• Ecumenical Mission Communities in the County of Cumbria: An Interrogation of the Impact of Implementation on Chaplaincy Models

      Glynn, Jones (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      In 2014 Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army and United Reformed churches in Cumbria came together under a formal covenant to form ‘Mission Communities’. The stated intention for these new groupings was to resolve to seek out every opportunity for joint initiatives: to work together to equip both lay and ordained ministry – and to share buildings and resources wherever possible. Mission Communities were to share a common evangelistic emphasis under the banner of ‘God for All’. This thesis identifies that the ecumenical and evangelistic nature of the new, imposed structure has been the cause of a disconnect between chaplains and Mission Communities. The research question addressed throughout is, ‘What is the impact of Mission Communities on chaplaincy models in Cumbria?’ After tracing the historical development of Mission Communities, due to the needs of the research I identified all the chaplains in the county and offered every one of them the opportunity to participate by expressing their perception of how the introduction of Mission Communities has impacted upon their work and ministry. A thematic analysis of responses extrapolates that five significant issues arise: ecumenism, same-sex relations, sacraments, the role of women in Christian leadership and episcopacy. The weight of the collective view on each of these issues is balanced against an alternative view and then synthesised into a summary of the theological and practical impact as a whole. Whilst the purpose of this research was to identify early impact with a view to informing the wider church of the implications of reorganising in this way, the results are mixed and reflect the issues that were uppermost in church conversation at the time the research was conducted. It may provide the foundation for a longitudinal study at the conclusion (in 2020) of the Cumbrian outreach initiative ‘God for All’, when ecumenical Mission Communities in Cumbria will have been established for four years and a second phase of impact can be assessed. Three outcomes were envisaged: 1) To provide denominational leaders with a basis on which to assess the impact that their decisions have made on ordained and lay ministers across Cumbia. 2) To encourage chaplains to assess how they engage and function with Mission Communities after identifying themselves and/or their colleagues in this study. 3) To be of practical use to those of the wider church who may be in the process of exploring similar changes. To this end, the thesis concludes with a clear set of recommendations to enable chaplains and Mission Communities to reconnect.
    • An Examination of an Ongoing Process of Transition of an Older Generation Church to a Narrative Form of Preaching

      Wright, Stephen; Rich, Tony; Ford, Tim (University of Chester, 2017-06)
      Preaching remains central to the Evangelical Church tradition. This research examined whether the style of preaching in one such church could usefully be transitioned into another style which might be more widely helpful for congregants. Analysis of this church’s archives suggested a preaching pattern that tended towards a single style, often in ‘points’ and ‘sub-points’ irrespective of the literary genres of the biblical text preached upon. The style primarily conveyed information to the listeners and in varying degrees offered ‘application’ to their lives. The aim of the research was to examine whether a focus on the narrative of the Bible, from individual texts to the biblical meta-narrative, and setting this within the congregational life narratives, would offer a better and more varied style of preaching. The proposed preaching style emphasises engagement with the text rather than primarily offering information about it. Richard Osmer’s reflective cycle was adopted as the methodological framework for this thesis. The research was conducted within the church community and was largely a qualitative inquiry. Congregants reflected on past and present preaching, and on a series of sermons preached in a narrative style. The congregational research was then examined in the light of established homiletic literature. The main findings were a positive response to the new style, and unexpectedly that there was an interest in congregants being directly involved in sermons through interjections, particularly in offering life illustrations that relate to what the preacher is saying. This moves away from a preacher and hearer framework to that of the sermon being a shared event. As a result of the research a preaching model called ‘threefold narrativity’ is proposed in the thesis. This model allows for variations of the style of individual sermons within the model, and a means by which a preacher may monitor the balance of sermons is offered. Ways of implementing change in order to utilise this model were then considered, and a final meta-reflection of the process is made.
    • Focalization in the Old Testament Narratives with Specific Examples from the Book of Ruth

      Firth, David; Nazarov, Konstantin (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      The works in the field of general narratology that have been written since the first introduction of the concept by Genette in 1972 demonstrate a great dynamic in the development of this concept. Unfortunately, the refinements of Genette’s theory often suffer from inconsistency of definitions and remain heuristic, which does not allow the dissemination of the achievements to other types of texts (for example, Old Testament narratives). In the field of biblical narratology the concept of focalization (especially its recent development) was largely overlooked, and the attempts to study the Old Testament narratives in relation to the notion of focalization are generally not accompanied by careful examination of the subject. The purpose of the present research is the consideration of the narratological concept of focalization with regard to the Book of Ruth. To this end, the research examines if recent narrative theories suggest a universal methodology of exploring focalization that can be equally applicable to any narrative texts (including Old Testament narratives) and what are the specifics of applying this methodology to the Old Testament narratives? To answer the question above, the research considers Wolf Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution and Valeri Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures as universal models for studying focalization. With some modifications and refinements these ideas are transformed into a methodology of studying focalization in the Old Testament narratives. The application of the method to the Book of Ruth shows that on the level of selection of narrative information, the narrator selects sixteen episodes that constitute four narratological events that became the basis of the plot. Then, on the level of composition by the means of reported speech and the play of horizons, those episodes and events were placed in a certain order. Finally, on the level of presentation, these events were presented mainly in the scope of internal focalization, which as demonstrated in the work correlates with the use of the qatal form of the Hebrew verb. Since Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution claims to be universal, the method of studying focalization can be equally applied to other Old Testament narratives. Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures can help to emphasize narratological events and to blueprint the thread of the narrative and logic of selectivity for those Old Testament narratives that do not have clear division into episodes and events. A subject of special interest is the question if the hypothesis about correlation between constructions with the qatal form of the Hebrew verb and internal focalization remains true to other Old Testament narratives.
    • Forming Ministers or Training Leaders? An Exploration of Practice and the Pastoral Imagination

