Scholarships

For the fist time scholarships have been awarded for the academic year starting in September/October 2016.  Please see below more information about the successful applicants:

ENYA DOYLE 

PhD – Music and Theology, St John’s College, Durham University.

£10,000 per year for up to 3 years.

“The place of women in Cathedral music-making in the Church of England”.

“I am not in the business of wanting to offend anyone, but I do want to gently challenge people”. These words from Rt Rev Rachel Treweek before she was introduced as the first female Lords Spiritual last year provide guidance for this PhD thesis which will explore the increasing inclusion of women and girls in musical leadership in British Cathedrals.  By focusing on the place of women and girls in education, management, performance, and liturgical direction, this project will try to answer questions such as “what are the barriers that women and girls face in this environment?” “How is the Church coping with the changes?” and “What might the future hold for musical women in the Church of England?”

By exploring how the introduction of women challenges the boundaries of official and valid worship, and by questioning patterns of theology that have been used to justify past male dominance and female subordination in Anglican Cathedrals, this project will acknowledge religion as a vehicle through which tradition can be overthrown, and refocus the place of musical women in the Cathedral setting.  There will also be a case study element involving choirs in various cathedrals, including those in which women and girls have come to play a prominent role (Durham, Ely & Wells) and institutions that are still dominated by men and boys (St Paul’s, London).

Enya Photo

BEN THOMPSON 

PhD in Old Testament Theology exploring the themes of pride and humility in the Old Testament, Queens University, Belfast.

£10,000 per year for up to 3 years.

I am an ordained priest in the Church of England and was identified as a Potential Theological Educator during selection and training.  This provided funding for an MTh focussing on Old Testament Theology. I have come to the point where I believe that my ministerial vocation within the Church of England should involve a role as a Theological Educator with a particular focus on Old Testament studies, or more widely Biblical Studies and Biblical Theology. I have been persuaded that my academic and teaching gifts combined with my pastoral experience and gifts place a calling upon me to serve the Church through theological education.

I have chosen a topic for doctoral research which I believe will develop a breadth of skills and expertise suited to the role of a theological educator. The research will strengthen competencies in exegesis, in the original languages and in biblical theology, which are essential to helping the next generation correctly exegete the Scriptures. It will also likely lead to a deep reflection on the themes of pride and humility and their intersection with the issue of leadership which will have a significant impact on pastoral and ministerial theology.

I strongly believe that theological education is best done by those with ministerial experience and giftings, to ensure that the education is grounded in the reality of the contemporary world, and is delivered in a holistic, formative way.  My hope is therefore that I will be able to study part time alongside a continuing pioneer minister role,

Conversations with a range of people involved in pastoral ministry and theological education have highlighted that there is currently a real lack of pastoral training biblical scholars. There is a danger that at a time of growing biblical illiteracy and a societal rejection of Christendom, the Church may fail to have sufficient theological educators who can take on the responsibility of teaching and training church in the Scriptures to ensure that the increasingly complex pastoral and missional challenges we face are addressed with the theological resources given to us in Scripture. This qualification will immediately enable me to step into such a role.

Ben photo with kids

TIM MIDDLETON

Postgraduate Diploma in Theology, University of Oxford (Harris Manchester College).

£10,000 for one academic year (from October 2016).

I initially read natural sciences at university and I have spent the last few years researching earthquakes in northern China. However, whilst studying science, I found that many of the metaphysical and existential questions I increasingly want to ask about the world—questions about truth, beauty, value, purpose, and the divine—are best explored not by scientists but by theologians.

Over recent years I have also been considering my vocation, including discussions with the clergy at my church and my college chaplain, and I have felt increasingly called to teaching – especially in higher education. In particular, I hope that in the future I might be able to lecture and tutor theology at a university or theological college.

In the long term my goal is to pursue an academic career at the interface between science and theology. In a world where utilitarian reasoning often dominates, a Christian theological outlook could provide an alternative purposive context for scientific endeavour: research on combating climate change, fighting disease, or developing artificial intelligence is arguably best thought about within the framework of a Christian vision of society.

The Postgraduate Diploma is an intensive taught course for people from other disciplines who want to pursue graduate study in theology. I intend to take papers in patristics, as well as modern theology and doctrine. The course also allows students to submit an extended essay in lieu of one of their papers. For this essay I would like to work on how various twentieth century theologians have viewed the role and purpose of science.

Tim Photo

DANIEL DENNIS

PhD in Education, The University of Cambridge

£5,000 per year for up to 3 years.

Teachers of Religious Education deal with a myriad of sacred texts. As a result they are responsible for the difficult task of developing an understanding of what makes a valid hermeneutic position from which textual information can be engaged with and, within the students, become knowledge and understanding. There is, however, little existing research into the process of thinking which leads teachers to decide either on an appropriate hermeneutical stance (in relation to the text itself) or an appropriate mode for students to engage with it. As a result, students from both faith and non-faith schools often emerge from their studies with disorganised ideas about what religions actually teach.

To my mind, such a problem is rooted in the lack of clarity associated with the epistemic status of RE: the confusion of teachers in both faith and non-faith schools as to the nature of RE specific knowledge inhibits their ability to address questions of pedagogy with authority. The aim of my research, then, is to examine ways in which the religious “other” to promote the turning of RE-information into knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices, both those pertinent to the students’ own faith and the faith of the religious “other”.