Projects involving members of the Research Group in Theology, Religion and Practice

Catholic Marriage Care Ltd: a characteristically Catholic mission in a context of social diversity and contention?

Catholic Marriage Care Ltd: a characteristically Catholic mission in a context of social diversity and contention?Awarded £46,000 funding by Plater Trust the academic team, led by Dr. Clare Watkins, from the Ministerial Theology programme, along with Dr. John Moxon and Dr. Martine Thompson (Research Assistant) will work in collaboration with the charity Catholic Marriage Care to investigate couples’ and practitioners’ experience of marriage preparation courses provided by Marriage Care as a way of discovering more about what the Catholic ethos of the charity contributes to this work.

The project will look into how Marriage Care’s approach to marriage preparation helps couples understand what the Church teaches about marriage and family life and learn the skills and behaviours needed to build a healthy, lifelong relationship. Recognising the radical shift in culture over recent generations in relation to marriage and relationship, vividly illustrated in the debates around the legal developments of same sex marriage and adoption of children by same sex couples, and the increasing practices of co-habitation, divorce and ‘blended families’, the research sets out to help the charity seek to understand better its mission as a characteristically Catholic charity in a context of such- social diversity and contention.

In order to do this Dr. Watkins, Dr. Moxon, Dr. Thompson and the Marriage Care team, working with a variety of experts, will employ Theological Action Research methods, comprising of the carrying out of interviews among significant parties to evoke articulation of the 'real experiences and practices' of Marriage Care's marriage preparation course. It will investigate how Catholic approaches to right relationship, marriage, family and society are communicated through the preparation process for both Catholics and non-Catholics in this course. By locating these reflections in the context of Catholic Social Teaching, the research will shed new light on the work of the charity in the alleviation of ‘relationship poverty’ in our society.

Forthcoming events on Roehampton’s Marriage Care project include a 1-day workshop for reflectors involved on the project on Monday 30th November 2015 and the project will end with a colloquium for involved parties and other interested (by invitation). Dates to be confirmed.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the project, occasional updates will be posted on this site and sent to those who select to be on our mailing list. If you are interested in joining this please contact Dr. Thompson. Here you can download an information sheet about the project.

The project will run from 1st September 2015 to 31st August 2016.

Being Built Together project (black majority churches in Southwark)

This Research Project Report was launched in June 2013. It began in response to the fact that Black Majority churches have grown rapidly in the last few decades, and many church leaders have been saying they want to understand more about them. The Being Built Together project focussed on the Borough of Southwark in South London, where there is a particularly high concentration of new Black Majority churches (nBMCs). Being Built Together was concerned with the demographics and ecclesiology of nBMCs.

Signs of Wonder: Iconography and Aesthetics of new Black Majority Churches in the London Borough of Southwark

Andrew Rogers PI, Richard Burgess CI, Mark Minott,  postdoctoral fieldworker (funded by Southlands Methodist Trust)

Religious Meeting Places in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Andrew Rogers, academic consultant.

This project contributed a key report to the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, presenting recommendations regarding the needs of faith groups in the borough. The report has been published as part of the Local Plan Review, a document setting out what Barking and Dagenham will look like in 2030 and the policies that will deliver this vision. 

The report is entitled Faith Groups and Meeting Places. The council commissioned this study to plan future development needs more effectively. It provides an evidence base that can be used to produce planning policy and implement developments with a better understanding of faith groups and their needs, and also provides a foundation for improved communication and closer cooperation between the council and faith groups.

Faith and Place

Faith and Place network aims to bring together academics, faith group representatives, policy makers, planners, professional bodies and charitable organisations in order to explore the critical issues surrounding places of worship in relation to planning policy. The first event of this Arts and Humanities Research Council network spanning the period September 2014 to August 2015 had a particular focus on the tensions that arise between planning priorities and the needs and practices of minority faith groups.

Research projects and reports have been accumulating in recent years on the theme of faith, place and planning. Religious demographic change, migration, and societal perspectives on the religious ‘other’ have meant that some or all of planning guidance, policy, and practice has become constraining for many new faith groups looking to establish a place of worship. The Faith and Place network is therefore timely in bringing together representatives of the five interested parties for the first time.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr Andrew Rogers (Practical Theology, University of Roehampton)
  • Co-Investigator: Dr Richard Gale (Planning and Geography, Cardiff University)