Professor Peter Kevern

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Peter Kevern

Job Title

Associate Professor in Values in Care


You can find me on, Researchgate and LinkedIn

My adult life has had three stages so far. For about 13 years I was a Franciscan Brother in the UK and Papua New Guinea. This was followed by marriage, study and 11 years training others for Christian Ministry: for nine of those I was Director of Studies at Queen’s. Most recently, I moved to the School of Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University, where I’ve been for the last 7 years. Currently I divide my time about equally between research, academic leadership and teaching. I  have a special interest in ethics, spiritual care, health policy and the relationship between faith communities and healthcare providers.





PhD Theology






BSc (Biology)


East Anglia

Roles and responsibilities

I have taught across a whole range of Christian theology, but particularly doctrine and philosophical theology. Currently most of my teaching is in Ethics and Research Methods, with excursions into Risk & Decision Making, Health Policy and Statistical Analysis. However, most of my teaching effort goes into supervising students through the dissertation for Master’s degrees, Professional Doctorates and PhDs.

I was a Franciscan Brother (First Order SSF) for 13 years, within the Anglican Communion. I currently identify myself as a Roman Catholic.

On the editorial board of Journal for the Study of Spirituality.

Research interests and supervision

After my mum’s protracted illness and suffering with dementia, (which ended with her death some 12 years ago) I started to think and write around the subject in order to put my own questions into some kind of order. The heart of my work continues to be concerned with the theological and philosophical challenges that dementia presents to us as individuals, as a church and as a society:  for example, the emphasis on cognitively ‘hearing, understanding and responding to the Gospel as the road to salvation’ in some theological traditions; and the way in which, as a society, we fear the loss of self-awareness and social function as forms of death.

In addition to this focal area of research, my explorations have broadened out in recent years to three other main areas. The first of these is the potential for religious communities to work with public bodies in order to build up the physical, psychological and spiritual health of the communities in which they are found. The second is the potential of some new theories and experimental findings in evolutionary anthropology and psychology to explain why our ‘religious intuitions’ take the form they do, and how they are related to our communal religious creeds, practices and ethics. Finally, I research and write on health care chaplaincy and in particular the experimental model of Primary Care Chaplaincy being developed across Birmingham and Sandwell NHS.

I have supervised research projects at undergraduate, Masters , MPhil, Professional Doctorate and PhD. I am currently supervising two PhD and two Professional Doctorate students.

I am interested in supervising projects in my research areas which draw on empirical ‘real-world’ data and place it in a critical conversation with key theological themes. I am particularly interested in projects which reflect upon religious aspects of healthcare delivery in the UK and Europe.



  • Kevern, P and Gooder, P (2004) Exploring New Testament Greek: a way in London: SPCK

