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Friday, 4th January 2019Book Launch: Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine: Scientific and Theological Perspectives
by Professor Chris Cook

Thursday 17 January 2019 (6-8pm)

Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral, Durham, DH1 3EH

We warmly invite you to celebrate the launch of Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine: Scientific and Theological Perspectives by Professor Chris Cook (Co-Investigator, Hearing the Voice) at Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral on Thursday 17 January 2019, 6-8pm.

Featuring an introduction by John Swinton (Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen), our panel of experts will explore the experience of hearing voices from scientific, spiritual, theological and personal standpoints. Chaired by Charles Fernyhough (Director and PI, Hearing the Voice).

Wine and canapes will be provided.

All welcome!

If you would like to attend this event, we kindly ask that you register through Eventbrite for catering purposes by clicking here.

About this book

Experiences of hearing the voice of God (or angels, demons, or other spiritual beings) have generally been understood either as religious experiences or else as a feature of mental illness. Some critics of traditional religious faith have dismissed the visions and voices attributed to biblical characters and saints as evidence of mental disorder. However, it is now known that many ordinary people, with no other evidence of mental disorder, also hear voices and that these voices not infrequently include spiritual or religious content. Psychological and interdisciplinary research has shed a revealing light on these experiences in recent years, so that we now know much more about the phenomenon of ‘hearing voices’ than ever before.

Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine considers biblical, historical, and scientific accounts of spiritual and mystical experiences of voice hearing in the Christian tradition in order to explore how some voices may be understood theologically as revelatory, proposing that in the incarnation, Christian faith finds both an understanding of what it is to be fully human (a theological anthropology), and God’s perfect self-disclosure (revelation). Within such an understanding, revelatory voices represent a key point of interpersonal encounter between human beings and God.

The open access version of Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine can be found here.

 

Friday, 23rd November 2018Seminar Thursday 6 December 2018:
Memory, Narrative and Ageing

This seminar took place on Thursday 6 December 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Jocelyn Bryan, Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
The storied nature of our lives and experience receives considerable attention in the study of the later stages of human life. During these stages of life, the pace of experience and its content changes, allowing more time for reflection and processing. Drawing on psychological research into autobiographical memory, hindsight and the content of narrative in later life, the seminar will outline the implications of this research for spirituality and pastoral care for later life.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Dr Jocelyn Bryan is Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham. She is also Director of the Doctor in Theology and Ministry programme and teaches Pastoral and Practical Theology, Human Sexuality, Gender and Christian Ministry and Psychology and Christian Ministry. She has worked in Ministerial Formation for over a decade, before which she worked in management for a large computer company. Her PhD is in psychology. Jocelyn’s main research interest is in the interdisciplinary field of psychology, theology and ministry. She has recently published Human Being: Insights from Psychology and the Christian Faith and co-edited The Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour. She has also contributed two chapters to a book on Sexual Issues and published a number of reflections on pastoral challenges in the volume Facing The Issues. She is the editor of the St John’s College Online Journal Theology and Ministry.

 

Monday, 12th November 2018Seminar Thursday 22 November 2018:
The Rainbow Bridge: Intimations of Immortality

This seminar took place on Thursday 22 November 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Revd Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot, Writer, worker for the Gettalife Project charity, Spiritual Director and Anglican sister (profilewebsite)

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
This seminar will cover a consideration of aspects of human experience that are suggestive of the possibility of a transcendent realm; centring on visionary dream or altered states of consciousness that church history and historical theology might term as prophetic, i.e. a ‘living, numinous ‘word’ for the moment of particular significance to the individual or community. From the case-histories collected or studied, emerge powerful, evocative material suggestive of a many-layered world in which there are, as Peter Berger might affirm, ‘signals of transcendence’. These experiences of a numinous intensity and quality are also indicative of interconnections across time and space between human beings linked by kinship, compassion and at times a profound desire for wisdom and truth.