      Wright, Nigel; Clarke, Anthony J. (University of Chester, 2017-02)
      This thesis is a piece of practitioner research located in the context of the author’s practice as Tutor in Pastoral Studies at Regent’s Park College. It is written from the context of change, both from denominational reviews, university restructuring and government funding and from wider changes in theological education and arises from a sense of dissatisfaction that recent debates have tended to separate out a discussion about the preparation for ministry from an understanding of ministry itself. The thesis explores ideas of ministry and leadership, arguing that, in the face of the challenge posed by leadership language and thought, a historic and contemporary Baptist understanding of ministry is best understood through a dialectical model of ministry, a habitus, rather than through a habitus of leadership. It then charts the history of preparation for ministry among Baptists and explores the contemporary developments in language and suggests that formation is the most appropriate and helpful description of the process.
    • Germain Grisez’s natural law and creation theology as a framework for reflection on climate change and the ecological crisis

      Clough, David; Deane-Drummond, Celia; Turvey, Jacaranda L. (University of Liverpool, 2016-01)
      My thesis is that a recovery of Germain Grisez’s theological ethics in relation to the environment and the application of his conservative Catholic methodology to climate change can yield a novel and significant contribution to Catholic theological reflection on this central challenge in an age of ecological crisis. This thesis argues that climate change and the wider ecological crisis are ‘signs of the times’—and hence are appropriate issues for Catholic theological reflection—both in principle and on the basis of their classification as such within the authoritative teaching of the Church’s magisterium. The scientific evidence for the phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming is robust and the UNFCCC establishes a collective legal obligation to deliver a greenhouse gas abatement strategy rigorous enough to prevent ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the earth’s climatic system’. This thesis questions both the assumption of endemic anthropocentricism in the Judeo-Christian tradition and the critical-revisionist methodology adopted by a number of ecotheologians in relation to Vatican teaching on the basis of this assumption. This thesis proposes an alternative approach to reflection on ecological issues employing a conservative Catholic theological method exemplified in the work of Germain Grisez. This thesis proposes a rereading of Grisez’s natural law through the lens of his creation theology that reveals an important and hitherto overlooked resource for environmental ethics. Although Grisez himself does not address the climate challenge in his published work, this thesis shows that his ecological insights are pertinent to the issue and application of his theological method can contribute constructively to the wider project of confronting the climate crisis from a Catholic perspective. This thesis further argues that Grisez’s reconstruction of natural law is viable, in that it represents one philosophically cogent solution to the naturalistic fallacy, and that neither his choice of this solution nor his divergence from Classical Thomism compromise the construction of a ‘Grisez School environmental ethics’. In addition, his natural law has the virtue of catholicity in its capacity to contribute to ecumenical and secular debates necessary to the resolution of the climate crisis.
    • The Gift of Leaven: A new feminist theological praxis for urban church

      Dawson, Claire L (University of Chester, 2019-09)
      This thesis documents my research quest into the post-regeneration community of Bootle, North Liverpool. A Housing Market Renewal Initiative had decimated the area. As a Church of England minister, I was struggling to find signs of life and had no theological paradigm in which to situate my ministerial practice. My argument is that the current arborescent theology and practices of the Church of England have excluded the phronēsis of white working-class women and have failed to deliver a life-sustaining praxis for urban church. I argue for a reprioritisation of the poor and the inclusion of marginalised voices; allowing these voices to shape and define the academy as opposed to letting the academy shape which voices are to be heard. I came to this research holding a feminist and liberative theological standpoint: prioritising and privileging the voices of women and those on the margins. My research design adopts a feminist and narrative methodological framework in its quest to uncover the hidden phronēsis of the Bootle women. The transcripts of their lives are analysed using a thematic network analysis which generates three global themes: hope; placed and particular; and the death space. This thematic network is the main finding of my research quest and is the Gift of Leaven: the distilled phronēsis of the Bootle women. This research project is multidisciplinary. The Gift of Leaven is brought into conversation with voices from social science; public urban theology; feminist theology; and urban geography. Through a spiralling process of theological reflection the strands of a new feminist theological praxis for urban church are defined. What I produce in this thesis is a new feminist praxis for urban church from the underside of life and from voices that are notably absent from academia and ecclesiology. This new praxis is not a carefully-crafted mission action plan of how the Church should engage in urban life. What is offered instead is a new way of seeing and feeling the urban. This is situated within the lo cotidiano and objects of the ordinary and is revealed through fragments; it is new women’s knowledge coming to birth in women’s story and women’s song. It does not readily offer quick social or theological fixes to life’s fissures. It provides a way of flourishing and life from a different paradigm, and that paradigm is the phronēsis of the Bootle women. It is the women themselves who become the heralds of good tidings and the God bearers. They bring the Gift of Leaven for the whole community so that bread may be baked and the wounded body fed. The task is now to make space so their voices can be heard.
    • “The Great Story on Which the Plot Turns”: Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis’ Narrative Spiritual Theology

