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The Global Christianity Programme builds on the long engagement with Mission Studies and World Church Partnerships based in Birmingham, chiefly through the Selly Oak Colleges. Our priority is to work with scholars and researchers from the world Church to learn from and with them in a spirit of mutual encounter and engagement. Their presence in our community is enriching for all, but especially for those who are preparing for ministry in Britain as their horizons are enlarged. The relationships and partnerships formed open opportunities for placements for ministerial candidates in other parts of the world to enable them to be shaped and re-shaped for mission and ministry in a global Church (for more information see the MEET programme).
The primary aim of the global Christianity programme is to nurture and equip theological educators and church leaders through an innovative, contextual and high-quality PhD programme. Working with sponsors and world church partner bodies in the UK we will prioritise partnerships with Methodist and Anglican seminaries and Churches in settings where opportunity for doctoral study is limited. The programme is committed to supporting women scholars.
The programme combines the strengths of two faculties: the Queen’s Foundation and its wider team of honorary research fellows; and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), with whom Queen’s is in a research partnership, whose faculty of Religion and Theology in 2018 was ranked 5th in the world in quality.
The programme provides a full scholarship for a full time, split location PhD. This means that researcher remains for most of the year rooted in their home context so their research is contextual, enabling indigenous theologies to develop in dialogue with global theologies. Each year for several months the researcher will come to Queen’s, to join with their cohort of researchers from other parts of the world church, to engage in shared learning and research. In this way we will build a robust, diverse and mutually supportive cohort of doctoral researchers which overcomes the isolation faced by many PhD researchers and which provides the research culture they need to flourish.
Being released for full time study but remaining in their local context means that the student can focus all their energy and attention on their research, and are not separated for long periods of time from family and support networks. This minimises the culture shock experienced by many students who come to the UK to study full time and reduces the risk of ‘brain drain’ when scholars don’t return to their home context after study. When in the local context the researcher is supported by regular online (Skype) supervision by their supervisory team, and by shared online seminars and other research events. A local mentor is appointed to provide further support.
We know that entry into doctoral research is demanding, so this programme provides intensive support in the first year of study to develop the critical, evaluative, methodological skills and theological knowledge required by researchers. English language support is provided to focus on academic English for writing and reading, so that the first year of study is a comprehensive programme enabling students to develop a proposal with rigour and confidence.
The programme will support theological educators and church leaders, and strengthen local theologies, by providing opportunities for developing good practice as theological educators, skills of presentation and writing that increases confidence in disseminating research findings. We plan to engage a team of consultants who would be leading scholars from across the globe to participate in the virtual research seminars.
If you are a Principal of a seminary or a Church leader who wishes to find out more about this programme and the opportunities for partnership contact David Hewlett