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Durham University

Welcome to

Members of the Centre

Dr Jeremy Bonner

I was the Ramsey Fellow in Anglican Studies at the University of Durham from 2013 to 2015. The holder of a PhD in history from the Catholic University of America, I have taught at Robert Morris University, Duquesne University and the University of Sheffield and am currently a lecturer with Lindisfarne College of Theology. I have written and published on various aspects of modern American and English Church history, including The Road to Renewal: Victor Joseph Reed and Oklahoma Catholicism, 1905-1971 (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2008); Called Out of Darkness Into Marvelous Light: A History of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, 1750-2006 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009); and Empowering the People of God: Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), which I co-edited with Mary Beth Fraser Connolly and Christopher Denny. I contributed “‘The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of Things Not Seen’: Bishop John Jamieson Willis and the Mission of the Church, 1910-1947,” for Mark Chapman and Jeremy Bonner, eds., Costly Communion: Ecumenical Initiative and Sacramental Strife in the Anglican Communion, which was published by Brill in 2019.

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Dr Frances Clemson

I am part of the academic team responsible for the Common Awards partnership between Durham University and the Church of England. Through the partnership, the University validates courses across the country for those in training for various forms of ministry within the C of E and other partner churches, as well as for a number of independent students. I have particular responsibility for developing events and additional academic resources for Common Awards students nationally. I also work with Professor Mike Higton on the development of collaborative research projects, drawing together theological educators, ministers, practitioners, academics, and others, to consider the pressing issues facing theological education today.

I carry out research in modern theology, particularly Anglican theology. My areas of interest are the relationship between theology and the arts, theology and learning, embodied theologies, and worship. I have recently completed a book on the theological and dramatic works of Dorothy L. Sayers, published with Bloomsbury T&T Clark in their Studies in English Theology series (2019). Other recent publications include work on the Church of England’s statements about marriage ('Taking Time Over Marriage: Tradition, History and Time in Recent Debates’ in Thinking Again about Marriage: Key Theological Questions, ed. John Bradbury and Susannah Cornwall (SCM, 2016)) and work on theology, the arts and peacebuilding (‘Doing Justice to the Past: Time in Drama and Peacebuilding’, in Peacebuilding and the Arts, ed. Hal Culbertson, Theodora Hawksley, Jolyon Mitchell and Giselle Vincent, forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan).

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Professor Christopher Cook

I qualified in medicine from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1981. I undertook postgraduate training in psychiatry at the United Medical & Dental Schools of Guys and St Thomas’s in London. My MD thesis (1994, St George's Hospital Medical School) was on the genetic predisposition to alcohol misuse, and I published widely in the field of alcohol misuse and addiction, including articles on spirituality and addiction, before making spirituality, theology and health my main area of clinical and academic interest. My PhD in theology (2010, Durham) was on the spirituality of the Philokalia and its relation to mental wellbeing. I was ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2001.

I am Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Durham University, an Honorary Chaplain with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, and an Honorary Minor Canon at Durham Cathedral. My book publications include Spirituality, Theology & Mental Health (ed. CCH Cook, publ SCM, 2013), Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice (eds Cook, Powell & Sims, Royal College of Psychiatrists Press, 2016), and Hearing Voices, Demonic & Divine (Routledge 2018).

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Professor Mike Higton

My post in Durham is part of the University's Common Awards partnership with the Church of England. I am responsible for academic input into the University's validation of the Common Awards in Theology, Ministry and Mission offered by the Church in colleges and courses around the country, and for developing collaborative research projects that bring together people from the church and university sectors to discuss the future of theological education.

My own research is in the area of Christian doctrine, and I am particularly interested in the roles that doctrinal discussion plays in the life of the Church of England.

I am a member of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission and of the Theological Working Group of the Transformations Group (which examines attitudes to women’s ministry around the church), and am honorary lay Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral.

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Professor Walter Moberly

My writing focusses on questions to do with how best to understand the ancient biblical texts, especially the Old Testament, as Christian Scripture in the life of the church and the world today. I discuss the nature of interpretation, and what might make for contemporary religious literacy.

Representative recent work includes: Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture (Baker Academic: 2013), and “Biblical Hermeneutics and Ecclesial Responsibility” in Stanley Porter & Matthew Malcolm (eds.), The Future of Biblical Interpretation (Paternoster: 2013), 105-125.

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Dr Skye Montgomery

I am a lecturer in US History in the Department of History. My research and teaching encompass the development of American national identity in the long nineteenth century and the role that transatlantic religious institutions played in this process. My previous work has considered the ways in which white Southerners articulated a distinctive regional identity predicated on conceptions of Anglo-American kinship and the extent to which Southern Episcopalians turned to the Church of England for institutional support when the Civil War disrupted their relationship with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Currently, I am working on a project which explores the tensions between proslavery and antislavery factions within the missionary efforts of Episcopal Church in the decades prior to the Civil War. I am particularly interested in the life and ministry of William Jones Boone, the first Anglican missionary bishop of Shanghai, whose upbringing in a prominent slaveholding family in South Carolina profoundly shaped his views of racial difference and complicated his efforts to nurture the development of a Chinese national church after the model of the Episcopal Church in the United States. In future work I plan to explore the ways in which the work of the Episcopal Church’s Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society advanced the course of American empire, even as its focus on cultivating indigenous churches provided anti-imperialist actors with an ecclesiastical basis and institutional outlets for resistance.

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The Revd Dr Nick Moore

I am Academic Dean and Tutor in New Testament at Cranmer Hall, the theological education institute that is part of St John’s College within Durham University. I teach on our main module on Anglicanism, which covers aspects of Anglican liturgy, history, and identity, and forms a key part of our training for Church of England ordinands. My own research interests lie in the field of New Testament and Early Christianity. Much of my work focuses on the Letter to the Hebrews, and I am currently working on a wider project looking at early Christian understandings of heaven as a Temple.

