Now showing items 1-20 of 73

    • The Pneumatology of the Letter to the Hebrews: Confused, Careless, Cavalier or Carefully Crafted?

      Warrington, Keith; Hodson, Alan, K. (University of Chester, 2019-05)
      It is the majority position that Hebrews has little to add to NT pneumatology (see §1.1). However, that is far from the case. Indeed, on all seven occasions that the author of Hebrews refers to the Spirit, he does so using language and concepts that are unique in the NT. The Spirit both speaks (λέγω) words of Scripture (3:7) and testifies (μαρτυρέω) from Scripture (10:15) using words elsewhere described as God’s words to the congregation. Elsewhere in the NT, when the Spirit ‘speaks’ he does so through human agents (see §§4.3-4.4). However, in Hebrews he speaks directly to the hearers without the need for an intermediary (see §4.5). Furthermore, the Spirit interprets (δηλόω) Scripture (9:8) and this is the only place in the NT where the Spirit is said to function as hermeneut (see §§4.5.3, 8.3.1). The phrase ‘Spirit of grace’ (10:29) is also a NT hapax and ‘Eternal Spirit’ (9:14) is a Biblical hapax. In addition, the concept of believers becoming μέτοχοι of the Spirit (6:4) and the description of God validating the gospel message by ‘distributing’ (μερισμός) the Holy Spirit to followers of Christ (2:4) are also unique to Hebrews. After undertaking a close examination of all seven divine-πνεῦμα texts in Hebrews this thesis concludes that Hebrews has a significant, developed and unique pneumatology (§8.1). The author portrays the Spirit as personal, eternal and divine (§§8.2.2-8.2.4). He is actively involved in the atonement and the New Covenant (§8.3.3), showing the need for such a covenant (§8.3.1) and providing a partnership with each member of the New Covenant Community such that the Spirit enables that which the Covenant requires (§8.3.3). The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in Hebrews. Both author and congregation experienced him as God, co-equal with the Father and the Son. In fact, Hebrews’ underlying pneumatology displays what might be called ‘Trinitarian coinherence’ (§§8.2.1, 8.4).
    • The Role of Free Translation in Rendering the Collocational Phrases of the Quranic Text into English

      Ali, Abdalati (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)
      The following thesis presents an investigation into the problems of rendering the Arabic collocational phrases in the Quran into English. The research reveals that literal translation may sometimes deform the meaning of the collocations found in the source text, while free translation is able to convey a better sense of their implicit meaning. The thesis studies three translations of the Quran – those of Muhammad Pickthall (1930), Abdullah Ali (1934) and Al-Hilali and Khan (1974) – and undertakes an in-depth comparison of their translations of a selection of collocations. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the methods adopted by the translators with the aid of the Quranic exegeses of Al-Tabari (839-923 CE), Al-Razi (544-604 CE), Al-Qurtubi (1214-1273 CE), and Ibn Kathir (1300-1373), and relevant works by prominent Muslim theologians such as AlDamaghany (1007-1085: 1983) and Ibn Al-Jawzy (510-597: 1987), as well as a number of established Arabic-English dictionaries, such as the Arabic-English Dictionary of Quranic Usage (DAEQU) (Abdel-Haleem and Badwi,2008), the Dictionary of the Contemporary Arabic Language (DCAL) (Omar,2008) ,and the Lisān Al-Arab (DLA) ( Ibn Manzur,1955). This research is the first of its kind to examine collocations in the Quran from the perspective of translation theory. It adopts the methodology of Peter Newmark’s (1988) semantic and communicative translation theory and James Dickins’ exegetic translation model (2002). The application of these theoretical approaches is intended to act as a guide for future translators of the Quran, particularly when faced with the problem of providing English translations of collocations that successfully convey the implicit meaning of the Arabic text. In addition, it recommends the use of some translation techniques suggested by Newmark (1995) and Vinay and Darbelnet (1958: 1995), such as paraphrases, footnotes, transpositions, cultural borrowing, additions, compensation and descriptive equivalents, which give the target readers a broader contextual knowledge and provide them with the tools they need to grasp the deeper meanings of these collocations.
    • The quest for collaborative ministry: an investigation into an elusive practice in the Church in Wales

