Welcome to the CTRC
The Centre for Theology, Religion & Culture (CTRC) was founded in 1995 by Andrew Walker to meet a growing interest in exploring the interaction of theology, religion and culture. The Centre is located - geographically and symbolically - at the intersection between religions and schools, church and state, Christianity and culture, faith and identity, and theology and education. Our research serves the professional development of those working at each of these intersections, including teachers, youth workers, those working in churches or in faith-based NGOs. The CTRC is staffed by nine faculty members, including three professors.
The nature of issues addressed by the CTRC means that its research is necessarily inter-disciplinary, drawing on both the humanities and social sciences. Given the contested role of the religions in contemporary culture, the Centre's research is relevant to both public policy and professional practice.
The Centre has three core areas of teaching and research:
Christian Mission and Ministry in a Contemporary context
This area of research is concerned with the expression of Christian faith within contemporary culture. This research has an emphasis on approaches to theological analysis that draw upon empirical research methodologies. Empirical methods are thus used as a means to develop critical and constructive approaches to Mission and Ministry in the contemporary Church. This approach to the link between empirical work and theology is developed through a range of theological disciplines e.g. Liturgical Studies, Practical Theology, Christian Ethics, and Systematic Theology. Areas of particular interest include: Christian Worship, Theological Education, The Charismatic Movement, Contemporary Worship Music, Youth Ministry, the Use of the Bible in Preaching, and Preaching in relation to Fresh Expressions and Emerging Church.
Faith-based organisations and religious social and political engagement
With a particular focus on public spiritual, religious and theological literacy, this research theme is concerned with the place of learning from and about religion in schools, colleges of further education and universities, as well as in the media and the public sphere in general. Particular attention is given to spiritual and faith development, critical thinking and spiritual/theological discernment, pedagogy and the curriculum, and the formation and education of teachers. Research is inter-disciplinary, with a particular focus on theological resources and the philosophy of critical realism. It is attentive to the contribution of religious communities to faith-based schooling.
With a particular focus on the Christian churches, this research theme focuses on religious NGOs such as charities, voluntary agencies, social welfare services (whether local, national or global in reach), political initiatives and social movements as well as the place of religious institutions and actors in community organising, development work and secular organisations. Particular attention is given to the inter-relationship between faith-based engagement with contemporary social, economic and political issues and the theological ways of framing such work.The Centre's research addresses both professional practice and current social, economic and political contexts. Research foci range from informal education in churches to public policy in relation to faith schools, from the impact of consumerism on religious practice to the representation of religion in the classroom, and from the role of faith communities in generating social cohesion and respecting diversity to the interrelationship between popular culture, emerging church, and religious identity.
The CTRC actively contributes to a growing London-wide research culture that addresses issues of common concern in religious education, theological education, theology and religious studies. Other key participants include Heythrop College and the London School of Theology. Beyond London, the Centre has many national and international links and draws students from all over the world to its programmes. These links are part of a wider ecology of conversation and relationship which informs the teaching and research of the CTRC.