      Dickieson, Brenton (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-05)
      This thesis presses in on C.S. Lewis’ extremely diverse corpus to explore his integrative narrative spirituality of the cross. Chapter one argues that Lewis’ concept of spiritual self-death and resurrection is lacking critical treatment despite the spirituality of the cross that I argue is deeply woven into the fabric of Lewis’ poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and letters. This cross-shaped spirituality, what Michael Gorman calls “cruciformity,” is central to Lewis’ understanding of Christian life. Though neglected because of readings of Lewis that reduce him to the role of an apologist, chapter one surveys occasional notes about this death-and-resurrection motif in Lewis scholarship and provides definitions for methodological approaches to the study. Following definitions of spiritual theology by Eugene Peterson, chapter two turns from systematic theological explorations of Lewis to consider him as a spiritual theologian, a move that is organic to his theological enterprise, his epistemology, and his fiction. Chapter three explores Gorman’s biblical-theological approach to Pauline cruciformity, arguing that there is a six-point Logic of Cruciformity in Lewis’ so-called apologetics writings that moves past and refocuses Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. As Lewis’ spirituality is embedded in narrative form within poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, chapter four explores “The Shape of Cruciformity” in Lewis’ œuvre, using Northrop Frye’s narratology and J.R.R. Tolkien’s theory of eucatastrophe to argue that there is a comedic, U-shaped pattern of cruciform imagery in Lewis’ fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Chapter five interrogates Lewis’ integrative, normative narrative cruciformity with feminist theological critique, provoked by Anna Fisk’s concerns about cross-shaped spiritualities in women’s experiences. A response to this problematisation reveals an inversive quality inherent to Lewis’ thought that is itself U-shaped, comedic, and eucatastrophic. Chapter six explores this inversive U-shaped thinking central to Lewis’ theological project, arguing that the shape of cruciformity in Lewis is the shape of his spiritual theology. I conclude the thesis with “sacred paradoxes” in Lewis’ thought that invite further work and deepen our understanding of Lewis’ concept of spiritual life, thus inviting a prophetic self-critique for Christian believers.
    • Hurting and Hiding: The Lived Experiences of Black Men Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction and Adherence to the Teachings and Beliefs of UK Black Majority Churches.

      Watts, Graham; Rich, Tony; Middleton, Paul; Bradshaw, Ruthlyn O. (University of Chester, 2018-04-25)
      Black Majority Churches (BMC) play a central role in the lives of Black people, informing culture and community. Within the BMC the issues of sexuality and in particular homosexuality are rarely spoken of. However, doctrines in regards to homosexuality have been conveyed in a seemingly homophobic manner, hence individuals experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA) in BMCs have remained silent and unsupported. This phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of five Black Men struggling with SSA and adhering to the teachings of the BMC. The study posed the question, ‘How do Black men struggling with SSA and the teachings of BMCs perceive and describe their lived experiences?’ Data for the study was collected primarily through individual interviews conducted with each participant. The transcripts were analysed using Colazzi’s method for analysing data and two major themes emerged: unfairness and needing support. Discussions of the participants lives indicated that they felt compelled to keep their SSA hidden to avoid stigmatisation, discrimination, isolation and rejection. Moreover, they were also discomforted by the ongoing conflict between their homoerotic feelings and their religious beliefs. Additional data resulting from the questionnaires completed by seventeen Black ministers and leaders of BMCS, provided understanding of the context in which the participants were struggling. The findings suggest that there is a lack of a pastoral care approach for persons experiencing SSA in BMCS and recommends that such an approach is developed. Importantly, this study gives voice to Black men with SSA hurting and hiding in BMCs and has the potential to contribute to the resources required by anyone wanting to find out more about this experience and initiate further research.
    • "I should like to learn to have faith," (Bonhoeffer) moving towards a theology of learning

      Robinson, Linda A. (University of Chester, 2014-09)
      This thesis arises from the researcher's experience as a facilitator of adult learning and Professional Doctorate student in practical theology. Its purpose is to contribute to a theology of adult learning.
    • Imaginative anticipation: Towards a theology of care for those with dementia