      Adams, Stephen, A. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)
      Over at least fifty years, the Church in Wales (in common with the Church of England) has repeatedly called for the establishment of collaborative ministry (between clergy and between clergy and laity) both as a theological necessity and to respond to changing patterns of parochial organisation. The need to make these repeated exhortations implies that implementation has been at best patchy. My own experience, together with an Appreciative Inquiry approach to interviews with nine experienced clergy indicates that the culture of the institution is problematic concerning collaborative practices – particularly about the exercise of power. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology, I locate my participants’ narratives within the framework of their habitus, the field of the Church in Wales, and the symbolic capital of individuals and groups. I argue that the Church in Wales defaults to unhelpful hierarchical or managerial notions of ministry and mission that too often set clergy and laity at odds with one another. I examine practices of teamwork that create inclusion, psychological safety, and that are grounded in social models of the Trinity. Such appropriation, in my assessment, establishes the groundwork for effective collaborative practice and underpins the human flourishing that is at the heart of the gospel.
    • 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.
    • Professional Practice and Pastoral Care: A Critical Analysis of the Manchester United Schoolboy Scholarship 2007 – 2012

      Whelan, Anthony M. (University of Chester, 2014-12)
      The Manchester United Schoolboy Scholarship is a comprehensive football and education programme allied with residential provision. Education takes place at a local High School, and the boys are accommodated with families who are carefully selected by the Club. Thus, talented young players between the age of 12 and 16 receive fulltime coaching and education in preparation for a career in professional football. The research will critically evaluate and assess a football programme for gifted young footballers with a view to constructing an holistic model of player welfare which seeks to address their sporting (football), educational, physical, psychological emotional and spiritual needs. This research will also explore the relevant theological, social and child rights issues relating to this sphere of professional practice. Oral data was assembled by conducting a series of semi-structured interviews with key personnel involved in the scholarship: players, coaches, teachers, parents and house-parents. The transcripts were then evaluated using the qualitative technique of thematic analysis from which five major themes emerged: leaving home, holistic development, life skills, mentoring and pastoral care. Thus the primary issues the thesis is concerned to explore unfold. This includes the sensitive nature of ‘inside’ research at a professional football club. The research discloses evidence of ‘best practice’ and the subtle management of the players’ physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs. In short, the boys’ progress at football was not to the detriment of their holistic development as human beings. However, the data also shows that the collaboration between the coaching and school staff could be further developed and improved for the mutual benefit of both parties. Another important outcome of the research has been my personal and professional development as a reflective practitioner. The multi-disciplinary approach to this investigation has undoubtedly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of how concepts and themes from practical theology and other academic literature have informed my professional practice. The thesis also explores how a ‘child centred’ practical theology within youth sport contributes to the field of pastoral theology as a whole.
    • "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.
    • “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.
    • 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.
    • Diverse Excellencies: Jonathan Edwards on the Attributes of God

      Rigney, Joseph, J. (University of Chester, 2019-03-03)
      This thesis explores Jonathan Edwards’s view of God’s attributes in light of his Trinitarian theology. In particular, I argue that, contrary to the claims of some Edwards scholars, Edwards clearly affirms the doctrine of divine simplicity throughout his writings as it was held among the Reformed scholastics. Through an exposition of his Discourse on the Trinity in light of its historical and polemical context, I demonstrate both Edwards’s orthodoxy and his distinct innovations in expressing the orthodox view of the Trinity. Notably, I show that Edwards distinguishes the persons of the Godhead by means of a strong psychological account of the Trinity positing that the only real distinctions in God are those of being, understanding, and will, which correspond to the three persons of the Godhead. Additionally, Edwards maintains the unity of the Godhead by appeal to divine simplicity, whereby “everything (real) in God is God.” Finally, Edwards upholds the personhood of each person through the biblical doctrine of perichoresis. This exposition enables me to respond to a variety of criticism of Edwards’s trinitarianism. The second part of my thesis unfolds Edwards’s attribute classification system as it proceeds from his trinitarianism and his account of the God-world relation. Edwards distributes attributes in two primary ways. First, he distributes attributes into real attributes, which simply are the persons of the Godhead, and modal or relative attributes, which are real attributes in relation to creation. Second, he distributes attributes into natural attributes and moral attributes, based on whether they are reducible to God’s being and understanding on the one hand, or reducible to God’s will on the other. Within relative attributes, I demonstrate further distinctions such as capacity attributes, which are sufficiencies in God to certain effects and which are relatively dormant until God wills to create, and negative attributes, which Edwards surprisingly includes within relative attributes on the basis of the fact that they deny some creaturely quality to God and thereby depend upon creation’s existence for their intelligibility. I conclude by bringing Edwards’s taxonomy of attributes to bear on the question of divine freedom and creation’s necessity, showing that while Edwards does differ in some ways from his Reformed forebears, he does not hold, as some scholars claim, that God is essentially creative and that creation is necessary. Rather, Edwards employs the category of “fitness” to describe God’s acts of communicating his glory and the employment of creation as a means to that end.
    • When the personal Call to Ordained Ministry is not recognised by the Church: Implications for Selection and Pastoral Care