Articles / chapters

  • Edwards, M and Kevern, P (2016) The role and impact of Recommendations from NHS inquiries: a critical discourse analysis New Writing in Health and Social Care 2(2) 1-11
  • Kevern, P (2016) Spiritual Care as a response to an exaptation: how evolutionary psychology informs the debate. Nursing Philosophy (epub prior to publication)
  • McSherry, W; Boughey, A; and Kevern, P (2016) Chaplains for wellbeing in primary care: A qualitative investigation of their perceived impact for patients’ health and wellbeing. Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy (in press: epub 1-20)
  • Kevern, P and Ladbury, I (2015) The resource implications of the Sandwell 'Chaplains for Wellbeing' service: a data analysis. New Writing in Health and Social Care 2(1) 47-54
  • Hattink, B; Meiland, F; van der Roest, H; Kevern, P; Abiuso, F; Bengtsson, J; Giuliano, A; Duca, A; Sanders, J; Basnett, F; Nugent, C; Kingston, P; Droes, R (2015) Web-Based STAR E-Learning Course Increases Empathy and Understanding in Dementia Caregivers: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Journal of Medical Internet Research 17(10):e241
  • Kevern, P. (2015) The spirituality of people with late-stage dementia: a review of the research literature, a critical analysis and some implications for person-centred spirituality and dementia care. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 18(9), 765-776
  • Kevern, P and McSherry, W (2015) Chapter 3: ‘The Study of Chaplaincy: methods and materials’ in Christopher Swift, Mark Cobb and Andrew Todd (ed) Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: understanding spiritual care in public places London: Ashgate
  • Bolstridge, F and Kevern, P (2015) Who chooses ‘Choose and Book’ for Orthopaedic referrals? Analysis of data from one GP practice. New Writing in Health and Social Care 1:2, 1-8
  • Kevern, P and Sanders, J (2015) ‘Death-confident congregations’? Lessons from the GraveTalk Pilot. New Writing in Health and Social Care 1:2, 21-30
  • Lewinson, L, Kevern, P and McSherry, W (2015) Spirituality in pre-registration nurse education and practice: A literature review Nurse Education Today 35(6), 806-814
  • Evans, C and Kevern, P (2015) Liminality in preregistration mental health nurse education: a review of the literature. Nurse Education in Practice 15, 1-6
  • Kevern, P and Hill, L (2015) ‘Chaplains for Wellbeing’ in Primary Care: results of a retrospective study. Primary Healthcare Research and Development 16 (1) 87-99.
  • Kevern, P (2014) Learning from our neighbours. A case study Nursing and Residential Care 16:11, 638-640
  • Regan, J.L.; Bhattacharyya, S.; Kevern, P. & Rana, T. (2013) A Systematic Review of Religion and Pathways to Dementia Care in Black and Minority Ethnic Populations. Journal of Mental Health, Religion and Culture 16 (1), 1-15
  • Kevern, P and Walker, M (2013) Religious Communities: what can they offer? Journal of Dementia Care 21(4) 26-28
  • Kevern, P (2013) Can Cognitive Science Rescue Spiritual Care from a Metaphysical Backwater? An Argument for More Theory Journal for the Study of Spirituality 3(1) 8-17
  • Haroon-Iqbal, H and Kevern, P (2013) The changing spirituality of Muslim dying in the United Kingdom: a personal and communal journey in Peter Gilbert, ed. Spirituality and End of Life Care London: Pavilion
  • Walsh, J., Kevern, P., & McSherry, W. (2013). The representation of service users’ religious and spiritual concerns in care plans. Journal of Public Mental Health, 12(3), 153-164.
  • Barber, C, and Kevern, P (2012) Spirituality and the needs of those with Autistic Spectrum Conditions: some implications for ‘Spiritual Care’ policies Journal for the Study of Spirituality 1(2) 203-14
  • Kevern, P (2012) Who can give spiritual care? A consideration of the ethics of discussing spiritual values with patients. Journal of Nursing Management 20(8):981-9.
  • Kevern, P (2012) Community without memory. In search of an ecclesiology of liberation in the company of people with dementia International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 12(1) 44-54
  • Kevern, P (2012) In search of a theoretical basis for understanding religious coping: initial testing of an explanatory model Journal of Mental Health, Religion and Culture 15(1) 23-37
  • Kevern, P (2011) “I pray that I will not fall over the edge” What is left of faith after dementia? Practical Theology 4(3) 283-94
  • Kevern, P (2010) What sort of God is to be found in dementia? A survey of theological responses and an agenda for their development Theology CXVIII (873) 174-82
  • Kevern, P (2010) Can reductionists be chaplains too? Reflections on the emptiness of ‘spirituality’ Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy 13(2) 2-6
  • Kevern, P (2010) Sharing the mind of Christ: preliminary thoughts on dementia and the cross New Blackfriars 91(1034) 408-22
  • Kevern, P (2010) Alzheimer’s and the dementia of God International Journal of Public Theology 4(2) 237-53
  • Kevern, P (2009) The grace of foolishness: what dementing Christians bring to the churches Practical Theology 2(2) 205-18
  • Kevern, P (2008) ‘Translation Theory’ in P. Gooder (ed) Searching for Meaning: an introduction to interpreting the New Testament London: SPCK
  • Kevern, P (2004) No Other Gods Before Me? A dialogue with St Thomas Aquinas on the possibility of a Christian Polytheism New Blackfriars 85(997) 341-350
  • Kevern, P (2002) “My Beloved is Mine and I am His”: non-commensurable giving as a metaphor for divine-human relationship New Blackfriars 83(982) 574-83
  • Kevern, P (2000) Hearing the voice of the particular in ecumenical discourse One in Christ 36(1) 25-33