Of the contemporary accounts, some core material was drawn from primary data research collected in the first instance for a stand-alone documentary for a BBC radio 4 programme and was later added to in a doctoral research initiative at Manchester University. The Doctoral programme research drew material from qualitative ‘face to face’ interviews with a hidden population of those who had experienced such phenomena. They describe experiences felt by most interviewees to be an encounter with the numinous. These were not only visionary-dreams but included other modes of consciousness linked to prophecy, visionary dream and healing-in the spiritual sense- as well as some occasions of being shown or ‘called’ to a particular life. This core material has been added to as and when appropriate. Qualitative Interviews were also conducted with Vocations Advisors and Spiritual Directors. The final strand was a quantitative survey of the theological colleges within the UK, asking how they felt they had dealt with and were dealing with such material.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Revd. Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot, after a portfolio career, spanning the different but related disciplines of teaching, BBC radio 4 research and presentation for Woman’s Hour and the Religious Department as well as research at Manchester Victoria University in religion, ethnicity and Education, became one of the first tranche of women to become priested in the Anglican Church in 1994.

Her professional involvement within the Anglican Church included Parish Ministry in a the large Housing Estate as well pioneering, unexpectedly, a major renewal project in one of the most deprived areas of the inner city in Manchester. Later, in the Chester Diocese, she was asked to be Healing advisor for a period, as well leading a Supervision Group for those working in Spiritual Direction in the Chester Diocese.

Sue Talbot is Chair of Trustees and field-worker of the Gettalife project www.gettalife.org.uk as well as being a writer and Spiritual Director. Sue trained in Spiritual Direction through the Loyola Hall Jesuit Retreat House and the Spidir system at Manchester Cathedral.

The work of which this presentation is a part, was granted a bursary by Gladstone’s library to enable the primary data from the doctoral research and material from other sources to be transmuted into book-form prior to the next step of moving it into the public realm, hopefully, via an intrigued Agent or publisher!

 

Monday, 1st October 2018Seminar Thursday 25 October 2018:
Shape of Water: ‘Medicine of Mortality’ in Patristic Pastoral Healthcare

This seminar took place on Thursday 25 October 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Susan R. Holman, Academic editor & writer in medicine & global health, Harvard University (2007-2018); John R. Eckrich Chair & Professor of Religion & the Healing Arts, Valparaiso University (2019); Senior Fellow of the Harvard University Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality

To download the presentation’s Handout click here.

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
Water takes many shapes in early Christian texts on healing and need: in baptism, healing springs, the therapeutic drink of fasting, merciful nurture, filth-prevention, and the civic or public service of funding baths. Water was a human entitlement based on theological ethics; Gregory of Nyssa, for instance, condemned those who forbade the sick poor from drinking from public fountains as if they poisoned them; and in the Egyptian desert, Abba Shenoute funded (and likely designed on sanctuary patterns) a massive well during a refugee crisis. Yet even when it is regarded as essential, water can kill: mixed in wine of the “wrong” group’s eucharist, infested with mysterious forces that trigger life-threatening vomiting and diarrhea, or simply by its absence, for example in drought that some, like Basil of Caesarea, blamed on sin and greed. Water’s connection with illness and death may seem to flow in provocative eddies with Ignatius of Antioch’s famous appeal to eucharist as the “medicine of immortality.”

Water is often the forgotten cipher in health care. Yet safe drinking water and basic sanitation remain key to global goals today in both health and development. As the late Steve de Gruchy reminded us in his 2009 essay on “Water and Spirit: Theology in the Time of Cholera,” “There is only one stream of water” in this world, “[t]here is no life outside this cycle and theology has to get real about it.” Isabel Apawo Phiri, in her 2018 Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture, called for the church to take a serious role in realizing the vision for comprehensive water justice. While such messages most directly speak to faith-based concerns about the global environment, they are also deeply rooted in both therapeutic and eschatological imagery relevant to pastoral engagement in health care. This paper will consider and tease at these cross-time and cross-disciplinary connections, asking: how might Christian constructions of water in late antiquity potentially inform scholarship, action, and community-based thinking about how we address medicine, mortality, and ministry today?

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Susan R. Holman is a writer and scholar whose research explores the intersections of faith-based responses to disease and poverty in late antiquity with related issues in modern global health. Dr. Holman’s early studies in clinical and public health nutrition shape the narrative of her books on Christian history, including The Hungry are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia (Oxford 2001), God Knows There’s Need: Christian Responses to Poverty (Oxford 2009), and Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights (Oxford 2015, which received the 2016 Grawemeyer Award in Religion). She is also editor of Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society (BakerAcademic 2008), author and co-translator of Basil of Caesarea: On Fasting and Feasts (SVS Press 2013), and co-editor of The Garb of Being: Embodiment and the Pursuit of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity (Fordham 2019).

