Revd Dr Al Barrett

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Job Title

Rector, Hodge Hill Church (CofE, Birmingham)







I’m currently full-time parish priest in Hodge Hill, a multicultural suburban and outer estate parish on the eastern edge of Birmingham. Since 2010, I’ve been involved especially with my neighbours on the Firs and Bromford estate, growing community in our neighbourhood. The experience here has both shaped my PhD research, and a developing role engaging with the wider church (and also non-church networks and organisations) around practical, political and theological questions of mission, community-building, power and justice.


PhD (cum laude)


VU University of Amsterdam

MA (Applied Theological Studies)


University of Birmingham

BD (Theology)


University of Birmingham

MA (Maths & Astrophysics)


University of Cambridge


I have been an ordained priest in the Church of England since 2001, and have worked in 3 different parishes in the Diocese of Birmingham, with a growing focus on outer estate and multi-faith contexts.

I have taught a number of one-off sessions at Queen’s, on faith-based community development, and fatherhood and gender. I have contributed to the public/political theology post-graduate module at VU Amsterdam. I have also led training days for clergy and community workers, in various CofE dioceses and for other church-rooted networks, around faith-based community development and mission.

I am currently co-ordinating a small national research project with Bishop Philip North, pairing outer estates clergy with professional academic theologians, listening to local residents on outer estates and developing some theological themes from that listening.

I am a Director of Open Door Community Foundation, a small grassroots charity focused on community-building in our local neighbourhood. I am also co-convenor of the Common Ground Community, a small missional community (with both residential and non-residential members) rooted in Hodge Hill.

Research Interests and Supervision

My research interests have grown out of my ministerial practice and experience as a local resident on an outer estate: an inter-related combination of missiology, ecclesiology, political theology and community development, with a particular attention to dynamics of gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and forms of colonialism. I also have long-standing interests in feminist christology, child theology, and creative forms of liturgy.

I am interested in supervising research up to doctoral level, across the research interests mentioned above.


Chapters and journal articles

‘When political theology takes an ecclesial turn, who is left out in the cold? Revisiting Manchester’s Oxford Road with Graham Ward’, in Charles Pemberton (ed.), Theology and Civil Society (London: Routledge, 2018).

‘Where’s the passion? Christological reflections on mission in the margins’, ANVIL: Journal of Theology and Mission 33:3 (2017), 4-10,

‘Community Building as Spiritual Practice’, Journal of Missional Practice (Winter 2015),

In Persona Christae: Towards a feminist political Christ-( )-logy of presiding; or, how presiding with children trains us to challenge “the powers that be”’, in Nicola Slee & Stephen Burns (eds.), Presiding Like a Woman (London: SPCK, 2010), 166-77.

‘“You Have Anointed Us”: De-centring Good Friday from the Edges of Holy Week’, in Stephen Burns, Nicola Slee & Michael N. Jagessar (eds.), The Edge of God: New Liturgical Texts and Contexts in Conversation (London: Epworth, 2008), 153-70.

‘“Find a Space”: Theodramatic Hermeneutics in Church and World’, Modern Believing 43:4 (2002), 32-39.

‘“God’s in the singing”: Speaking of God and the Worshipping Self’, Modern Believing 43:3 (2002), 21-29.


‘Interrupting the church’s flow: engaging Graham Ward and Romand Coles in a radically receptive political theology in the urban margins’, (Amsterdam: VU University of Amsterdam, 2017),

Asset-Based Community Development: A Theological Reflection (London: Church Urban Fund, 2013),