We were pleased to hold a series of interactive webinars forming our conference for 2021 on the theme ‘Embodied Faith’ on June 14, 16 and 17 from 4-5.45pm.
There were short inputs from speakers who shared their experience, practice and academic understanding before engaging in conversation with one another. The conversation then broadened out to involve all participants, who had an opportunity to explore their ideas in small groups before coming together for a plenary discussion.
Click on the links here to jump to descriptions of each session, or scroll down.
- What does it feel like to ‘belong’ in your body?
- How can we listen to the wisdom of the body as created in the image of God?
- How can it challenge our reliance on rationality alone?
Eunice Aqualina, Nick Mayhew Smith and Emma Pavey explored what it means to listen to your body, making connections between embodied knowing, feeling, posture and breath, and the theology and practice of discernment, prayer and Christian life.
Dr Emma Pavey works for the Susanna Wesley Foundation with a background in linguistics, theology, adult education and creative practice. Her most recent publication is ‘Exploring Open and Relational Theology and Theory U for Transformational Change’ (2021)
- How does it feel when you belong to a community?
- What are the postures of belonging?
- How can we make churches places of belonging for those in that community who are consumed by shame?
- How can we redeem those situations where people have been made to feel excluded by the community itself?
In a session hosted by Sue Miller, Sally Nash, Farai Mapamula and Hannah Waite drew on their academic understanding and their practical experience to explore, illustrate and connect different dimensions of embodiment, shame and belonging.
The Revd Dr Sally Nash is an educator, trainer, and mentor in higher education, faith organisations and the NHS, a practical theologian, and author of ‘Shame and the Church: Exploring and Transforming Practice’ (2020).
Sue Miller is the Director of the Susanna Wesley Foundation.
- What is the role of the body in ministering to others in terms of non-verbal communication, gesture, touch?
- What does embodied ministering look like in terms of the organisation and leadership of the ‘body’ of the church?
Hosted by Sue Miller, Chris Swift and Charity Hamilton engaged in conversation around embodied ministering drawing on academic insight and personal experience, a conversation of particular significance given their encounters during Charity’s long period of critical illness when, as she describes it: ‘Chris Swift was one of the hospital chaplains and part of a team of professionals whose bodies enabled the re-membering of my embodied self’.
The Revd Dr Chris Swift is Director of Chaplaincy and Spirituality at Methodist Homes (MHA) and an Anglican priest exploring emerging ideas about how the embodied practice of ministry has developed in recent months, drawing on qualitative interviews with chaplains and insights from the literature.
The Revd Charity Hamilton is a Methodist presbyter, feminist theologian and PhD student with a particular interest in theologies of female embodiment, ill bodies, eating and narrative medicine, reflecting on ministry from the perspective of both patient and minister.
Alongside these events we are producing a series of podcasts around our theme. These give the opportunity for longer conversations around topics that intersect with embodied faith.
New and upcoming episodes include:
- See what the Light is doing: photography and embodied faith (Thomas Jay Oord and Morna Simpson)
- Out of the ordinary: creation and embodied faith (Nick Mayhew Smith and Phoebe Parkin),
- If you want to go far, go together: solidarity and embodied faith (Farai Mapamula and Luke Larner),
- Embodied faith: African Christianity in the UK (Harvey Kwiyani, Naar M’fundisi-Holloway and Sheila Akomiah-Conteh),
- Running and embodied faith (Trey Hall and Gavin Mart),
- and more to come!