Shaping debate on religion in public life.

Author Archives: William Temple Foundation

About William Temple Foundation

The William Temple Foundation is a research and ideas hub, shaping the debate on religion in public life. Through research, teaching and training we connect academics, religious institutions and community activists. Working with faith-based and secular thinkers, we exist to promote the economic, social and political wellbeing of society.

Ryan Haecker Awarded Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome

Leave a Comment

The William Temple Foundation is delighted to announce that Dr Ryan Haecker, our Communications Officer and one of our Research Fellows, has been awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship in Ancient Studies by the American Academy in Rome. The award for the recipients of the 2023-24 Rome Prize was announced at the 2023 Rome Prize Ceremony, which was held at 6:30 pm (EST) on Monday 24 April 2023 in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, in New York City.

For the duration of the Rome Prize Fellowship, Ryan will prepare to publish in a new book series his doctoral dissertation ‘Restoring Reason: Theology of Logic in Origen of Alexandria‘. Origen of Alexandria (fl AD 184–253/4) has contributed the first Christian theology of logic. He has shown how logic is virtually ‘interwoven’ in and through all the philosophical sciences, and supremely through the mystical or ‘epoptic’ science of theology. Origen’s logic should thus be read as he reads and is himself read by a spiritual hermeneutic for a theological interpretation of logic, that is, a ‘theology of logic’.

In April 2022, Ryan was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Religious Studies in recognition of his dissertation Restoring Reason: Theology of Logic in Origen of Alexandria, which was composed at Peterhouse University of Cambridge under the supervision of Rt. Hon. and Rt. Rev’d. Rowan Williams. His research asks the absolute theological questions of the fundamental forms of logic and technology for modern theology.

He has previously studied history, philosophy, and theology at the University of Texas, the University of Würzburg, and the University of Nottingham. He has published over two dozen articles and he has presented over one hundred papers at conferences and symposia around the world. His research interests cover a broad spectrum of topics, including philosophical, systematic, and historical theology, focusing especially on figures in Platonism, Patristics, German Idealism, and modern theology. He is currently editing papers from the New Trinitarian Ontologies Conference, an international and ecumenical conference held at the University of Cambridge in 11-13 September 2019 and developing a hyperbolic reflection on the grammar of digital computers, and preparing the 12 June 2023 ‘Hyperdigital Designs‘ workshop, which is hosted by Cambridge Digital Humanities, and co-sponsored by the William Temple Foundation.

Share this page:

New Digital Learning Lead: Dr Katya Braginskaia

Leave a Comment

The William Temple Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Katya Braginskaia as our First Digital Learning Lead. Katya will lead on developing the Foundation’s many strands of publication and research into accredited learning opportunities in academic and other public life settings. She will also work as a Researcher attached to the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her research interests include comparative approaches to the study of multiculturalism, hospitality and integration, minority faith activism and representation of refugees and religious minorities in national/local settings.

Katya comes to us from the University of Bristol where she was awarded an Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and convened undergraduate courses on religion and politics. Her postdoctoral project, ‘Minority faith and civil society responses to refugee integration in Britain’ examined Muslim and Jewish initiatives to support newcomers in the context of government initiatives around community integration in England and Scotland (2018-2022).

Previous research includes Public Faith and Finance, and the AHRC-funded Connected Communities forum entitled Co-Creating Cities and Communities, focusing on co-creating flourishing cities, engaged citizens and sustainable urban environment. A series of case studies are published in the report on  Co-Creating Urban Living.

Katya’s PhD in Politics focussed on the role of the Muslim Councils in Britain and Russia at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. She published on Muslim umbrella organisations and British politics (1997-2013) and the place of Islam in Russia in comparative perspective.

She is the UK correspondent for EUREL network, an online portal providing information and news about religion and legal affairs in Europe.

Speaking about her new role, Katya says ‘“I am delighted to join the William Temple Foundation and look forward to building new partnerships and collaborations to develop an exciting programme of online courses and events on religion and belief in public life”  

Professor Chris Baker, Director of Research says, ‘We are delighted to welcome Katya to the Foundation. Religion and belief continue to play a key and sometimes contested role in public life, and she will help to ensure that our research and thinking reaches the widest number of audiences as possible’.

