Learning in Today’s Churches: ‘Deep Conversation’ an Formation in Ordinary

RGTRP, Adam Room, Grove House

Image - Learning in Today’s Churches: ‘Deep Conversation’ an Formation in Ordinary

Speaker: Dr Clare Watkins (University of Roehampton)
Time: 11.30 am - 12.45 pm

This paper begins with a brief account of some findings from an on-going theological action research project looking at learning and community in contemporary British Methodism. In particular, this research has highlighted both the ecclesial commitment to learning and formation as the facilitation of discipleship, and, at the same time, the limitations of approaches which involve courses, formal learning and church-based activities. Rather, lay formation - ‘formation in ordinary’ - is typified by what one research participant referred to as ‘deep conversations’. The challenge then becomes, how are such deep conversations to be facilitated, and what theological account is to be given them? Form this starting place in practice the argument moves first to a deepened theological sense of these deep conversations as sites Christian formation, drawing on both normative and academic sources, before exploring what practical responses might be theologically and empirically appropriate to this insight. The paper ends by raising questions concerning the implications of such a pedagogy in ordinary for the wider life and patterning of church life today in our context.

Clare Watkins is Reader in Ecclesiology and Practical Theology at Roehampton, a co-originator of theological action research and Director of the Theology and Action Research Network (TARN – www.theologyandactionresearch.net). Her forthcoming book, Disclosing Church: An Ecclesiology Learnt from Conversations in Practice (Routledge), offers a deepened account of theological action research methods and methodology, and demonstrates how a theology of church can be re-construed from the voices and learning of faith in practices in the world. As a Catholic lay woman theologian her work has consistently focused on embodied practices of faith – whether ecclesial and sacramental, or, more recently, practices of faith in the ‘secular’ places of home, family, work, and social action.

We are very grateful to The Susanna Wesley Foundation for sponsoring a series in the 2019/20 programme on the theme of 'formation'. 

Click here for the full RGTRP seminar programme for 2019/20.