The case study looks at interreligious engagement made possible by an
`axis' between Heythrop College and the multicultural world of Southall,
West London. The impact falls mainly into two types. The first is
generated by the activities in and around Southall, focused on developing
new forms of religious expression and the potential for change in
religious practice and interreligious understanding in the local area. The
second flows from a project that brought together a number of individuals
from different religious traditions to learn how to practise the skills of
interreligious relations. The impact includes personal and professional
development as well as the processes of learning with and between persons
from different religious communities in a variety of contexts.
This case study focuses on Professor Tina Beattie's contribution to
high-profile debates concerning academic freedom, Catholic universities
and church teaching. Beattie's research has had an influential impact on
public discourse, through her interventions on same-sex marriage, the new
atheism, and women in religion. The reach and influence of her public work
is extended by journalism and media appearances, international lectures,
and contributions to education and awareness-raising programmes in
religious orders, parishes, universities and schools.
David Ford's research on Scriptural Reasoning, a form of inter-faith
dialogue in which Muslims,
Christians and Jews meet to discuss extracts from their respective
scriptures, has led to the
creation of Scriptural Reasoning groups in multiple non-academic contexts,
from UK prison
chaplains to Israeli and Palestinian doctors, and so to deepening
engagement and learning
between people from different religious traditions. Those groups engage in
the practice which Ford
and others have developed, putting the underlying research into practice
in a variety of local
conditions, and thereby fostering peaceful and fruitful inter-faith
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.
This impact case study relates to the development of a public theology
for peace-making. Public theology concerns Christians engaging in dialogue
with those outside church circles on various issues of common interest and
involves urging Christians to take the opportunity to participate in the
public domain in modern secular democracies. In the course of, and as a
result of, his research on the public engagement of theology in the modern
and post-modern societies of India, Korea and the UK, Professor Sebastian
Kim has developed methodologies which enable theology to make a public
contribution to peace-making.
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.
The National Centre for Christian Education (NCfCE) is one of only two
research centres in the United Kingdom engaged in empirical work which
directly impacts policy development in the maintained Christian school
sector and informs national debate around Christian educational provision.
The NCfCE has partnered the Catholic Education Service, The National
Society (Church of England) and Academy sponsors Oasis Learning Community
in projects which have focused on three specialist areas: 1) The spiritual
formation of Christian teachers and school leaders, 2) The impact of
Catholic schools, with a particular emphasis on social cohesion and 3) The
development of distinctive ethos in Christian schools and academies.
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
Professor John Milbank's research at the University of Nottingham has:
Catherine Pickstock's metaphysical approach to liturgical texts and her
associated critique of middle to late twentieth century Roman Catholic and
Anglican liturgical revision, have influenced recent liturgical revisions
in several Christian denominations and several languages. Her work has
impacted upon civil society, specifically the mediation of cultural
capital as found in (1) liturgical practice; (2) the training of
seminarians worldwide (with Granada and Cambridge as examples); (3) the
way in which new priests are taught to celebrate the liturgy; (4) the way
liturgy is thought about by practitioners, laity and non-religious people;
and (5) public discourse. This impact is attested by citations in
published liturgical revision commentaries, bibliographies from training
institutions, testimonies, blogs and other discussion forums, as well as
by the range of international public lectures, interviews and other kinds
of extra-academic engagement she has been invited to give.