 

Monday, 1st October 2018SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Michaelmas Term 2018

SEMINAR PROGRAMME – Michaelmas Term 2018

These seminars are open to all staff and students of Durham University and to the general public. However, please be aware that they are aimed at a postgraduate level and are therefore especially suitable for MA, PhD and DThM students, as well as for others engaged in postgraduate study in relevant areas of enquiry.

 

If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please send an e-mail to Charidimos Koutris (charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk) in order to ensure that a place will be available for you.

 

Also feel free to visit the Durham University website to Subscribe to these seminars, download future seminars as an iCal calendar file or download the seminar programme in pdf format.

 

Thursday 25 October 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Shape of Water: ‘Medicine of Mortality’ in Patristic Pastoral Healthcare
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Susan R. Holman,
Academic editor & writer in medicine & global health, Harvard University (2007-2018);
John R. Eckrich Chair & Professor of Religion & the Healing Arts, Valparaiso University (2019);
Senior Fellow of the Harvard University Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality

 

Thursday 22 November 2018 (4.30-6pm)
The Rainbow Bridge: Intimations of Immortality
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Revd Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot,
Writer, worker for the Gettalife Project charity, Spiritual Director and Anglican sister

 

Thursday 6 December 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Memory, Narrative and Ageing
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Jocelyn Bryan,
Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham

 

 

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Tuesday, 5th June 2018Feminist and Trauma Theologies – Call for Contributions (deadline: 7 September 2018)

A project about the intersections between trauma and feminist theology. We are currently seeking contributions for an edited volume.

Trauma theology is a rare field of Christian theology that is well-represented by women’s voices. Theologians such as Shelly Rambo, Serene Jones, Stephanie Arel, and Jennifer Beste are among the first that come to mind when considering the field of trauma theology. Many of these theologians are clearly informed by feminist theology, if not overtly feminist, in their approach to their study of trauma. This should not be surprising given that the issues surrounding trauma are similar to, and intimately connected with feminist issues—questions around power in both the individual and societal contexts, issues surrounding control over the body and bodily integrity, the motivation to activism, and the narration of experience as liberative—to give just a few examples.

We are living in an era when traumatic experiences are being more frequently acknowledged in public and there are multiple calls for recognition and justice for those who experience such trauma. Just in the last three years we have seen the Black Lives Matter campaign, #metoo, the Sisters Uncut protests about the cutting of services for domestic violence victims, the repeal the 8thcampaign, campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation, multiple sexual abuse scandals (including those in churches), the experience of displaced persons around the world, and rise of PTSD in armed forces personnel. It is clear that many of these experiences and issues exist at the intersection of feminism and trauma.

Submission guidelines

We invite contributions to this publication on any area of feminism and trauma theologies and particularly the following areas:

1. The way in which feminist and trauma theologies are interlinked. Contributions might reflect on the historical and methodological intersections between these two sub-disciplines. Furthermore, contributions could consider some of the key issues raised by theologians in both fields, and the ways in which some of these questions might be addressed.

2. Feminist theological responses to trauma. This might include trauma theology that deliberately draws on feminist principles in its analysis or reflections on traumatic experiences that specifically challenge feminist ideals (such as rape, domestic violence, FGM). Given the essential nature of narrating personal stories to both trauma and feminist theologies, contributions that include empirical/qualitative research would be most welcome.

3. Feminism has always been an activist movement, from the suffragette movement, to Greenham Common, to #metoo. This publication would give opportunity to include contributions that address the question of activism at the intersection of feminist and trauma theologies. This might include contributions that outline Christian modes of protest and campaign, that consider questions of social justice in feminist and trauma theologies, or the role of the Church in addressing traumatic experiences.

Whilst we know that many people who identify as women are interested in feminism, we welcome contributions from people across the gender spectrum. Furthermore, we are keen to include contributions that bring perspectives from across a range of faith traditions. If you are unsure as the suitability of your work, please contact one of the editors to discuss a submission informally.