      Routledge, Robin; Dyer, Anne; Gubi, Peter M. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-05-01)
      The effect of not being recommended for ordained ministry when a person is convinced of their personal Calling can be devastating, and it is a phenomenon that is under-researched. The research question is: ‘How does having one’s sense of vocation for ordained ministry rejected by the Church impact at a psychological and theological level?’ The aims of the research are: To explore how having one’s sense of vocation for ordained ministry rejected by the Church impacts on individuals at a psychological and theological level; and to better understand the implications for selection and pastoral care. The core purpose of this research is to enable better pastoral care during and after the discernment and selection processes. Structured by Swinton’s and Mowat’s (2006) Practical Theological Reflection model and contextualised within the Church of England, eight Diocesan Directors of Ordinands (DDOs) [Stage 1] and nine non-recommended applicants (NRAs) [Stage 2] were interviewed to determine their experience of selection and how they theologically and psychologically made sense of non-selection. The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In Stage 1, four superordinate themes emerged: Vocation; Selection processes; Theological perspective; Pastoral care; along with thirty-seven subordinate themes. In Stage 2, four superordinate themes emerged: Pursuing ordination; BAP experience; Pastoral care; Making sense; along with twenty-three subordinate themes. The thick data reveal the lived experiences and ‘sense-making’ of the participants from psychological and theological perspectives. In reformulating revised practice, a number of recommendations are made, that: a) the way that vocations are ‘marketed’ and encouraged needs refocussing; b) the vulnerability surrounding the process of responding to Calling to ordained ministry is akin to a ‘coming out process’; c) appropriate training is provided for incumbents and congregations to raise their awareness of the issues surrounding non-recommendation; d) incumbents be in Pastoral Supervision; e) training be given to Vocations Advisors, DDOs and Bishops which highlights the ways that spiritual abuse and inappropriate behaviour can occur in the discernment process; f) dioceses work more coherently to establish ‘best practice’ in the discernment process; g) safeguarding systems be put in place centrally to which candidates can complain/appeal when perceived spiritual abuse or inappropriate behaviour occurs; h) there is greater transparency in the sharing of reports and references with applicants; i) Canon C4 be reassessed; j) counselling be offered to candidates throughout the process of discernment, and after, as needed; k) the value of the BAP process be re-evaluated; l) opportunity for debriefing immediately after the BAP be offered; m) the wording of reports consider the impact of the words on the recipient; n) the discernment process pays attention to other forms of vocation than ordained ministry; o) issues of sexual discrimination are mitigated against and prohibited.
    • 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.
    • Sermon listening among the Croatian Baptists: A New Approach Based on Congregational Studies and Rhetoric

      Seba, Enoh (University of Chester, 2019-04)
      The recent homiletical literature reveals the 'turn to the listener' as a widespread trend of attempting to minimize the gap between the pulpit and the pew and indicates the increase in the reappropriation of various rhetorical contributions. At the same time, the development of congregational studies has encouraged practical theologians to conduct empirical studies in order to explore the highly contextual nature of sermon listeners' involvement in the practice of preaching. The investigation of my immediate context, however, proves that preaching holds a precious place in the theology and life of Croatian Baptist churches, but also identifies the absence of empirical research that probes their preaching practice from the hearers' perspective. These are the reasons why this study is motivated by the following research question: What are the real expectations and receptiveness of the Croatian Baptists as sermon listeners, and how can these findings be utilised to improve the quality of preaching? To become able to articulate dependable answers, I conducted a qualitative field study based on a phenomenological approach, using semi-structured interviews with eighteen members of five local Baptist congregations located in four Croatian towns. The gathered feedback was interpreted by means of three rhetorical modes of appeal (logos, ēthos, and pathos) which served a purpose of identifying their actual expectations and (dis)engaging factors that direct their listening participation and sermon reception. The same data was submitted to critical theological reflection, aiming at the theological warrants for the constructive suggestions for the transformation of preaching practice. The findings from the research demonstrate that participants tend to hold a high view of preaching, and yet many of them report the unmet expectations which may lead to lowering their expectations. Among the most prominent interviewees' expectations are: hope that the sermon will provide direction in their everyday life, desire to meet God during the sermon and to have their devotional reading of the Bible enhanced by sermon listening, a longing to have their spiritual batteries recharged, and anticipation that preaching should question their status quo and challenge them to change themselves. Also, the study indicates that triggering the listeners' identification boosts their reception of the message and promotes their engagement. Although these particular findings are not generalisable, they nevertheless point to the possibility of an important implication: backing up the listeners' expectations with their active responsibility for the preaching may transform the entire practice into a constructive enterprise that bridges the gap between hearers and preachers. The specific suggestions, based on the study findings, to the preachers and listeners in Croatian Baptist churches may serve both as an illustration of how preaching can be reestablished as a truly congregational practice and as an impetus for further studies in different contexts.
    • Seeing and Showing the Unseen: Towards a Methodology of Utilizing Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Preaching that Employs Metaphors and Images