Share this page:

New Research Fellow: Dr Tim Middleton

Leave a Comment

The William Temple Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Tim Middleton as a Research Fellow. Tim brings a wealth of experience as a researcher and educator on the interface of theology with science and political philosophy, but with a particular focus on Christian ecotheology in the context of the current climate crisis.

Tim is currently a Junior Research Fellow in Religion and the Frontier Challenges at Pembroke College, Oxford and is a Research Affiliate at the Laudato Si’ Institute. In his current project, he is working on a ‘Theology after the Anthropocene’, examining how religious visions of the deep, planetary future intersect with long-term thinking about present-day ecological challenges. His initial training was in the sciences, and he also holds a doctorate in Earth Sciences, investigating earthquakes in northern China.

Within Oxford, Tim is part of an interdisciplinary research network investigating Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Science. He has served as Editor of the Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society and currently teaches at Pembroke College Oxford and as an Associate Tutor in Christian Doctrine at Ripon College Cuddesdon. Between 2018 and 2022, he worked as Communications Officer for the Foundation.

Dr Middleton says “Following on from my stint as Communications Officer, I’m delighted to be able to continue my connection to the Foundation as a Research Fellow. I’m especially excited about the chance to work with colleagues at the Foundation to bring pressing discussions in the field of Religion and Ecology to much wider audiences.”

In response Professor Chris Baker, Director of Research for the Foundation says. “We are thrilled and privileged to welcome Tim back to the Foundation in this new role. Tim will add his creativity and expertise to our cutting edge thinking on environmental and climate issues, and we look forward to practical partnerships in the future in taking these vital agendas forward in the next few years.”

Share this page:

New Senior Research Fellow: Revd Dr Carol Tomlin

Leave a Comment

The William Temple Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Revd Dr Carol Tomlin as a Senior Research Fellow. She brings a wealth of educational and theological expertise as both a leading academic in her field and as a faith leader and preacher.

Carol has a research background in Education and Sociolinguistics, with a special focus on African heritage students. She has won several awards, including the British Academy/ACU(Association of Commonwealth Universities)  scholarship and the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (UCET/AACT) scholarship. Recent publications include Language, Literacy and Pedagogy in Post-industrial Societies (2014) (with Dr Paul Mocombe)  and Understanding and Managing Sophisticated and Everyday Racism (2022) (with Dr Victoria Showunmi). She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds.

In addition, Carol is a practical theologian and homiletic scholar. Her book, Preach It: Understanding African Caribbean Preaching (2019) reached the finals of the 2021 Pneuma book award. She is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Alliance for Black Pentecostal Scholarship and the European Pentecostal Theological Association, as well as the Society for Pentecostal Studies and the Society for the Study of Theology. She is the founder and Principal of the Kingdom School of Theology, as well as a senior leader of Restoration Fellowship Ministries and former healthcare chaplain.

Dr Tomlin says:

“I am delighted to be a part of the legacy of William Temple, and I look forward to contributing to the outstanding work of the Foundation.”

Professor Chris Baker, Director of Research at the Foundation responds:

“It is a huge privilege to welcome a public theologian of Carol’s repute to the Foundation. Her energy and expertise will enhance the quality and profile of our work enormously as we strive to witness to the importance of racial and social justice in the UK and the equal flourishing and wellbeing of all across our society.”

Share this page:

In Grateful Memory of Queen Elizabeth II

Leave a Comment

It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of our monarch, Queen Elizabeth II after an extraordinarily long reign of 70 years in which she has exemplified the virtues of service, compassion and diplomatic leadership.

Her death comes at a particularly difficult time for our nation and the world, and her reassuring presence and stable commitment to live her life to the highest of standards has been a moral and spiritual anchor in both good and bad times. We salute her leadership on the world stage as head of the Commonwealth group of nations.

