Given the gravity and urgency of the topic, the project's 'impact aims'
have been to engage two particular non-academic audiences: the Catholic
hierarchy, and those involved in setting church policy regarding
safeguarding and the handling of abuse allegations; and the wider Catholic
public (i.e., the Church as a whole). Its intention is to introduce both
to the wealth of academic research being conducted in this area, and from
which the Church can and must learn.
Although the research project was only recently concluded — and several
of the main outputs have yet to appear — a significant amount of both
kinds of impact has, even at this very early stage, already occurred.
Since the project launch in September 2012, major figures from the world
of Catholic safeguarding, at both national and international levels have
been involved in various ways. Most notably, the Vatican's own chief
prosecutor of abuse allegations has described the project as constituting
'an important moment to move from the hierarchy to the theologians' for
proper reflection 'on this most tragic wound in the Church and in society'
(Vatican Radio 2012a; 2012b; see section 4, below). The project has also
received notable coverage from the international Catholic media.
Lincoln's research treats historical, literary, theological and
hermeneutical issues in New Testament studies. Aiming to be accessible in
its presentation, it has an impact throughout the English-speaking world
on leaders in churches, teachers and sixth formers in schools and a broad
audience interested in the interpretation of the Bible. In particular, it
has contributed to bridging the gap between academic biblical studies and
popular understanding in the church and society, as readers turn to his
work on New Testament texts and issues to find ways to integrate the
challenges of critical reading with an appreciation of the contemporary
significance of the Bible for theological thinking and the religious
At a time of decline in church attendance in the UK, the models and
patterns of leadership that
churches have traditionally utilized have been questioned and rethought.
In this context, aspects of
the research carried out in Divinity and Religious Studies at the
University of Aberdeen have
focused on the leadership of the church, as a key user group of research
in Divinity. This research
has led to changes in models and patterns of leadership within the
churches. To illustrate this, this
case study examines two related examples of the impact of research carried
out in the UoA in
different sub-disciplines. Drane's (1998-2004) work in Practical
Theology has impacted the church
leadership's approach to spirituality and Fresh Expressions of Church
through Mission Shaped
Ministry and through his work with the Church of Scotland. Clarke's
historical and theological
research into New Testament texts and first-century contexts have been
brought to bear on
contemporary contexts of church leadership, within both Scottish Baptist
and Church of Scotland
settings. Claimed impact is, therefore, on the patterns and practice
of ministry in these churches as
a result of the research of Drane and Clarke.