      Szumorek, Adam P (University of Chester, 2018-12)
      This thesis suggests ways in which Cognitive Linguistics can be employed in hermeneutics and homiletics to enhance the methodology of using metaphors and images in sermons to convey the meaning of biblical texts in general and biblical metaphors in particular. Considering the fact that Cognitive Linguistics is a secular and pragmatic science, I begin my study with providing a theological framework for applying it to hermeneutics and homiletics by referring to the idea of God’s revelation. In order to justify using metaphors and images in sermons I show that biblical revelation abounds with images because God revealed himself creating people in his image, that Christ is the perfect image of the Father, and the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ. In order to show how Cognitive Linguistics can contribute to preaching, basic assumptions of this theory are presented. Some general heuristic principle for the interpretation of biblical metaphors seen as a part of wider discourse are formulated. Finally, the thesis shows the practical implications of applying Cognitive Linguistics to preaching which can be seen in the proposed methodology of reworking existing biblical metaphors and creating new metaphors that convey the meaning of biblical texts that might be non-metaphorical. The whole thesis concludes with a practical scheme of developing macro and micro sermon imagery.
    • What is the meaning of equal marriage in the Church of England?

      Henwood, Gillian (University of Chester, 2019-01)
      The Church of England’s traditional theology of marriage between one man and one woman is protected in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 from reforms to civil law to include same-sex couples. Within the Church of England, same-sex couples who enter civil unions (of partnership or marriage) are not permitted to have a service in church to celebrate with prayer for God’s blessing. Clergy in civil partnerships are not permitted by the Church of England to convert their union to civil marriage if they hold a bishop’s licence to practice. This research questions the meaning of equal relationships, both marriage and same-sex unions, to test three of the benefits of marriage asserted by the Church to the UK Government: mutuality, fidelity, and the biological complementarity of the couple with the possibility of procreation (Church of England, 2012). A methodology of practical theology, where my practice-based research leads to theory that reforms practice, fosters dialogue among voices of theology within the context of the Church of England. A postliberal interdisciplinary approach recognises plural meanings within my research field and adopts narrative methods for data generation, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Theologies of equal marriage and union, interpreted from narratives co-constructed with my participants, are brought into conversation with premodern liturgies for blessings of unions of Christian harmony and peace, seeking a fusion of horizons expressed through performed ritual. This research argues that two of the Church’s benefits of marriage, mutuality and fidelity, are embodied in all participants’ marriages and civil partnerships, but challenges the Church’s third benefit, because it is stated as derived from acknowledgement of an underlying biological complementarity of the couple. Changes in the legal and social contexts in England, academic research literature in the fields of gender and sexuality, and evidence from research participants’ lived practices lead to reinterpretation of the third benefit as responsible choices for parenting and the nurture of children in a pro/creative relationship. Implications for the Church of England are that emerging theologies in this research mandate policy changes, to lift the Church’s prohibition of services in church after same-sex civil unions and to pilot new liturgies of blessing. For mixed-sex couples to marry each other in a liturgy of Christian equal marriage, this research offers two areas for light revision of the Church’s contemporary liturgy to provide alternative options: gender-neutral language and rubrics, and nuanced language expressing loving intimacy rather than specific emphasis on sexual union. These changes will enable the Church of England to renew Christian marriage based on a recovered and reinterpreted theology of Christian unions of harmony and peace, so that couples can celebrate in church with prayer for God’s blessing either through marriage or a service after their civil union.
    • 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.
    • ‘Building Space: Developing Reflection for Wellbeing’ Can a chaplain help healthcare professionals develop reflective practice for wellbeing for themselves and their team?