      Graham, Elaine L.; Goodall, Margaret A. (University of Chester, 2011-10)
      Dementia is a degenerative disease which appears to take away personhood and identity and calls into question how we understand what it means to be a person. My argument is that how people with dementia are seen and imagined is key both to the understanding of their value and the care that is offered. The aim of this study is to determine how the Christian ethos of Methodist Homes (MHA) influences the care of people with dementia in order to develop a general theology of care from within practical theology. The thesis explores the ways in which the Methodist emphases of social justice and prevenient grace offer a basis for dementia care, and how MHA has drawn on its origins within the Methodist Church to develop an ethos of care that places respect for the person with dementia at the centre. This concern for those with dementia is then surveyed and the themes of respect and relationality emerge offering the potential for human becoming. Within MHA the care offered is based on a person-centred model. In order to discover how the Christian ethos of the organisation influences care this thesis explores patterns of delivering care in three homes of each of three types; well-established, recently-acquired and new-build. In each home the views of the staff were surveyed. Three in-depth interviews were conducted when questions were asked in order to understand their perception of the person with dementia. The interviews uncovered what carers regarded as good care and when care did not meet the needs, and why they believed that happened. Browning’s ‘strategic practical theology’ was used to evaluate these findings from within a Christian context to examine the influence of MHA’s ethos on the care offered. The core value chosen as the most important for care was ‘respect’; and while the care offered across all types was ‘person-centred’ the way it was delivered varied. The culture of MHA that gave rise to the values is investigated, along with the challenge of retaining ‘mutuality’ as an ideal as the needs of older people changed. The themes that emerged were those around quality of life and the things that enable the change in thinking from basic ‘caring’ to ‘caring for the person’ as the person is seen in a different way. Dementia is sometimes called the ‘theological disease’, and this understanding of dementia and the person is explored to discern what can be offered from theology to the best ideals of care in order to provide true person-centred care that is respectful of the person. I argue from within practical theology that a new way of seeing the person with dementia is needed in order to anticipate the possibility for human flourishing that is possible in a person, even in dementia. And that, offered with respect, good person-centred dementia-care can be a sign of the Kingdom. Part 1 of the D.Prof. comprises four sections in which I explore dementia from within practical theology; how it impacts on personhood, how I, as a practitioner within Methodist Homes (MHA), could enable others to offer care of the whole person; and how the carers’ understanding of the person makes a difference. In the first section, the literature was surveyed in order to discover the historical development of the term dementia. Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was little care as the condition was not named. But then drugs were discovered that could control unsocial behaviour, and the medical model of care developed. However, a new culture of care developed (person-centred care), because of the better understanding of the social nature of the disease. From within the context of theology, I explored how personhood can be understood within dementia and how, even in dementia, it might be possible to grow into the fullness of Christ as spirituality is enhanced. The second section was in the form of a publishable article which explored how it might be possible to evaluate spiritual care within a dementia-care setting. This took the form of a case study in which I worked with staff in a home that had difficulty evidencing spiritual care. It raised issues about the nature of care and assessment of spiritual care, as well as the rationale behind, and the delivery of, that care. What developed used the biblical concept of ‘fruits of the spirit’ as a way of recognising spiritual dis-ease as it is these qualities which enable inspiration, reverence, awe, meaning and purpose even in those who have no religious beliefs. The model used to offer this care was through the 3 R’s of reflection, relationship and restoration. Section three, reflective-practice section, emerged out of my practice as a chaplaincy adviser for MHA, in which I reflected critically on the contexts and understanding of the manager and chaplain, and how a chaplaincy manual was developed. The ability of the chaplain to work effectively and enable good spiritual care in the home, depended on the relationship between the manager and chaplain. By exploring the culture of both manager and chaplain, a way to enable good communication was discovered. The role of pastoral care and how it is seen within an organisation, that must have a professional management, was investigated and ways suggested for mutual understanding using the chaplaincy manual. The last section examined whether the Christian ethos of MHA encouraged a model of person-centred care. I suggested that a way of making sense of the data is by using types to describe personhood and how that can be made visible by their care. Considering the way that therapeutic interventions (reminiscence therapy, reality orientation, validation therapy, drug therapy) were used offered a way to enable the ethos of the home to be seen more clearly. Central to theological anthropology is the concept of the person which includes an ethical dimension. MHA has the strap line, ‘care informed by Christian concern’, so the study investigated whether this Christian ethos is lived out in the care offered. These aspects of study have led me to begin this thesis to research how care is delivered and what carers understand to be appropriate care. An appreciation of the context in which this care takes place also highlighted a need to conduct a theological exploration of the nature of the person with dementia.
    • The impact of the charismatic movement and related tensions on the traditional Lutheran worship of the South Central Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus since 1991

