Revd Sarah Hills
Abstract and Research Interests
These are based mainly in the field of practical theology, in healing; and specifically the forgiveness/reconciliation process, particularly in terms of theology and its overlap with psychology, stemming from my training as a Psychiatrist before becoming ordained as a Priest.
My MA dissertation was entitled
'The theology and pastoral praxis of forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation arising out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa, with particular regard to local reconciliation initiatives in SA '.
Further questions about the transferability of the South African experience to other situations needing reconciliation clearly spring from this, and I am now interested particularly in the role of restitution within the reconciliation process, and am studying for a PhD on this subject.
The need for healing through forgiveness and restitution leading to reconnection, or relationship with the other and with God, reconciliation, is as pertinent in our context in the UK as in post-apartheid South Africa. The art of forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation may allow some of the disconnections within the individual and society to be healed.
The transferability of the models I have already looked at in South Africa to other contexts is an area I would like to take further. In the Northern Ireland context work on reconciliation is being undertaken through projects such as 'Corrymeela', a Christian centre for practical reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics. The restitution model would be particularly interesting to follow up in this context, as it is less clear which community is the 'advantaged' or the 'disadvantaged' one.
Other questions also arise i.e. What impact does a 'religious' view of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than a secular view have on outcome? Does the religiosity of a nation or a community have an influence on reconciliation? Does the process benefit from psychological and theological input alongside each other, or should the Church take a leading role in a prophetic way?
If restitution is a crucial element in the process of forgiveness and reconciliation, then surely the Church with its 'Word' and 'Sacrament' , with its potential for both pastoral and liturgical reconciliation, should be at the forefront of promoting and enabling reconciliation.
- 'ECT and magic numbers', Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatry: August 1991 p302 with Dr G Hayes.
- 'When to offer cognitive behavioural or psychoanalytic psychotherapy in an integrated psychotherapy service: Are everyday allocation decisions theoretically congruent?', Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Volume 8, issue 2, June 2008, pages 102-109, Warden, Ricketts, Saxon, Houghton, St. Leger, Curran, Fitzgerald.