      Mowat, Harriet; Satterley, Andrew; Graham, Elaine; Pearce, Sacha J. T. (University of Chester, 2019-01-22)
      In this thesis I develop a new, wider and richer understanding of wellbeing, through developing a process of reflective practice, with healthcare professionals within their challenging work culture. As a healthcare chaplain, having witnessed poor staff morale, I conducted a critical examination of NHS wellbeing reports and strategies, which revealed an understanding of staff wellbeing that ironically follows simply a health model. Challenging this, I argue for a broader interpretation of wellbeing that, in addition to focusing on health, is more holistic, relational and contextual. I develop reflective practice to nurture this, the use of which extends in healthcare beyond education and professional development. In my action research, knowledge was generated through ethnographic participation and observation, over a year, reflecting as chaplain with eight teams of healthcare professionals. This used my simple and memorable HELP Wellbeing Reflection Cycle (building on Kolb’s (1984) model of experiential learning) that combines reflection on work and personal development. My project also responds to Rolfe’s call (2014) for greater use in healthcare of Schön’s (1980) “reflection-in-action”. Building on these works, I develop reflection for healthcare professionals to nurture their wellbeing. My encouragement of the participants to self-facilitate their own reflective groups, when familiar with this method of reflection, is also a contribution to reflective practice, healthcare and the chaplain’s role. Thematic data analysis emerged from the reflexive field notes of our shared experience as co-reflective practitioners. The themes include healthcare professionals making the human connection between themselves and with their patients. They also value the space to reflect together, realising their desire for team support and a shared goal, as well as job satisfaction in this demanding culture. These themes, I argue, are consistent with the broader definitions of wellbeing, giving them the opportunity to be both a healthcare professional and human. Further data analysis also reveals consistency with wider wellbeing interpretations (including personal wellbeing measurements and data from the Office for National Statistics (2014, 2015)). I develop the role of chaplain as the healthcare professionals’ co-reflector, sharing their reflective space as a pastoral encounter and a source for learning. This combines the images of “empty handed” (Swift, 2009) “welcoming guest” and “mutual hospitality” (Walton, M., 2012). I offer to national healthcare the wider understanding of wellbeing, and the value of creating provision for reflective space to nurture it, in the care of healthcare professionals. This research offers the potential for exciting further developments in a wider constituency both in and beyond healthcare.
    • To what extent is George Lindbeck’s ‘Postliberal’ approach to doctrine helpful for the resolution of contemporary Christian controversies?

      Fulford, Ben; Rodgers, Alasdair M. (University of Chester, 2019-01-15)
      The extensive critical response to George Lindbeck’s book, The Nature of Doctrine, has frequently overlooked the author’s own primary intent to propose an innovative ‘grammatical’ approach to the function of doctrine (or ‘rule theory’), which would explicate, and replicate, observed ecumenical instances of doctrinal ‘reconciliation without capitulation’. This current research evaluates and tests, in a way which has not previously been undertaken by either Lindbeck or his critics, the extent to which a regulative approach to doctrine can provide a fruitful model with which to approach current ecclesial conflicts. This will be achieved by applying a modified version of rule theory within the case study of a contemporary ecclesial conflict. Following a clarification and modification of Lindbeck’s rule theory, I undertook a qualitative analysis of Christian liturgies, autobiographical accounts and position statements in the context of a single controversy (Church of England debates concerning same-sex relationships), to assess the extent to which a modified version of rule theory would provide a useful model with which to approach similar contemporary ecclesial conflicts. An analysis of the beliefs and practices of representative groups (as evident within their liturgies, autobiographical accounts, and descriptions of ‘faithful discipleship’) was undertaken, to ascertain whether operative regulative principles, akin to ‘grammar’, could be identified, and to test whether a comparison of identified ‘grammars’ would prove reconciliatory. The research discovered that the operative ‘grammar’ of different representative groups could be identified and compared, and that the modified version of rule theory had the ability to: disentangle debates about apparently inexorably conflicted positions over particular practices or beliefs; and facilitate a deeper understanding of the regulative principles which shaped interlocutors’ practices and beliefs, which would make a valuable contribution to the debate, but not necessarily in an immediately reconciliatory way. Consequently, this research has discovered that a modified version of rule theory does provide a helpful model with which to approach contemporary controversies, offering the potential for both the discovery of ‘grammatical’ coherence where it is present, and the identification of the true location and extent of ‘grammatical’ differences if they are present. Therefore, the modified version of rule theory under consideration is shown to provide a basis for dialogue which may variously lead to: a recognition of previously obscured ‘grammatical’ coherence; a form of reconciled diversity; the identification of promising areas for the negotiation of a new shared ‘grammar’; or the recognition of the presence of irreconcilably divergent ‘grammars’, which may, in some instances, lead to a degree of ecclesial separation.
    • Telling Our Stories: Towards an Understanding of Lived Methodism

