From 2006 to 2011 researchers at Heythrop College and the Oxford Centre for ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT, Ripon College Cuddesdon) worked on a theological and action research project: "Action Research – Church and Society (ARCS). 2010 saw the publication of Talking About God in Practice: Theological Action research and Practical Theology (SCM), which presented in an accessible way the work of ARCS and its developing methodology. This turned out to be a landmark study in the praxis of Anglican and Catholic ecclesiology in the UK, showing how theology in these differing contexts interacted with the way in which clergy and congregations lived out their religious convictions. This book is a direct follow up to that significant work, authored by one of the original researchers, providing a systematic analysis of the impact of the "theological action research" methodology and its implications for a contemporary ecclesiology.

The book presents an ecclesiology generated from church practice, drawing on scholarship in the field as well as the results of the theological action research undertaken. It achieves this by including real scenarios alongside the academic discourse. This combination allows the author to tease out the complex relationship between the theory and the reality of church.

Addressing the need for a more developed theological and methodological account of the ARCS project, this is a book that will be of interest to scholars interested not only Western lived religion, but ecclesiology and theology more generally too.

chapter 1|14 pages

Disclosing church

Attending to people, attending to the Spirit

part I|39 pages

The project

chapter 2|11 pages

The ARCS project

Reflections on a research community and its practices

chapter 3|11 pages

Theological action research

chapter 4|15 pages

Theology in four voices

part II|51 pages

Contextual themes

chapter |14 pages

Account of practice A

London Jesuit Volunteers

chapter 5|11 pages

The geographical context

London, the global city

chapter |12 pages

Account of practice B

Westminster Agency for Evangelisation

chapter 6|12 pages

The organisational contexts

Dioceses, parishes and faith-based agencies

part III|119 pages

Ecclesiological themes

chapter |11 pages

Account of practice C

St. Mary’s Parish, Battersea, Alpha course

chapter 7|12 pages

Church in mission

Learning ecclesial ek-centricity

chapter |15 pages

Account of practice D

Messy Church, Croydon

chapter 8|11 pages

Identifying church

Edginess and edgeless-ness

chapter |11 pages

Account of practice E

Housing Justice

chapter 9|11 pages

Sacrament and sacramentality

Celebrating the peri-liturgical sacramental 1

chapter |12 pages

Account of practice F

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth

chapter 10|11 pages

Orders and ordering

Life together in the power of the Spirit

chapter |12 pages

Account of practice G

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)

chapter 11|11 pages


Normativity, creativity and faithful treachery

part IV|26 pages