      Greggs, Tom; Godebo Debanchor, Yacob (University of Chester, 2011-08)
      This research is based on the contemporary worship life of the South Central Synod (SCS) of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY). The worship life of the SCS congregations has been disrupted since 1991 because of the impact of the charismatic movement on the traditional Lutheran worship of the SCS and related tensions. The EECMY is the church that was founded by the European Lutheran Churches. Therefore, it adheres to the Lutheran theological tradition, which limits religious authority to Scripture and emphasizes the New Testament’s teaching of conversion, new birth, and justification by grace through faith. Lutheran theological tradition does not emphasize the necessity and possibility of the charismatic gifts as part of faith practice. Any tendency to receive and experience charismatic gifts outside of Scripture and sacraments has not been addressed for traditional Lutheran worship. Rather, such experiences were strongly rejected by Lutheran confessional documents (SA III: viii). Being one of the units of the EECMY, SCS was founded on this theological tradition and assumes it for its theology and practice. The SCS traditional worship, therefore, does not recognize charismatic worship and experiences of related manifestations as necessary parts of faith practice. Since 1991 the charismatic movement has introduced the congregations to traditionally neglected charismatic worship and experiences of charismatic gifts such as prophecy, revelations, speaking in tongues, physical healing, discerning spirits and miracle working. The receiving and experiencing of these gifts have become almost a normal part of worship in the congregations. This has impacted the congregations to the extent that they consider their own traditional worship structure as contradictory to devotional worship and deeper spiritual experience. Yet the traditionalists of the congregations reject charismatic worship and related experiences of the manifestations. These distinct views have caused tensions and disruption between the members those who want freedom of worship and changes to the traditional formalism, and those who wish to maintain the traditional form of worship. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore this situation and the history that has brought it about. Having examined this, the research discusses the nature and impact of the charismatic movement and its effects on traditional Lutheran worship in the SCS, together with offering some potential contextually appropriate proposed solutions.
    • Imprisoned Grief: A Theological, Spiritual and Practical Response

      Graham, Elaine L; Mowat, Harriet; Baker, Christopher; Llewellyn, Dawn; Lane, Rosalind A. (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      This thesis identifies ‘imprisoned grief’ as a new phenomenon. The Living with Loss project was a theological, spiritual and practical response to it co-constructed by the research participants and myself as the practitioner-researcher. The project ran from 2008-2011 at both HMP Kirkham and HMP Whitemoor. My initial findings highlighted the fact that ‘disenfranchised grief’ (Doka 1989) and ‘self-disenfranchised grief’ (Doka 2002) were inadequate descriptions of what I uncovered in my research. Doka himself (2002, p18) called for further research to be carried out in particular circumstances including prison, encouraging my own confidence in the importance of such research. ‘Disenfranchised grief’ is a condition which people feel when unable to access support from family, friends, religious and professional organisations in living with issues of grief and loss. It is exhibited by prisoners where the acute loss of family, relationships, home, employment, finance, education and ability to parent come together. Issues of loss and bereavement accumulate when a parent or other family members becomes terminally ill or dies during their imprisonment. ‘Self-disenfranchised grief’ is a self- initiated form of disenfranchised grief where the self will not allow grieving to take place. I consider that neither description fully explains the condition I encountered, which I have called ‘imprisoned grief.’ Imprisoned grief is distinctive because it manifests itself due to the loss of freedom brought about by imprisonment; during anticipatory grieving whilst in prison; following bereavement in prison and loss acts as a factor in criminal behaviour which include loss due to homicide. My research offers spiritual, theological and practically distinctive coping strategies and insights into how imprisoned grief can be ‘unlocked’ and prisoners can feel liberated from it. Enfranchisement was established between family members by sharing feelings and emotions in group work and through the composition of and facilitation of faith rituals. I argue that it was their beliefs and spirituality which sustained, combated and freed them from ‘imprisoned grief’.
    • In the context of health care, where is God in the dark places of human experience?: Implications for pastoral care

      Graham, Elaine L.; Speck, Peter; Clifton-Smith, Gregory J. (University of Chester, 2013-05)
      Triggered by a chance pastoral encounter with a nurse who articulated a sense of the presence of God in the midst of existential darkness, this study seeks to explore two underlying questions: “In the context of health care, where is God in the “dark places” of human experience”? and “How is that experience discerned and communicated to others?” It will show how a greater understanding of these questions will add value to the provision of pastoral care in the health care environment by enabling a tailored intervention to be offered that will be to the benefit of the patient and their clinical and pastoral outcome. The research uses insights gained from academia, including theological and health care literature, to explore the former, and a musicological review to explore the latter. These are set alongside qualitative material in the form of case studies and taped interviews. Whilst this study suggests that credible belief in God is possible if God can be seen to be involved with, and supportive of, humanity in the midst of its suffering, it also shows that the way that experience is discerned and thus communicated to others, involves a process of listening and performing comparable with the act of music-making. As with its musical counterpart (incorporating elements of melody, rhythm, dynamics and timbre), this research maintains that the process of pastoral listening and performing is also multi-faceted, existing on a number of different levels. An awareness of these enables the pastoral encounter to begin to be rooted in a process of meaning-making analogous with wisdom emerging out of lament. This research further suggests that one way such wisdom can be discerned is in the way that the lament within the pastoral encounter is itself framed, using musical form as one way of holding in relationship the tradition of faith with pastoral praxis. In using specific examples of music-making as a guide to effective pastoral care, this study concludes with recommended pastoral interventions pertaining to the pastoral practice of healthcare chaplaincy, advocating that through reclaiming the spiritual space and reframing the pastoral encounter, it is still possible for chaplains to model the presence of God.
    • In the light of a child: Adults discerning the gift of being

