256 pages | 1 B/W Illus.
From 2006 to 2011 researchers at Heythrop College and the Oxford Centre for ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT, Ripon College Cuddesdon) worked on a theological and action research project: "Action Research – Church and Society (ARCS). 2010 saw the publication of Talking About God in Practice: Theological Action research and Practical Theology (SCM), which presented in an accessible way the work of ARCS and its developing methodology. This turned out to be a landmark study in the praxis of Anglican and Catholic ecclesiology in the UK, showing how theology in these differing contexts interacted with the way in which clergy and congregations lived out their religious convictions. This book is a direct follow up to that significant work, authored by one of the original researchers, providing a systematic analysis of the impact of the "theological action research" methodology and its implications for a contemporary ecclesiology.
The book presents an ecclesiology generated from church practice, drawing on scholarship in the field as well as the results of the theological action research undertaken. It achieves this by including real scenarios alongside the academic discourse. This combination allows the author to tease out the complex relationship between the theory and the reality of church.
Addressing the need for a more developed theological and methodological account of the ARCS project, this is a book that will be of interest to scholars interested not only Western lived religion, but ecclesiology and theology more generally too.
1. Disclosing Church: attending to people, attending to the Spirit.
Part I - The Project: ‘Action research - Church and Society’ (ARCS)
Rationale for Part I
2. The ARCS project: reflections on a research community and its practices
4. Theology in Four Voices
Part II – Contextual Themes
Rationale for Part II
A. Account of Practice: London Jesuit Volunteers
5. The Geographical Context: London, the global city
B. Account of Practice: Westminster Agency for Evangelisation
6. The Organisational Contexts: dioceses, parishes, and faith-based agencies
Part III - Ecclesiological themes
Rationale for Part III
C. Account of Practice: St. Mary’s Battersea
7. Church in Mission: learning ecclesial ek-centrcity
D. Account of Practice:Messy Church, South Croydon
8. Identifying church: edginess and edge-lessness
E. Account of Practice: Housing Justice
9. Sacrament and sacramentality: celebrating the peri-liturgical sacramental
F.Account of Practice: Portsmouth Diocese
10. Orders and ordering: life together in the power of the Spirit
G. Account of Practice:Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
11. Tradition: normativity, creativity and faithful treachery
Part IV – Conclusions
Rationale to Part IV
12. What account of Church? Edgelessness, Fragility, and Discernment.
13. What account of theology? Practical Fundamental Theology.
14. Ecclesiology by Epiphanies: a prospect.
Appendix – Outline of a single theological action research cycle
Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.