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Title: The theory and practice of extended communion, with particular reference to parishes within the Anglican Diocese of Oxford
Author: Tovey, Philip Noel
ISNI:       0000 0001 3535 6427
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2006
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The Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, and the Church of England recently introduced a service of 'extended communion',which is the distribution of previously consecrated elements by lay-people to congregations, in the absence of a priest This has been a highly controversial service, many theologians being against it, while at the same time policy-makers having to introduce the service. It is justified in part by reference to patristic precedent and to pastoral need, which raises significant theoretical questions about the relationship of theory and practice. This thesis analyzes the introduction of this service, particularly in relation to the changing context for the church, and the declining numbers of clergy. Policy-maker's assumptions are identified as hypotheses to test The research then conducts a small-scale qualitative research project in the Diocese of Oxford to uncover and evaluate significant issues in practice. This part of the thesis, tests the ten hypotheses previously identified, and discovers and evaluates the development oflocal theology, previous research not having included this level of theological debate. 32 interviews in six parishes were conducted, as well as observational research and documentary analysis. The research challenges the assumption that extended communion is primarily a rural phenomenon, and the evidence uncovered suggests that the principal usage is clergy cover, whatever the espoused theory. This gap between theory and practice is developed into a methodological debate about the relationship between empirical research and theological enquiry. A model is created which gives a priority to revelation, but acknowledges its interpretation as provisional, and allows a challenge to theology from empirical findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available