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Future Archbishop of Canterbury backs work of new research centre at Cranmer Hall, Durham

The Rt. Revd Justin Welby, currently Bishop of Durham and shortly to become Archbishop of Canterbury, said of a forthcoming conference in Durham:

 ” The team involved in this conference have done ground-breaking work and it will be very worth the commitment to attend.”

The conference is entitled ‘Towards a Theology of Church Growth’ and is to be held on 12-13th September, at St John’s College, part of the University of Durham.

This conference is the first major event of a new research centre, set up by Cranmer Hall, an Anglican theological college in Durham, which is part of St Johns College – the Centre for Church Growth Research. The Centre will provide high quality research into church growth across all Christian churches. Whilst its primary focus is the UK, it also explores the international dimensions of church growth.

Existing work by Centre staff has shown that, along with the much more widely known phenomenon of church decline, there is significant church growth happening in contemporary Britain. The Centre will operate under the day-to-day direction of Revd Dr David Goodhew, a staff member of Cranmer Hall. But the centre will operate with an advisory board, which includes leading scholars such as Professor David Martin (emeritus professor of the London School of Economics), Dr Alana Harris, Darby Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford and Professor David Bebbington, professor of history at the University of Stirling.

Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College, Durham, commented on the Centre for Church Growth Research, saying:

‘This new initiative combines hard scholarly questions with a passionate commitment to the growth of the church.  It goes beyond simple anecdotes of church growth or overly simplistic programmes to provide data, analysis and theological understandings which are rich resource for the all those concerned with mission in the contemporary world’