Here at the Susanna Wesley Foundation, our research, projects and resources are aimed at exploring leadership, organization and identity that promotes flourishing in faith communities and the contexts in which they exist. Our theme for 2021 is ‘Embodied Faith’ and we will explore how our lived experience and practice reflect and shape our faith.
Our projects, events, and research will encounter the following sorts of questions:
- What does it mean to live out our lives of faith as the ‘hands and feet’ of God in this world?
- What does it mean for the church to be the body of Christ? What is the experience of those who feel marginalized because of their bodies or identities?
- What does being the body of Christ mean for the church’s presence and activity in the public square?
- Created by a relational God, what part does our inherent relational nature play in our lives of faith?
- How does our faith connect us with the earth that we depend on and which is inextricably linked to our actions?
- How do cognition, emotion and personality impinge on our lives of faith: where do we feel our faith? How does it feed our embodied creativity in thinking and practice? What embodied stories are we writing?
After a year of various levels of lockdown, it is timely to be have in focus the role of physical presence and engagement with the world and the ways this has (or hasn’t) shifted.
Two of our main events are our conference and a series of podcasts:
- Our Annual Conference consists of three online events in mid June: Embodied Knowing (Jun 14), Embodied Belonging (Jun 16) and Embodied Ministering (Jun 17). Find out more about these events.
- Our podcasts present longer conversations around topics that intersect with embodied faith. These include new and upcoming episodes on photography, creation and the environment, African Christianity in the UK, social activism and racial justice, running, and more.
This theme also has relevance for a number of our ongoing SWF projects:
- Lia Shimada’s recent edited book ‘Mapping Faith’ explores the life experience and identity journeys of migrants in relation to their sacred texts and their diverse community networks. Follow us to hear about upcoming events related to the book.
- Nick Mayhew Smith’s current work explores our physical connection with the natural world, re-connecting our spirituality to the earth.
- Kathryn Kissell’s resource for ministers around well-being and flourishing is taking shape and will help those in leadership as they grapple with the relational dynamics at the heart of ministry.
- Strands of work connected to questions of inclusion and embodied identity, in relation to the Methodist Church as well as other contexts.
Join the conversation: let us know how this theme resonates with you.