      Graham, Elaine L.; Nye, Rebecca; Dixon, Stephen W. (University of ChesterManchester Diocese Board of Education, 2012-06)
      The researcher is a diocesan adviser for Children’s Ministry, charged with promoting the importance of children for the Church, and the study examines issues arising from this professional responsibility. Children’s advocates often suggest that adults have much to learn from them in the Church. It is commonly assumed that this learning will derive from their presumed characteristics such as ‘innocence’, or ‘playfulness’. However, these characteristics are not exclusive to or universal among children. The aim of this study is to investigate the ‘specialness’ of children and discover if there is something peculiar to childhood that would merit Jesus placing a child in the midst of his disciples as a signpost to the kingdom of heaven. The primary data source is the researcher’s journal of his experience as a member of a multi-generational church group, and the study employs a qualitative methodology drawing on Grounded Theory and some of the practices of autoethnography. The importance of a relationship between experience and theology for Practical Theology is noted and the influence of experience on theologians explored with reference to Schleiermacher, Miller-McLemore and the theological reflection of ‘ordinary’ Christians. The analysis of the researcher’s journal is developed as an example of experience-grounded personal theological reflection. The results achieved by the study show that the most powerful personal effects of the multi-generational group on the researcher did not reflect the children’s attributes per se but rather his own characteristics as revealed in relationship with the children. Interviews with the other adult members of the group, and Christian adults who work with children in contrasting situations, support the view that the effect of children on adults is influenced by the individuals concerned. The personal factors influencing the adults’ experience are thematised, and the questions these themes evoke are seen as indicating the theological potential of reflection on the adult/child interface. The study concludes that one aspect of the ‘specialness’ of children arises from their vulnerability and the nature of the relationship this creates with adults. The ‘special value’ of children to the life of the Church, it is suggested, includes the opportunity they give adults to view their own ‘being’ as God-given ‘gift’ by exploring how it can serve God’s purposes in promoting the flourishing of the vulnerable. The possibility of promoting such exploration among individual Christians and Church communities is considered. The findings of the study are seen as having implications for a less romanticised portrayal of children’s importance in the Church; for promoting better intergenerational relationships; for grounded theological conversation within and beyond the Church; for recruitment to Children’s Ministry; and for the researcher’s professional practice.
    • Independence or ownership? A comparison of the struggles and successes of the Bible College principalships of Howard Carter (1921-1948) and Donald Gee (1951-1964) with a special focus on both the risks and benefits of independence and denominational ownership during these eras.

      Dyer, Anne; Sainsbury, Sue; Jenkins, Steven D. (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      The British Assemblies of God Bible College can trace its roots to the Pentecostal Missionary Union’s (PMU) Training Homes which were established in 1909 for men and in 1910 for women. In 1924 the PMU amalgamated into the newly-formed British Assemblies of God (AoG), with a full merger in 1925, and the PMU Training Homes/ Bible Schools continued as an independent enterprise under the leadership of Howard Carter, albeit with strong links to British AoG. In 1951, the independent Bible School at Hampstead and in Bristol were given to Assemblies of God and from this time, through to the present, have been denominationally owned and governed. The College’s first principal under denominational ownership and governance was Donald Gee. Although this dissertation seeks to reconstruct some of the important contextual narrative of the Bible School(s), from its inception in 1909 through to the end of Donald Gee’s principalship in 1964, this research endeavours to be an analysis and comparison of Carter’s 27 years as Principal of an independent, yet denominationallylinked college, with the 13-year tenure of Gee’s, when it was financially owned and governed by the Assemblies of God. There will be a special focus on the risks and benefits of independence/ownership during the respective eras, examined through criteria such as Finance, Curriculum, Personnel issues and the Student body. In addition to historical research, some contemporary analysis on the risks and benefits of independence/ownership in the 21st century will be elucidated in the Conclusion together with other areas of interest that will be assessed at various points of the dissertation, such as early attitudes to Pentecostal education and whether the focus of training had changed in AoG from overseas to the home field. In light of obvious and perceived risks and benefits, the Conclusion will seek to answer the question of whether denominational independence or denominational ownership was more beneficial for the College in the past and for the current Assemblies of God Bible College at Mattersey. In addition, other observations and lessons for Mattersey Hall will be made. This research seeks to recover the lost voice of this Pentecostal Bible College – to learn lessons from the past in order to help it survive and thrive in the future. This research will be predominantly based on information provided by primary sources.
    • The influence of Isaiah in Matthew 1-4