Please send abstracts of 250 words, 5-10 key words, and a short author bio to feminismtraumatheologies@gmail.com by 7th September 2018.

 

Editors:

Dr Karen O’Donnell, Durham University: karen.o’donnell@durham.ac.uk

Dr Katie Cross, University of Aberdeen: k.cross@abdn.ac.uk

Thursday, 24th May 2018Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health – Data Protection & Privacy Policy

This policy describes what we do with personal data we collect, and outlines our efforts to protect your privacy.

 

1. Collection and use of personal data

The only data we keep of you is your email address by including it in our emailing list after your expressed interest about the Spirituality, Theology and Health programme.

We use this information only to keep in contact with you via email.

If at any time you no longer wish us to hold your details and wish to “Opt Out” from being contacted by us, please let us know and we will adjust our mailing lists accordingly.

 

2. Protection of your Information

Any personal information you provide to us are used in compliance with the laws concerning the protection of personal information, including the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) effective from 25th May 2018.

All data we collect about you is protected against unauthorized access by third parties. We do our utmost to protect your privacy through the appropriate use of security technologies and physical safeguards.

Be aware that the Spirituality, Theology and Health website contains links to other websites of interest operated by third parties. We do not accept any liability for the privacy practices of such third-party websites.

We will not, except with your express permission, disclose, share, sell, or trade any personal information that we hold about you.

 

3. Your Rights

You have the right to unsubscribe from the CSTH mailing list at any time.  You can do this by sending an “Unsubscribe” email request to charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk and stating clearly the email address you wish to unsubscribe.

 

Friday, 27th April 2018Seminar Thursday 3 May 2018:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Meets Albert Schweitzer:
Can ‘Reverence for the Penultimate’ form a Christian Mandate for Church Involvement in 21st Century Healthcare?

This seminar took place on Thursday 3 May 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room B
(D/TH004, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Robert M. Jaggs-Fowler, Medical Director and Director of Primary Care, NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group; Ordinand; PhD candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
The lives of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Albert Schweitzer overlapped during the early part of the 20th century. Both were ordained as Lutheran priests. Whilst Bonhoeffer’s focus was largely that of an academic theologian, Schweitzer also qualified as a medical doctor and founded a missionary hospital in the Gabon. Bonhoeffer’s work includes some embryonic thinking around the relative importance of the ‘penultimate’ versus the ‘ultimate’. Meanwhile, Schweitzer was developing his own underpinning philosophical imperative, which he termed ‘reverence for life’. Taken together, Bonhoeffer’s theological concepts found practical echoes within the missionary work and philosophy of Schweitzer. I suggest that an analysis of the two men’s work thus provides a dialectic in terms of theory and praxis, as well as a paradigm for establishing a Christian mandate for the involvement of the Church in 21st century healthcare.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler is an ordinand, physician, writer and poet. He qualified in Medicine in 1985 (MB BS, London), is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and was in clinical practise for 33 years. He is currently the Medical Director and Director of Primary Care for the NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group. He additionally holds Masters’ degrees in Medical Law & Ethics (LLM, De Montfort, Leicester) and Spirituality, Theology & Health (MA, Durham), is currently researching for a PhD (Theology) at Durham University, and is training for ordination in the Anglican Church at the Lincoln School of Theology.
A former Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and a former Assistant Chief Commander for the St John Ambulance, Robert is also the author of several books, including a medico-legal text, a novel and two collections of poetry.
From a faith perspective, he describes himself as an Anglican-Benedictine- Contemplative. He has a particular interest in the inter-relationship between Christian theology and healthcare. He has been instrumental in introducing Chaplaincy Volunteers to GP practices in North Lincolnshire and is in the process of rolling the project out to other practices across the whole Diocese of Lincoln as part of an NHS England pilot. Robert is due to be ordained in June 2019.

