'Contextual theology' is a two-way process. Doctrine is applied to the context in which congregations live out their faith. Their experience of discipleship in turn develops their relationship with God and their theological understanding.
The Contextual Theology Centre is rooted in a number of East London neighbourhoods - across Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney. We work with local churches and chaplaincies on Christian social action in a pluralist society. A key partner in this work is London Citizens, an alliance of over 200 grassroots faith and community groups acting together for social change. Recent achievements include winning over £70 million for London's lowest-paid workers through the Living Wage Campaign and 'people's guarantees' on pay, affordable housing and local skills training for the 2012 Olympics.
CTC seeks to bring this local engagement into dialogue with other contexts - and with researchers from centres of academic excellence. With academics from the Universities of Oxford and Notre Dame, CTC has established the Just Communities research programme on Christian witness in a pluralist society. The outputs of this project include books, papers and conferences - both for academics and local practitioners.
Students from our partner universities are also involved in our Jellicoe internship programme - with a growing community living, worshipping and working in East London, and relating their experiences to their academic studies through the Jellicoe Seminars in Oxford and courses on Catholic social teaching at Notre Dame's London Centre.
With this combination of local engagement and international partnerships, we have developed a number of other projects for church and society. These include the Greater London Presence and Engagement Network (equipping churches for ministry in multi-faith contexts)and the Shoreditch Group (mapping and supporting the churches' contribution to social transformation). The Centre has recently been chosen as the local hub for Near Neighbours - a £5 million programme to build association and trust across faiths and cultures.