      Kinde, Todd M. (University of Chester, 2019-01-29)
      This study traces the four Isaianic references in Matthew 1-4 to identify their influence in the structure and theology of Matthew’s Gospel. Isaiah distinctively contributes to the parallel nature of the narratives in the structure of Matthew 1-12 and particularly to the structural unity of Matthew 1-4. Further, the Abrahamic background in Isaiah contributes to Matthew’s “Son of Abraham” motif. The second chapter identifies the placement of the Isaianic references in Matthew and offers an alternative view of Matthew’s macrostructure. Similarly, the integral unity of Matthew 1-4 is supported by parallel themes and plotlines. The strategic placement of Isaianic references supports this proposed structure. The study proceeds with a chapter devoted to each of the four Isaianic references in Matthew 1-4. The study’s intertextual methodology observes the reference’s text form, Isaianic context, reference in Jewish sources, placement in the Matthean chapter, Matthean context, and a summary of Isaiah’s structural and Christological influence. Two appendixes accompany the research: one identifies the Abrahamic background in Isaiah 1-12, and another reevaluates the premise of a new Moses typology in Matthew. Isaianic references influence the narrative parallelism in Matthew 1-4, highlighting the calling motif, and confirming the preaching ministry of John and Jesus. Theologically, the Isaianic references and allusions echo in Matthew 1-4 to inform Matthew’s Son of Abraham Christology. As the Son of Abraham, Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history, following the paradigm of the patriarch Abraham.
    • An insider evaluation of the translation process in use in the BSL Bible Translation Project: Explorations in textuality, intermediality and sacrament

      Graham, Elaine L.; Young, Alys; Raistrick, Tracey A. (University of Chester, 2013-12)
      This thesis is a critical account of a qualitative, evaluative study into the translation processes and practices in use within the BSL Bible Translation Project, undertaken as a collaborative doctoral studentship funded by the AHRC/ESRC1. It has proceeded collaboratively, valuing the stories, knowledge and experiences of the participants. The data‐set presented herein was generated by means of participant observation and interviews with Project Team members. It was analysed in its digital, visual form using an inductive, thematic approach, and is presented with minimal commentary (Chapters 4 and 5). Following this presentation, the data‐set is further reflected upon in order to shed light upon existing understandings of sign language text composition strategies, team translation praxis, intermediality and sacrament (Chapters 6, 7 and 8). The evidence presented in this thesis represents a new source of data and offers valuable insights into translation and exegetical practice in its own right and, I will argue, as a means of human flourishing. This thesis problematizes previous descriptions of Signed Languages as ‘picture‐languages’, identifying two ways in which such descriptions have been unhelpful, even inaccurate. Firstly, that this nomenclature, with its association with picture‐books and pre‐linguistic skills, has contributed to the persistence of perceptions of d/Deaf people as being linguistically less‐able than their non‐Deaf peers and secondly, that such descriptions are deficient because they fail to fully capture the complex nature of Signed Languages. This thesis argues for a re engagement with the inherently cinematographic nature of Signed Languages and explores ways in which this would yield benefits in the fields of Deaf education, the teaching of Signed Languages to second‐language learners, and the training of interpreters and translators. This thesis will also argue that the translation practices of the BSL Bible Translation Project constitute a clear example of Deaf people engaging in metalinguistic reflection on their own language‐use. That is, that the data provide clear evidence of literate thought, specifically of Signed Language literacy in action, and is further evidence in support of the growing confidence and agency within the Deaf Community with regards to the status and the rich linguistic and material properties of BSL, including its suitability as a mediator of the sacred. This thesis will go on to offer reflections on what the data have to tell us about the nature of Biblical texts; both through how they are produced, and the nature of those texts as artefacts and bearers of religious meanings. Engaging with existing understandings of sacrament and incarnation, including the possibility that the act of Bible reading and translation can be said to constitute a sacramental activity, it argues that this is particularly so when such reading and ‘speaking’ of the text occurs through Signed Language.
    • Making sense of sex and faith: An exercise in poetic practical theology

