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Title: Ecologies of encounter : a practical theological exploration of church engagement with people seeking asylum in the UK
Author: Synder, Susanna Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 4155
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2009
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Asylum seeking provokes strong responses in political and social discourse. Churches in the UK are supporting those seeking asylum in a variety of ways. There has been little critical theological reflection on these practices to date and this thesis presents fragments to fill this gap. Situated methodologically within the field of Practical Theology, it explores the encounters between churches and people seeking asylum by creating a new interdisciplinary conversation between Forced Migration Studies, Biblical Studies and Theology. Asylum seeking in the UK is set within the context of the global migration-asylum nexus and a pervasive 'ecology of fear' is recognised as a significant underlying reason for the difficulties experienced by asylum seekers. Two distinct strands of biblical response to strangers are then identified. The first, exemplified in Ezra-Nehemiah, represents responses made from within an ecology of fear. The second, exemplified in Ruth and the pericope of the Syro-Phoenician Woman, represents responses made from within an alternative 'ecology of faith'. This thesis argues that understanding the ecology of fear and performing an ecology of faith challenges churches to continue, deepen and alter a range of their current practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available