 

Monday, 16th April 2018Seminar Thursday 26 April 2018:
Co-productive Ethics: Bridging the Fact-Value Divide in Mental Health Service Provision

This seminar took place on Thursday 26 April 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room B
(D/TH004, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Revd Julian Paul Raffay, Specialist Chaplain (Research Education and Development), Spiritual and Pastoral Care Department, Mersey Care NHS Trust; PhD candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
Mental health services – described as ‘a broken and demoralised system that does not deliver the quality of treatment that is need for people to recover’ – commonly ignore faith communities. This seminar reports on a constructivist grounded theory thesis with embedded co-production exploring collaboration. Thirty participants were interviewed: mental health service users, carers, staff, faith leaders, and community organization leaders. They identified the Enlightenment bifurcation as causing vulnerabilities. I surmised agent-focused medical ethics to be an artefact of the fact-value divide, under undue utilitarian influence.

Co-productive ethics identifies service users and carers as having vital contributions towards effective mental health services that bridge the divide. It proposes that faith communities and mental health services become critical friends in supporting communities to develop services prioritizing health promotion and recovery.

This seminar will set the history of mental health provision within MacIntyre’s fact-value debate and introduce co-productive ethics. Moore’s organizational ethics will provide opportunity to explore how it might influence future services. Issues for ecclesiology and practical theology will be raised and opportunity provided for discussion. A key question is whether co-productive ethics is a valid construct.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Having returned to St John’s College, I am now in the fifth year of the DThM course. Having served as vicar and mental health chaplain, my grounded theory research explores closer working between faith communities and mental health services. The concept of co-productive ethics emerged from the study data. Most study participants drew from mental health services and faith communities what they needed. They suggested the division between mental health service and faith communities reflects MacIntyre’s fact-value divide. This led me to propose that agent-focused approaches to care are inadequate and potentially harmful. Participants considered both fact and value as essential to recovery and potentially critical friends. Co-productive ethics challenges narrow definitions of medical evidence and sets a new standard. Collaboration between service users, carers, and staff to co-create services has potentially very different outcomes. Austerity provides its own impetus. Co-productive ethics, rooted in grounded theory, challenges both churches and practical theological models.

I am currently working in Mersey Care as Specialist Chaplain (Research, Education, and Development). I am conducting a pilot study as part of an action research cycle into the impact of co production on spiritual and pastoral care (chaplaincy) services. Phase One used grounded theory to study what mental health service users wanted from chaplaincy. Significantly, it offered a novel understanding of spirituality, rooted in service users’ response to institutionalization. In Phase Two, we identified a baseline (conventional chaplaincy). The current mixed methods study (Phase Three) is considering issues standing in the way of conducting a clinical trial (Phase Four). This will evaluate co-produced chaplaincy. We hope the methodology and findings will lead to similar research in allied health professions. Working alongside a lived experience advisory panel, embeds co production within the research.

My MTh in Chaplaincy Studies dissertation used grounded theory to explore service user and staff opinions of spiritual assessment. I theorised that nurses experience a perfect storm that risks turning them into technicians and service users into data. I proposed a two-stage approach to assessing spiritual strengths and needs.

Also relevant to my work is the award-winning study day Mental Health: Challenge or Opportunity? Co-written with another mental health researcher (Emily Wood), this is undergoing its second academic evaluation and holds out the prospect of national rollout.

 

Monday, 16th April 2018SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Easter Term 2018

SEMINAR PROGRAMME – Easter Term 2018

These seminars are open to all staff and students of Durham University and to the general public. However, please be aware that they are aimed at a postgraduate level and are therefore especially suitable for MA, PhD and DThM students, as well as for others engaged in postgraduate study in relevant areas of enquiry.

 

If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please send an e-mail to Charidimos Koutris (charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk) in order to ensure that a place will be available for you.

 

Also feel free to visit the Durham University website to Subscribe to these seminars, download future seminars as an iCal calendar file or download the seminar programme in pdf format.

 

Thursday 26 April 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Co-productive Ethics: Bridging the Fact-Value Divide in Mental Health Service Provision
Seminar Room B (D/TH004)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Revd Julian Paul Raffay,
Specialist Chaplain (Research Education and Development), Spiritual and Pastoral Care Department, Mersey Care NHS Trust; PhD candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

 

Thursday 3 May 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Meets Albert Schweitzer: Can ‘Reverence for the Penultimate’ form a Christian Mandate for Church Involvement in 21st Century Healthcare?
Seminar Room B (D/TH004)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Robert M. Jaggs-Fowler,
Medical Director and Director of Primary Care, NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group; Ordinand; PhD candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

 

 

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