Shaping debate on religion in public life.

Religion and Civil Society

Our research contributes towards progressive, practical changes in church and faith communities, public policy and academia. Following the visionary thinking and social concerns of Archbishop William Temple, our research promotes economic, social and political wellbeing.


The Foundation was one of the first organisations to realise the importance of debates concerning the role and identity of religion in public life back in the early 2000s. Our work on religious and spiritual capital and its contribution to social capital has been much cited and is influential in academic and public policy sectors. This research has now fed into current debates about postsecular rapprochement and progressive localism in the public domain, looking at new political movements and the enhanced role of local authorities.

Temple Tracts

Smith, Greg (2015) Faith, Progressive Localism and the Hol(e)y Welfare Safety Net (William Temple Foundation).

Matthews, Hayley (2015) Grace & Power: Sexuality and Gender in the Gender in the Church of England (William Temple Foundation).

Dando, Charlotte and Philip Lewis (2015) The Interfaith Movement (William Temple Foundation).

Baker, Chris and John Reader (2016) 21st Century Religion: Violent Extremism to Civil Society? (William Temple Foundation).

Calhoun, Craig (2016) Religion, Government and the Public Good (William Temple Foundation).

Smith, Greg (2018) The Revenge of the Racists and the Silence of those who Worship the Lamb (William Temple Foundation)


Reader J. (1994) Local Theology: Church and Community in Dialogue (London: SPCK).

Baker C. (2007) The Hybrid Church in the City – Third Space Thinking (Ashgate,2007). The Hybrid Church in the City – Third Space Thinking 2nd edition (2009) (London: SCM/Canterbury Press.

Baker C. and Green L., (eds) (2008) Building Utopia?: Seeking the Authentic Church for New Communities (London: SPCK,2008).

Reader, J. (2008) Reconstructing Practical Theology: The Impact of Globalization (Farnham: Ashgate)

Baker C. and Reader J., (eds) (2009) Entering the new theological space – blurred encounters in faith, politics and community (Farnham: Ashgate).

Atherton, J., Chris Baker and John Reader (2010) Christianity and the New Social Order (London: SPCK, 2011)

Baker, C., Tom James and John Reader (2015) A Philosophy of Christian Materialism – Entangled Fidelities and the Public. Farnham: Ashgate Press.

Smith, Greg (2015) 21st Century Evangelicals: Reflections on Research by the Evangelical Alliance. Instant Apostle.

 Journal articles

Smith, G. (2002) “Community Research: A practitioner’s perspective on methods and values.The journal of community work and development 1(3): 31-48.

Smith, G. (2003) Faith in the Voluntary Sector: A common or distinctive experience of religious organisations? Manchester, Working Papers in Applied Social Research, Dept of Sociology: University of Manchester.

Smith, G. (2004) “Implicit Religion and Faith Based Urban Regeneration” in Implicit Religion Vl 7 No 2 August 2004.

Smith, G. (2004) “Faith in Community and Communities of Faith? Government Rhetoric and Religious Identity in Urban Britain.”Journal of Contemporary Religion Vol. 19, No. 2, May 2004.

Smith, G. & Soteri-Procter A. (2004) Tracing and Mapping: the challenges of compiling databases and directories, Social Research Update, Issue 42 published on paper and on the web quarterly by the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford.

Baker C. (2005): ‘Going with the Flow – can faith communities flourish in non-institutional society?’ Political Theology 6, (1): 113-126.

Smith G. (2006) Religious Identities, Social Networks and the Power of Information; Field work issues in mapping religious diversity in London in Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 1, No 3, September 2006.

Baker C. and Miles-Watson J., (2008): Exploring Secular Spiritual Capital; An Engagement in Religious and Secular Dialogue for a Common Future’, International Journal of Public Theology 2 (4), 442-46 (2008).

Baker C. and Miles-Watson J., (2010): Faith and Traditional capitals: defining the public scope of spiritual and religious capital – a literature review undertaken for the Leverhulme Trust’, Implicit Religion, 13, (1) 17-59 (2010).

Smith G. Faith in Local Government: The emergence of religion in the politics of an Inner London Borough 1975-2006, The Politics and Religion Journal Volume IV (No. 2) – Autumn 2010.

Baker C. and Smith G., (2011) “Spiritual, religious and social capital – exploring their dimensions and their relationship with faith-based motivation and participation in UK civil society.” Summary working paper Manchester: William Temple Foundation (Based on a paper presented at the BSA Sociology of Religion Group Conference, Edinburgh April 2010).

Smith G., (2012) “Faith and Volunteering in the UK: Towards a Virtuous Cycle for the Accumulation of Social, Religious and Spiritual Capital?” Diaconia. Journal for the Study of Christian Social Practice 2011/2,2 p. 175–193.

Baker, C. (2012) ‘Spiritual Capital and Economies of Grace – Refining the Relationship between Religion and the Welfare State’, Social Policy and Society, 11, (4): 565-576.

Baker, C and Jawad, R. (2012) ‘Introduction – Social Policy and Religion in Contemporary Britain – Taking Stock and Moving Forward’, Social Policy and Society, 11 (4): 547 – 551.

Baker, C. (2013) ‘Moral freighting, civic engagement and the Big Society – a UK perspective on Putnam’s and Campbell’s theory of religious-based social action’ – Sociology of Religion 17 (3): 343 – 369.

Baker, C., Tom James and John Reader (2015) ‘Entangled Fidelities – Relational Christian Realism in the Public Square’ – Political Theology 16 (3): 247-263.

Smith, G (2012) Faith and Volunteering in the UK: Towards a Virtuous Circle for the Accumulation of Social, Religious and Spiritual Capital? Diaconia Journal for the Study of Christian Social Practice, 2011/2,2 p. 175–193.

Baker, C (2016) ‘Sustainable governance in a postsecular public sphere: re-assessing the role of religion as a cosmopolitan policy actor in a diverse and globalised age’, Sustainable Development 24, 190-198.

Baker, C (2016) ‘Faith in the Public Sphere – in search of a fair and compassionate society for the 21st century’, Journal of Beliefs and Values 37 (3), 259-272.

Book Chapters

Greg Smith (2003) “The Christ of the Barking Road” in J.Vincent (ed) “Faithfulness in the City “, Hawarden: Monad Press.

Chris Baker: Entry to Enterprise: Constructing Local Political Economies in Manchester’ in Through the eye of a Needle – theological conversations over political economy ed. John Atherton and Hannah Skinner (Peterborough: Epworth, 2007).

Chris Baker: ‘Faith, language and faith literacy’ in Faith in the Public Realm: Controversies, Policies and Practices, ed. Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey and Vivien Lowndes (Bristol: Policy Press, Jan 2009)

Chris Baker, ‘Responsible Citizenship after Rawls’ in Austerity, Community Action and the Future of Citizenship Policy Press (edited by Shana Cohen, Jan-Jonathan Bock and Christina Fuhr), Bristol: Policy Press (2017).


Chris Baker and Hannah Skinner: Regenerating Communities – A Theological and Strategic Critique – Mapping the Boundaries Manchester: William Temple Foundation, 2003.

Chris Baker and Elaine Graham: Religious Capital in Regenerating CommunitiesManchester: William Temple Foundation, 2004.

Chris Baker and Hannah Skinner: Regenerating Communities: A Theological and Strategic Critique – Telling the Stories; How Churches are contributing to Social Capital.  Manchester: William Temple Foundation, 2005.

Chris Baker and Hannah Skinner: Faith in Action: The dynamic connection between religious and spiritual capital Manchester: William Temple Foundation 2006.