As an Anglican Foundation, we at the William Temple Foundation particularly pay tribute to her life of faith, prayer, service and leadership of the Church of England in her role as its Supreme Governor. In this role, she epitomised the qualities of tolerance and selfless service for the good of all that we aspire to represent as an English nation within the United Kingdom and the wider world.

The William Temple Foundations offer our thoughts and prayers for her peace and repose, the peace and wellbeing of her family, and our society at this sad and uncertain time.

Share this page:

New Research Fellow Appointed

Leave a Comment

We are delighted to announce Yasmin Khatun Dewan as our latest research fellow.

Yasmin joins our ever-increasing team of scholars and fellows, as the Foundation seeks to broaden its expertise and contribution to the debates surrounding the role of religion and belief in public life.

Yasmin is a journalist and broadcaster with a specialist focus on religion, fashion, sustainability and community related stories. She has been researching the intersection between hijab and identity over the last five years with her work as a William Temple Foundation scholar and now joins the Foundation as a Research Fellow. Her work has attained international recognition and acclaim with publications in The New York Times and The Guardian. Her documentary following from the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh was shortlisted for International Investigation of the Year at the AIB awards and was more recently shortlisted for report of the year at the Asian Media awards. She currently works for BBC News.

Director of Research Professor Chris Baker says, ‘We are thrilled and delighted to welcome Yasmin to the William Temple Foundation family. She is an upcoming voice in contemporary British Islam. Her journalistic and critical skills will bring into focus issues of identity, experience and justice for Muslim women and the wider community in the service of progressive social change and inclusion.’

Yasmin comments, ‘I’m incredibly excited to be joining the William Temple Foundation in this dynamic role as a Research Fellow, and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running by furthering conversations on these central themes in my work.’

You can read more about our Research Fellows and their work here. And you can follow Yasmin on Twitter at @Yasm1nK.

Share this page:

New Research Fellow Appointed

Leave a Comment

We welcome Dr Ryan Haecker as a new Research Fellow with the Foundation.

Ryan currently works as the Assistant Communications Officer at the Foundation, and he is a frequent contributor to the Foundation’s Ethical Futures project. He recently completed his PhD in Theology and Religoius Studies at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge under the supervision of Rowan Williams on trinitarian ontology and theological interpretations of logic in Origen of Alexandria. He has published over thirty articles, and presented over one hundred talks at conferences and symposia around the world.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ryan managed the publicity and social media for several academic conferences and symposia, including the international and ecumenical 2019 New Trinitarian Ontologies Conference held at the University of Cambridge. He has also worked for many years as a librarian, administrator, and private tutor. He previously studied history, philosophy, and theology at the University of Texas, the University of Würzburg, and the University of Nottingham. Ryan has hosted many public forums for the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, addressing themes such as proofs of the existence of God, angelology, and theological interpretations of computers. He has also been interviewed on key issues in theology by media outlets such as BBC Cambridgeshire and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Director of Research for the Foundation, Professor Chris Baker, says, ‘We are thrilled to welcome Dr Ryan Haecker as a Research Fellow. He brings a wealth of new and dynamic knowledge in Christian theology and philosophy, and he will facilitate exciting new networks of engagement for the Foundation.’

You can read more about our Research Fellows and their work here. And you can follow Ryan on Academia or on Twitter @RyanHaecker.

Share this page:

Staying with the Trouble 3.0: One Bishop, One City, One Hope

Leave a Comment

The William Temple Foundation, in partnership with Leeds Church Institute, is delighted to launch the latest series in our ground-breaking podcast Staying with the Trouble. The series will run for the next six weeks, starting 7th June, 2022.

Entitled Perspectives on Poverty and Exclusion in Leeds and produced by Rosie Dawson, the series is anchored by Bishop James Jones, Bishop Emeritus of Liverpool. Via six interviews with key actors across the city, Bishop Jones traces the impact of the current cost of living crisis on the lives of ordinary citizens, and the relationships and practices of solidarity, care, compassion and justice that emerge to provide resilience and hope to so many facing hardship and despair.