      Graham, Elaine; Llewellyn, Dawn; Edwards, Graham M. (University of Chester, 2018-12-19)
      This thesis argues that a thorough understanding of Methodism must attend to the lived experience of Methodist people, expressed within Methodist church communities. I use narrative research methods to show the nature of local Methodist identity. This research was conducted using group interviews with participants from three Methodist churches in West Yorkshire. In analysis of these interviews, a ‘narrative of place’ is revealed: this is how participants talk about the experience of their church’s ‘space’ and make sense of their belonging. It communicates a shared sense of identity in each context. Through the narrative of place, I identify the shared experience of ‘lived Methodism’ that reflects my participants’ belonging within a Methodist church and within that tradition. In 1932, three independent Methodist church groups, each with their own practical and theological emphases, united to form The Methodist Church of Great Britain. The contemporary Methodist Church claims and cherishes its place as a ‘wide’ church, accepts a diversity of practice. Therefore, attempting to define Methodist identity can be problematic. This thesis argues that Methodist identity is not merely given to the church by the Methodist Connexion, or as a function of meeting in a Methodist building, instead it is appropriated and lived locally. A series of two group interviews in three Methodist communities generates the data recorded in the form of transcripts. Using a narrative research methodology to interrogate this data, I expose the narrative of place and its three core emphases, these show how lived Methodism is revealed in my work. Initially, place and community demonstrates how community is formed locally. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of habitus, I argue that the language of place and community functions in setting the boundaries of that particular group in both conscious and unconscious ways. The community thus governs its practice and ecclesial identity. Secondly, place and memory is outlined. In the three church narratives, memory is used to claim validity for the current expression of the community, and to articulate the values the community wishes to highlight. These two areas highlight how the local churches own and understand their identity, leading finally to an analysis of place and tradition. This demonstrates an understanding of what it means to be a Methodist church. There exists a local tradition focussed on 'being the church here and now’, which is fed by a received tradition mediated by those who are part of a broader Methodist narrative. The interface of these two modes of tradition creates a contextual Methodist tradition in each setting. I argue that it is here that a rich understanding of Methodism exists. Methodism is not a gift offered to a community, but a lived reality, claimed and valued by those who tell its story. The local narrative of place allows the lived experience of Methodism, in local church communities, to be heard and understood.
    • The Pentecostal-Charismatic movement in Zambia: Oral history of its emergence, evolution, development and ethos (1940s-2010s)

      Clark, Mathew S; Middleton, Paul; Makukula, Nelson (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      Since the late 1880s, Zambia has been engaged in a repeated series of encounters with Christian renewals. The arrival of Pentecostalism will be viewed as the palpable product of this intensely creative process. Zambian Pentecostalism emerged in continuity with the fruit of European Christian missionary enterprise, but its more contemporary version evolved in spontaneous response to the rise and ministry of influential local Zambian leaders such as Joel Chidzakazi Phiri, prophetess Alice Lenshina, evangelist Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, Winston Broomes, and Jack and Winsome Muggleton. The activities of these key figures led to the formation and prominence of three main church streams across Zambia: Prophetic and Pentecostal-type Pentecostalism, Classical Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism. The brand of Pentecostalism that emerged in Zambia in the 1940s has been influenced by several theological, cultural, political and social influences. One noticeable feature of Zambian PentecostalCharismatic Churches has been their change in character across the decades from holiness and evangelistic traditions of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to the faith and prosperity ministry of the 2010s. Pentecostal-Charismatic has become engaged in the public sphere by the early 1990s. A further development since the 2000s has been the prominence of the prophetic and apostolic, which is the combination of teaching mainly from the USA and various strands of previous ministries with an emphasis on miracles, deliverance, prosperity and prophecy.