My published work includes Repetition in Hebrews: Plurality and Singularity in the Letter to the Hebrews, Its Ancient Context, and the Early Church, WUNT II/388 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), a couple of co-edited and co-translated works from the French including Albert Vanhoye, A Perfect Priest (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018), several book chapters, and journal articles including in the Journal for Theological Studies and Journal for the Study of the New Testament.

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Canon Professor Simon Oliver

I am Van Mildert Professor of Divinity and Canon Residentiary of Durham Cathedral. Named after the founder of Durham University, the Bishop of Durham, William van Mildert, this is one of the historic Chairs established at the University’s foundation in 1832. My research interests lie in the field of Christian theology and philosophy, particularly the thought of Thomas Aquinas, the doctrine of creation and the history of the relationship between theology and science. As well as co-editingThe Radical Orthodoxy Reader and a number of other collections, I am author of Philosophy, God and Motion (Routledge, 2005),Creation: A Guide for the Perplexed (2017, Bloomsbury) and Creation’s Ends: Teleology, Ethics and the Natural (forthcoming). I am currently editing the Oxford Handbook of Creation (forthcoming, 2021). I delivered the Stanton Lectures in Philosophy of Religion at the University of Cambridge in 2017.

As a Residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral, I play a full part in the daily liturgical life of the Cathedral. As a member of Chapter, the Cathedral’s governing body, I play a full part in the governance of the Cathedral. I am a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order. I also serve on committees concerned with theological education in the Church of England.

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Dr Brian Powers

I am a graduate of Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion, having earned my PhD in the Theological Studies area. As a former officer in the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am interested in the ways that Christian theology shapes and also fails to shape our thinking about contemporary moral, ecclesial and political issues – most notably, those involving identity, justice and violence. My recent monograph from William B. Eerdmans press is a constructive work entitled Full Darkness: Original Sin, Moral Injury and Wartime Violence. The book contends that a modified Augustinian conception of original sin holds deep explanatory power to illuminate the nature of wartime violence, particularly through the lens of veteran trauma.

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Canon Professor Michael Snape

I am Michael Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies, Director of The Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies, and an ecumenical lay canon of Durham Cathedral. I am also Honorary Secretary of the Church of England Record Society and the official historian of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. My research interests lie in Christianity and the experience of war in the modern era, ranging from the eighteenth century through to recent ISAF operations in Afghanistan. My past and forthcoming publications include God and the British Soldier: Religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars (London: Routledge, 2005); ‘Anglican Army Chaplains in the First World War: Goodbye to Goodbye to All That’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 62, 2011; God and Uncle Sam: Religion and America’s Armed Forces in World War II (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2015); and ‘War and Peace’, in Jeremy Morris and Rowan Strong (eds), The Oxford History of Anglicanism Volume IV: The Twentieth Century (Oxford: OUP, 2017).

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Professor Robert Song

I am Professor of Theological Ethics in the Department of Theology and Religion. My research and teaching has covered many areas of Christian moral and social thought, including political theology, bioethics, sexual ethics, and the ethics of technology. My past publications include Christianity and Liberal Society (Oxford University Press, 1997), Human Genetics: Fabricating the Future (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002), and Covenant and Calling: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Relationships (London: SCM Press, 2014). I was a member of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (the Pilling Group). Currently I chair the Leech Research Fund Management Committee and am a member of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group for the Church of England.

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Professor Julia Stapleton

I am Professor of Political Thought in the School of Government and International Affairs and Associate Director of The Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies. I am interested in political thought within the Church of England in the twentieth century, as expressed by both its clergy and lay members. I have a particular interest in conceptions of the relationship between church, state, and nation across a range of liberal and Conservative perspectives. I am the PI for an AHRC funded project entitled ‘Church, State, and Nation: The Journals of Herbert Hensley Henson, 1900-1939’. The project is running from July 2017-December 2020. The aim of the project is to create a scholarly on-line edition of Henson’s journals that cover the years 1900-1939, when Henson was at the peak of his influence as a public figure, and to write scholarly articles on British political, intellectual and religious history in this period, using the journals and other sources.

My publications include Englishness and the Study of Politics: the Social and Political Thought of Ernest Barker (Cambridge, 1994), and ‘T.E. Utley and Renewal of Conservatism in post-war Britain’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 19:2 (2014), 207-26.

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Professor Pete Ward

I am Professorial Fellow in Ecclesiology and Ethnography. This is a joint appointment in the Department of Theology and Religion and at St John’s College. My research focuses on the links between Theology and the cultural expressions of the Christian Church and in wider society. I have an interest in contemporary worship, young people and the Church and theological empirical methods in ecclesiology, and religion media and popular culture. I was formerly the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Youth Ministry. As well as working in Durham I am also Professor of Practical Theology at MF The Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo and at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway.

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Professor Philip Williamson

As a professor in the Department of History, my publications have included studies of early twentieth-century British politics and government as well as religious history. I am the chief editor for the Durham/AHRC project that is producing National Prayers: Special Worship since the Reformation in four volumes for the Church of England Record Society: recent volumes are volume 2, General fasts, thanksgivings and special prayers in the British Isles 1689–1870 (2017), and volume 3, Worship for national and royal occasions in the United Kingdom 1871–2016 (2020). I am co-editor of a volume of essays on The Church of England and British Politics since 1900 (2020), and a co-investigator for Julia Stapleton’s AHRC-funded project on ‘Church, state, and nation: the journals of Herbert Hensley Henson, 1900-1939’.

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