As Bishop Jones summarises, these relationships and networks reflect ‘an organic regeneration’ that cuts deeply across religious, secular, ideological, cultural and ethnic divides.

Director of Research for the Foundation, Professor Chris Baker reflects, ‘In this Platinum Jubilee Year, with its emphasis on theme of service as exemplified by Queen Elizabeth, this series really resonates as it shows how daily acts of service and sacrificial leadership build resilience and hope across our communities in the darkest of times.’

Dr Helen Reid, Director, Leeds Church Institute says, ‘I commend the podcast series to all who love Leeds and are troubled by inequality here. The podcasts combine personal experience and local perspectives with insight, hope and action for building a fairer city.’

For further information contact Dr Ryan Haecker:

Share this page:

Reflections on the 80th Anniversary Conference of Christianity and the Social Order

Leave a Comment

David Ormrod is Professor of Economic and Cultural History at University of Kent

My suggestion from the floor of the conference (sparked in part by several papers attempting to define the scope of Temple’s thinking for our current social order) was that we should recall the thinking of the Christian Left in the 1930s and 40s beside which Temple’s social thought can be seen in clearer perspective.  This is especially important today for those who deplore the inequalities created by the dismantling of the welfare state from the 1980s.  Although some in the conference and elsewhere see this as creating new opportunities for religious engagement, the former must view this state of affairs with alarm.

Christianity and Social Order opens with the clearest possible affirmation of the Church’s claim to be heard in relation to economic and political issues.  Its historical reference points come directly from Tawney, and Temple’s description of the nineteenth-century pioneers of the Christian social movement affirms their significance in recovering the Church’s moral authority and commitment to social justice, in retreat since the post-Restoration decades.  Since the late eighteenth century, urbanisation and industrialisation created conditions demanding social reform, but until the 1840s, the primary concern of reformers was still for individuals (pp. 1-10).

From the 1880s to 1945, we can identify a developing Christian and socialist convergence, and Temple’s contribution is best understood in this context.  In 1937, Clement Attlee wrote, ‘…probably the majority of those who have built up the socialist movement in this country have been adherents of the Christian religion – and not merely adherents, but enthusiastic members of some religious body.  There are probably more texts from the Bible enunciated from socialist platforms than from those of all other parties.’ The Malvern conference of 1941 marked the high point of these convergent forces, and as they have dissipated, something of an ethical void has opened up in our society. 

During the interwar years, more than a dozen Christian socialist societies and movements flourished in Britain, with the express purpose of exercising a prophetic and vanguardist role within the churches and in society at large.  We can identify two main tendencies within and amongst them.  The first, that of the majority, was represented by Temple and Tawney focusing on the idea of an ‘ethical state’.  The second and more radical approach, emerging during the late 1930s, was most cogently expressed by John Macmurray, deriving from his humanist-inclined philosophy and his encounter with the Marxist-inclined Christian Left and its publications. Victor Gollancz, John Lewis, Richard Acland, Stafford Cripps and John Collins played prominent roles.

The thought of the Christian Left developed at some distance from progressive Anglican social thought and its claims on a sense of British national identity.  The incarnational principle, in Temple’s case, led to a conservative view of the church: the visible church was seen as the preferred instrument for inaugurating the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the relationship between the established church and the state had a special significance since the nation state was also seen as a divinely established means of bringing forward the kingdom.  Hence the duties of Christian citizenship formed an important theme.  As John Kent has pointed out, this rested on an Aristotelian view of politics in which state and society were identical – the ‘oneness of the world within the city’s walls’, the polis.  For Temple, British national identity required a bonding religion, Anglicanism.  Tawney, however, was much less optimistic about the potentialities of the Church of England which, he felt, ‘remains a class institution, making respectful salaams to property and gentility, and with too little faith in its own creed to call a spade a spade in the vulgar manner of the New Testament.’

