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Durham University

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Dr Anthony-Paul Cooper, PhD MBCS

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Co-Director Centre for the Study of Modern Christianity of St John's College

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About Anthony-Paul Cooper

Dr Anthony-Paul Cooper is Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Christianity. Anthony-Paul has a background in computer science and social research, with previous research topics including new church use of ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ space and the use of social media data to better understand church attendance and church growth.

Anthony-Paul has edited, with David Goodhew, 'The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present' (published by Routledge, 2018).

More recently, Anthony-Paul has written a new book, with Erkki Sutinen, 'Digital Theology: A Computer Science Perspective' (published by Emerald Publishing, 2021).

Anthony-Paul’s current research is focussed on exploring the role of technology in Christian prayer and is intended to take forward the emerging field of digital theology by providing new insight into the perceptions of technology users around the role which technology and the online environment plays in their prayer lives while generating new evidence to better understand the ways in which people pray online, with a particular focus on textual content and the inclusion of images, videos and emojis in online prayer content.

Research Interests

  • Church growth research
  • Sociology of religion
  • Digital theology
  • Social media research


Authored book

  • Sutinen, Erkki & Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2021). Digital Theology: A computer science perspective. Emerald.

Edited book

  • Goodhew, David & Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2018). The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present. Routledge.

Chapter in book

  • Sutinen, Erkki & Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2020). Interactive technologies, Missio Dei and grassroots activism. In Missio Dei in a Digital Age. Kurlberg, Jonas & Phillips, Peter M. SCM Press. 122-149.
  • Goodhew, David & Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2018). London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present. In The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present. Goodhew, David & Cooper, Anthony-Paul Routlege. 3-38.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2018). Using geotagged Twitter data to uncover hidden church populations. In The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present. Goodhew, David & Cooper, Anthony-Paul Routledge. 134-147.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2014). Unwrapping Camden’s church tweeters: A small-scale thematic study of Twitter data. In Social Media in Social Research: Blogs on Blurring the Boundaries. Woodfield, Kandy NatCen Social Research.

Journal Article

  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul, Jormanainen, Ilkka, Shipepe, Annastasia & Sutinen, Erkki (2021). Faith communities online: Christian churches’ reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak. International Journal of Web Based Communities 17(2): 99-119.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul, Laato, Samuli, Nenonen, Suvi, Pope, Nicolas, Tjiharuka, David & Sutinen, Erkki (2021). The reconfiguration of social, digital and physical presence: From online church to church online. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 77(3): a6286.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul, Mann, Josua, Sutinen, Erkki & Phillips, Peter (2021). Understanding London’s church tweeters: A content analysis of church-related tweets posted from a global city. First Monday 26(9).
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul, Kolog, Emmanuel Awuni & Sutinen, Erkki (2019). Exploring the Use of Machine Learning to Automate the Qualitative Coding of Church-related Tweets. Fieldwork in Religion 14(2): 140-159.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul & Goodhew, David (2018). Warehouses, Garages and Pubs: New Church Buildings in Britain, 1980 to the Present. The Chapel Society Journal 3: 81-90.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul & Goodhew, David (2017). ‘Resacralising’ secular space: new churches in a northern city, 1980–2012. Journal of Contemporary Religion 32(3): 495-511.
  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2017). Assessing the Possible Relationship between the Sentiment of Church-related Tweets and Church Growth. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 46(1): 37-49.

Doctoral Thesis

  • Cooper, Anthony-Paul (2021). Exploring the use of Twitter data to better understand church attendance. PhD.