1st Edition

Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of British and Irish Practical Theology Roots, Shoots and Fruits

Edited By Andrew P. Rogers, Nicola Slee Copyright 2021
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Practical theology has become a well-established academic discipline in Britain and Ireland over the past half century, evidenced in its chairs, journals, books, conferences, and contribution to transformed practices. The British and Irish Association for Practical Theology (BIAPT) and its journal, Practical Theology, has had a significant role to play in the story of the discipline.

    This volume is a celebration of practical theology in Britain and Ireland in all its inventiveness and variety on the occasion of BIAPT’s twenty-fifth birthday. It offers an account of its roots in its emergence from the Scottish Pastoral Association in the 1960s, its trajectories established in the journal Contact/Practical Theology and how human experience has been a constant companion on the journey. The book considers a range of methodologies including engagement with popular culture, public theology, the arts, and the importance of conversation. It explores new shoots in the discipline that consider how sexuality, ethnicity, and different religious traditions may be addressed within practical theology. It concludes by asking how it may be fruitful in the future, by reflecting on the challenges ahead, not least the ubiquity of ignorance. This is a landmark text in the unfolding of British and Irish practical theology in all its glorious distinctiveness, which promises to be a major contribution to international debate in the discipline.

    The chapters in this book were first published in Practical Theology.


    Andrew P. Rogers and Nicola Slee

    Part I: Roots

    1. Soil, roots and shoots: the emergence of BIAPT

    David Lyall and Paul Ballard

    2. Keeping Contact: traditions and trajectories of British and Irish practical theology as evidenced in the history of BIAPT’s journal

    Stephen B. Roberts

    3. The human face of God: notes on a journey through practical theology

    Elaine Graham

    Part II: Methodologies

    4. Theology in practice, in an age of wizards, hobbits and vampires

    Clive Marsh

    5. Creative arts-based research methods in practical theology: constructing new theologies of practice

    Clare Louise Radford

    6. No longer ‘speaking truth to power’

    Graeme Smith

    7. Conversations in practical theology

    Stephen Pattison

    Part III: Pluralities

    8. Shoots of equal marriage and partnership in the Church of England: a harvest rooted and nurtured through practical theology

    Gill Henwood

    9. Doing diaspora practical theology: insights into how culture, ethnicity and national identity shape theological practices and expressions of UK-African diaspora churches

    Hartness M. Samushonga and Nomatter Sande

    10. Pluralising practical theology: international and multi-traditional challenges and opportunities

    Katja Stuerzenhofecker

    11. Practical Theology on the Island of Ireland

    Members of BIAPT Ireland

    Part IV: Challenges

    12. The ubiquity of ignorance: a practical theological challenge of our time

    Courtney T. Goto

    13. Back to the future: intercultural, postcolonial and inter-religious streams in practical theology

    Emmanuel Y. A. Lartey

    14. What comes next? Practical theology, faithful presence, and prophetic witness

    John Swinton


    Andrew P. Rogers is Principal Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Roehampton, London, UK. He is the author of Congregational Hermeneutics: How Do We Read? (Routledge, 2016), was Vice-Chair and then Chair of BIAPT from 2015 to 2019, and is currently co-convenor of the BIAPT Bible and Practical Theology group.

    Nicola Slee is Director of Research at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK, and Professor of Feminist Practical Theology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is currently the Chair of BIAPT. Her most recent book is Fragments for Fractured Times: What Feminist Practical Theology Brings to the Table (SCM, 2020).