Macmurray and his circle envisaged a moral community which transcended the boundaries of the nation state and the churches.  Christian consciousness, he realised, was deeply embedded in society, extending well beyond the visible church.  Above all, it was expressed in personal relations: the nature and quality of personal relations was the touchstone of the ethical society.  By 1944, Temple saw the purpose of God as ‘the development of persons in community’, a formula very close to the former’s thinking.  Macmurray, in turn, moved closer to the earlier concerns of mainstream Christian socialism as he came to realise the full extent to which German fascism had succeeded in asserting a rational control of society as a whole.  Wartime debates within the Christian Left reflected a loss of faith in social systems which rested principally on rational planning and took a more humanistic turn.  By 1945, the moment had arrived to translate the consensus achieved at Malvern into a new kind of ethical state.

This is the second of two reflections on the 80th Anniversary Conference of Christianity and the Social Order

Share this page:

A Spiritual and Political Voice

Leave a Comment

80th Anniversary of the Enthronement of William Temple, Canterbury Cathedral Archive and the BBC Recordings from 23rd April 1942

Jeremy Carrette and Cressida Williams

Political statements by Archbishops of Canterbury have long resulted in debate about the relation of the church to politics and it seems appropriate, in the current context of the government response to Archbishop Justin Welby’s ethical concerns with government asylum plans, that we should recall the 80th anniversary of the enthronement of an archbishop that demonstrated a profound commitment to Christian ethical engagement in social and political issues. Archbishop William Temple was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on the festival of St. George on 23rd April 1942.

According to Dominic Bellinger and Stella Fletcher’s study of the history of archbishops, The Mitre and the Crown (Sutton Publishing, 2005, p.166), Archbishop William Temple was viewed as “probably the most actively political of the modern archbishops of Canterbury”. His active contribution to the creation of the welfare state, alongside William Beveridge, can be seen in his famous text Christianity and Social Order (1942), on which the Centre for Anglican History and Theology and the William Temple Foundation hosted a recent conference at Canterbury Cathedral, to reflect on its continuing importance 80 years on from its publication. Christianity and Social Order first appeared with William Temple named as Archbishop of York, but within months this successful text appeared with the new title of Archbishop of Canterbury. If Boris Johnson was concerned with his Archbishop’s political statements, Winston Churchill, as noted by various commentators, was not happy with the appointment of William Temple and his social agenda: see John Kent William Temple (Cambridge, 1992) and Stephen Spencer William Temple: A Calling to Prophecy (SPCK, 2001). However, as the letter recommendatory of George VI, written on the 1st April 1942, confirms, he was appointed as the ‘new primate of all England’. This official document, with its royal stamp, is held in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library (document CCA-DCc/SV1/1942/27) and reveals the importance of the Canterbury Cathedral archive for the key historical documents of William Temple’s enthonement and the events surrounding this historic moment.

While the official papers of William Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury are held at Lambeth Palace Library, alongside other papers deposited after his death by his widow Frances, the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library holds material relating to the translation of Temple to the See of Canterbury, to his formal election by the Greater Chapter of the Cathedral, to his enthronement, and to his funeral. There is also a set of manuscripts of sermons delivered at the Cathedral, and broadcast on radio, between Palm Sunday and Easter Day 1942, just after his appointment and just before his enthronement. These were presented by Frances Temple to the Cathedral. She notes in a covering letter how glad her late husband was “that the first time he spoke to the country on the radio after his appointment to Canterbury he should be speaking on a purely spiritual subject”. However, his Easter address of the 5th April 1942, revealed a spiritual message that would bridge the ethical life with the political. He stated in this address that the call to Easter was not a call to “easy assurance of enjoyment in a heaven of selfish happiness” but rather a place “where love and self-giving are made perfect”. Temple’s spirituality was one grounded in a vision of ethical and social concern, through overcoming the self-centred approach and building a life of loving and compassionate relation to the world.

The Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library also holds the old BBC recordings of the Enthronement, 10 x 78rpm disks (CCA-U202/2), now digitalised by the BBC. Listening to these recordings and viewing the Pathé film – an enthronement “filmed for the first time in history” – you are taken back to the particular historical context of an Archbishop appointed during the war. The commentary informs us the windows are boarded up and precious glass removed and stored away; the austerity of the war time ceremony is evident. We hear evocative descriptions of the statue of Frederick Temple, the 95th Archbishop of Canterbury, echoing the significance of William Temple as the first son of an Archbishop of Canterbury to be enthroned into the same position and become the 98th Archbishop of Canterbury. The listener is also struck by the powerful liturgical singing. Though there were some day choristers living locally in Canterbury who continued to sing throughout the war, the boy choristers were returned from evacuation in Cornwall for the Enthronement. (They would also be sadly returned for William Temple’s funeral a few years later in 1944.)

The BBC recordings of the Enthronement of William Temple presents the “main part of the ceremony and his Grace’s address which we (the BBC) had the privilege of recording for listeners at home and overseas”. It is significant that there were representatives of world churches, including the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches; William Temple worked tirelessly for ecumenical unity and his address also affirmed not only unity and fellowship of the Anglican Communion, but also recognised and valued “traditions other than our own”.

Along with the “Instrument of Proceedings”, a document made by the Notary Public to formally record the event in writing (also held in the Canterbury Cathedral Archive and Library, see CCA-DCc/SV1/1942/29), the eloquent descriptions of the BBC recording capture the moment of when Temple “moves down the crimson steps from the high-altar towards the [marble] episcopal throne” of St. Augustine, the first Archbishop in 597. After Archbishop Temple kisses the book of the gospels we listen to the making of the corporal oath. With the recorded crackling sounds of rumbling chairs and echoing coughs, we then hear how the Archdeacon takes the Archbishop by the hand and places him on the episcopal throne and he is “inducted, installed and enthroned” into the archbishopric.

Disks 6-8 of the BBC recording, record the Archbishop’s address. This was published in a 1944 collection of Temple’s addresses and talks, The Church Looks Forward (Macmillan, 1944), but the recording brings it alive, particularly the “few personal words” expressing his “sense of complete inadequacy” in following those he has known. Here he opens personal reflections on the Archbishops of Canterbury he knew in his life: Edward White Benson (“wise stateman and true priest”), his father Frederick Temple (“the chief inspiration of my life”), Randall Thomas Davidson (“a second father to me”) and his predecessor Cosmo Gordon Lang (“most wise elder counsellor and ever more intimate friend”). As he openly affirmed: “To follow such men is daunting”. But the force of the enthronement service as a “dedication of the Church, the nation and ourselves to the purpose of God” overcomes these feelings of inadequacy. It is that conviction that shapes the moment of the enthronement. Addressing a nation facing the horrors of war, he felt that St. George’s day was appropriate for the enthronement, because it held the sense of service and martyrdom in the national identity at a time of world war. He also spoke of the Church World Conferences (in Stockholm, Lausanne, Jerusalem, Oxford, Edinburgh, Madras and Amsterdam) carrying the ecumenical and social concerns of Christianity. The themes of peace, faith and unity and, above all, that ethical devotion to following the “purpose of God” framed the address. The address revealed the central focus of his work in bringing Christian principles to shape the national agenda. The enthronement of William Temple was recognition of his lifelong leadership in the church and his unique ability to bring a spiritual and political voice into the world.

80 years after the BBC recorded the events of William Temple’s enthronement, it is striking that the Research Director of the William Temple Foundation, Professor Chris Baker, was asked to comment on BBC World News about the response to Justin Welby’s challenge to government and explain why Temple is relevant to this discussion. Professor Baker explained that for Temple it was “the duty of the church to shape society, and the way society thinks, in accordance with the principles of God”. Temple shows how the spiritual and political are joined together. The grand ritual of Temple’s enthronement and his Holy Week addresses, preserved in Canterbury Cathedral Archive and Library, signal how Temple’s vision roots his normative Christian ethical values in the theological purpose of God. It provides a moral dimension beyond history to ground the interventions and actions within in human life. The 80th anniversary of William Temple’s enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury is an historical event that is not only wonderfully preserved in word, sound and image, but one that continues to demonstrate the importance of uniting the spiritual and political in the face of the challenges of war and social injustice.  

Share this page: