Theology for a Learning Church: Christian Education, Lay Formation and the Language of ‘Discipleship’.
In the second annual David Goodbourn lecture, Professor Elaine Graham, Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology, University of Chester, explored the perennial tension between Christian education for the ‘gathered’ and ‘scattered’ church, and considered what patterns of learning and formation are best suited for the challenges facing the Church in the world today. You can watch the whole lecture above.
David Goodbourn, a former general secretary of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland, and the first full-time president at Luther King House (LKH), was in favour of providing theological education ecumenically and collaboratively and argued in his writings that this enabled new and innovative approaches to flourish.
In this lecture, Professor Graham argues that there is a three-fold connection between ecumenism, life of the Church and the liberation of the laity which correspond to an understanding of the Church as the people of God participating in the mission of God.
But there are challenges to adopting this approach. In an article published in 2012, David Goodbourn surveyed the state of adult theological education, commenting ‘those who join lay formation schemes come increasingly to see their own ministries in terms of church-based roles.’ Recent work on ‘lay leadership’ and ‘discipleship’ within the Church of England notes a similar challenge, of ‘setting God’s people free’ from clericalism in order to exercise a wider ministry as the Church in the world.
The 2018 David Goodbourn lecture followed Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on 9 May 2018. The lecture was organised by the Centre for Theology and Justice, a partnership of Christian Aid, Church Action on Poverty, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Luther King House, Manchester.