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Title: Is explaining faith enough? : how might the language of 'everyday' theologies challenge current approaches
Author: Peacock, Nicholas James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 926X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Understanding learning is critical for churches as it is crucial to how people discover more about faith. Published courses aimed at newcomers and lapsed/sporadic churchgoers dominate learning in the Church of England. These courses adopt a pedagogy of direct learning (transmitting information from teacher to learner, sometimes uncritically) with content which explains the ‘basics’ of faith. They are a part of the Church’s priority to reverse the ongoing decline in attendance. This research argues that direct learning is insufficient because it fails to appreciate the complexity of learning within parishes. It assesses how ‘everyday’ theologies (theologies that move from experience, context, and practice towards understanding of God and faith tradition) might play an essential role in parish-based learning. First, it establishes four key principles of adult learning by considering the work of John Hull, Jeff Astley, Denham Grierson, and Robert Grainger. Second, it places the current position of the Church of England in perspective by exploring relevant aspects of its history since 1945. Third, it analyses reports and papers submitted to General Synod concerning the Renewal and Reform programme of transformation that are related to learning. Fourth, it brings the current situation into a dialogue with everyday theologies. This correlation leads to the conclusion that an understanding of everyday theologies could make a substantial contribution to learning practice in the Church of England by valuing the latent theological voices that are unexpressed by individuals and hidden within the history and practices of local parishes and communities. The Church’s current focus on increasing attendance through methods of intentional evangelism which champion the direct explanation of an over-simplified faith, however, means that it might move in the opposite direction. Moreover, the evangelistic focus advocated by Renewal and Reform is built on insubstantial theological foundations. Renewal and Reform risks moving the Church’s ecclesiology in a sectarian direction as it explains its message to a society from which it is increasingly alienated. This thesis calls for the Church of England to reject the attitude to learning that is centred on the direct explanation of Christian basics and evangelism in favour of one which works alongside individuals and communities and enables them to explore fully and creatively the place of God in their lives.
Supervisor: Joyce, Paul Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available