      Graham, Elaine L.; Grosch-Miller, Carla A. (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      The aim of this research is heuristic, seeking andragogical strategies that may facilitate sexual-spiritual integration in ministerial training. The lived experience of sex and faith of seven Christian ordinands and a newly ordained minister was collected by interview and examined. Sex (sexuality and sexual expression) was revealed to be an arena for the development of identity, moral agency and the capacity for relationship, all of which are components of spirituality. Sex and sense-making about sex is a liminal space in which personal sexual experience, the Christian tradition, and other knowledge are wrestled and a “faithfully realistic” personal sexual ethic is created. This is the creation of practical wisdom, a poetic phronesis. The phenomenology of sexual-spiritual integration through poetic phronesis is theorised to be inherent in the moral creativity of human beings. Personal sexual knowledge is tacit and subjugated, and there are significant barriers in the Church which disable sexual reflexivity. The argument is made for an intentional andragogy that creates and resources the liminal space in which sexual phronesis takes place. The features of such an andragogy include: the bounding of sacred space, critical engagement with all four sources of theology (scripture, tradition, reason and experience), attending to the ethos of the training institution and the classroom, invitations to engage personal sexual experience through oblique methods, and opportunities for respectful conversation. Ordinands should be encouraged to cultivate a habit of sexual reflexivity and equipped to manage the sexual power and vulnerability inherent in the ministerial role. It is further theorised that the personal sexual sense-making of poetic phronesis is a micro-example of how lived experience may develop Christian tradition through poetic practical theology. Experience is reclaimed as a potential source of theology, validated by its fruits. Poetics as an emergent method and model of practical theology is posited as a means by which experience may enter into critical-liminal conversation with other sources of theology, advancing the tradition. The thesis is written so as to evoke personal sense-making, the medium echoing the message. Metaphor, poetry and story leaven more traditional academic prose to create liminal space in which the reader may be invited into sexual reflexivity.
    • Marital Imagery in the Bible: An Exploration of the Cross-Domain Mapping of Genesis 2:24 and its Significance for the Understanding of New Testament Divorce and Remarriage Teaching

      Hamer, Colin G. (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      Genesis 2:23 speaks of a miraculous couple in a literal one-flesh union formed by God without a volitional or covenantal basis. Genesis 2:24 outlines a metaphoric restatement of that union whereby a naturally born couple, by means of a covenant, choose to become what they were not in a metaphoric one-flesh family union—such forms the aetiology of mundane marriage in both the Hebrew Bible and the NT. It is this Gen 2:24 marriage that is understood in the Hebrew Bible as the basis of the volitional, conditional, covenantal relationship of Yahweh and Israel, and in the NT of the volitional, conditional, covenantal relationship of Christ and the church—that is, Gen 2:24 is the source domain which is cross-mapped to the target domain (God ‘married’ to his people) in the marital imagery of both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. It is an imagery that embraced the concept of divorce and remarriage. The NT affirms that the pattern for mundane marriage is to be found in Gen 2:24 (Matt 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12). But NT scholars and the church have conflated the aetiology of the Gen 2:24 marriage with that of Adam and Eve’s marriage described in Gen 2:23, and thus see that the NT teaches that mundane marriage is to be modelled on the primal couple—a model that imposes restrictions on divorce and remarriage that are not found in the Hebrew Bible. In contrast, this study suggests that the NT writers would not employ an imagery they repudiated in their own mundane marriage teaching, and that an exegesis of that teaching can be found, focusing on divorce and remarriage, which is congruent with its own imagery.
    • Ministry Patterns of Clergy Married to Clergy within an Ecosystem of Power in the Church of England

      Collingridge, Susan, R. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)
      There have been clergy married to clergy (CMC) in the Church of England for over thirty years yet their ministries are little understood and there is limited consistency of practice regarding CMC in the church. This work aims to address both problems. The thesis argues that CMC patterns of ministry are formed during their careers within an ecosystem of power: a complex network of elements and forces acting on and in reaction to each other. The CMC ecosystem of power is akin to ecosystems in nature. It includes dyadic dynamics and extends to family and local ministry contexts, diocese and wider church. CMC are subject to various types of power and can also exert influence. For this study 15 CMC individuals were interviewed from a range of dioceses, ministry contexts and life-stages. Each interview was structured by constructing a timeline of ministry/job changes and key personal and family events. The emerging picture of CMC patterns of ministry from qualitative interview data was enriched by quantitative data from participants’ timelines to illuminate factors influencing their ministry patterns. My research indicates that CMC experience the effect of the church’s authority in negative or positive ways, most emphatically during the early period of selection, initial training and curacy. CMC are doubly vulnerable to external constraints from the institution because both spouses are dependent on the church for work, home and income. Further constraints come from liabilities, responsibilities and expectations within family and wider social networks. CMC moderate their vulnerability through adhering to ‘independent’, ‘tangential’ or ‘integrated’ models of ministry. In the light of such choices they make decisions about applying for jobs, leaving posts and engaging in part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, parish or non-parochial ministry. Within CMC ecosystems of power, support and competition influence how CMC ministries develop, notably within the CMC dyad (couple), the most distinctive feature of CMC ministry life. CMC spouses offer reciprocal support through understanding, practical and professional help, echoing the mutuality in natural ecosystems. CMC also decide whether one partner’s ministry has priority and which one takes precedence at different times. I argue that competition between CMC partners has the potential to create a positive outcome of growth and development for CMC by creating awareness of asymmetry and encouraging development of their personal and professional relationship. I make suggestions for future research and indicate limitations to this study. I propose recommendations for improved practice with CMC in the Church of England such as greater openness about diocesan policies and more consistent training for senior clergy.