Birmingham University lights up red for the persecuted

Lord Alton renewed his leadership of the national community working to mitigate abuses on the grounds of freedom and belief this week. It was wonderful to see his old friends Baroness Patricia Scotland (Commonwealth Secretary General), and Archbishop Justin Welby on board to support the initiative and significant swathes of the English North West rise … Continue reading “Birmingham University lights up red for the persecuted”

Insights from the Megachurches and Social Engagement Conference in London

The conference was held at the Royal Geographical Society in London and welcomed delegates from a variety of academic institutions and third sector organisations with an interest in research on faith and society. The day began with introductory address from Dr Andrew Davies, principal investigator on the project, followed by a keynote presentation from Professor … Continue reading “Insights from the Megachurches and Social Engagement Conference in London”

What good are London’s megachurches?

The Church of England’s most recent annual analysis of their core datasets, ‘Statistics for Mission’, published last week, makes for disappointing reading, but won’t surprise anyone who follows such measures, evidencing nationally as they do a shrinking and aging congregation, with the ‘most key measures of attendance’ falling by ‘between 10% and 15% over the … Continue reading “What good are London’s megachurches?”

Expect some religion-friendly reforms from Theresa May and her gifted advisers

Long before Theresa May reached Number 10, many had noticed her affinity for religious communities. Throughout the Coalition years she was an assiduous visitor of the parishes in her own constituency, perhaps inspired by her devout Anglo-Catholic father who – according to Giles Fraser – named her after St Teresa of Avila. Later, as a … Continue reading “Expect some religion-friendly reforms from Theresa May and her gifted advisers”

Stewart highlights the strengths of polymaths in politics

So rare a species are polymaths as politicians these days that one of the striking features of almost any article about Rory Stewart makes a nod to his T.E. Lawrence-like CV, the chances that he might have leapt from the pages of a John Buchan novel, or even that he ‘must be from another age’. … Continue reading “Stewart highlights the strengths of polymaths in politics”

Theresa May: beyond the metropolitan bubble

Understanding how and why policy makers imagine and express their political positioning, narratives, and delivery is one of the great fascinations of political science and a vital matter for those seeking to tease out the future trajectories of governments. For Attlee and Beveridge exposure through Toynbee Hall to London’s East End was crucially formative. The … Continue reading “Theresa May: beyond the metropolitan bubble”

The existential war between Islamic State and secular France

The killing of a priest during morning mass at a Catholic church near Rouen on July 26 has sent new shock waves through France – a country which prides itself on its secularism, but in which religion still plays a large part in many communities. The rapid succession of attacks on French soil claimed by … Continue reading “The existential war between Islamic State and secular France”

Christians and Persecution in the West

I want to tackle a rather contentious but to me highly significant issue for British Christianity recently – the issue of the alleged persecution of the church in the West. Let me first go on the record as saying that I find it deeply and sharply offensive that the Western church can even begin to compare the occasional … Continue reading “Christians and Persecution in the West”