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The neighbourhood church in an individualized world

Lunn, Andrew John (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Many local churches in Britain have adopted a neighbourhood paradigm, in which the neighbourhood is seen as the primary locus of mission and ministry. Social change increasingly calls that paradigm into question. This thesis engages in a reflective conversation between the sociological context of neighbourhood churches in the United Kingdom and theological themes which resource the self-understanding of such churches.
Beginning with action research, and then through a review of literature from ecclesial sources, the neighbourhood paradigm is explored and then critiqued. The critique comes particularly through the sociology of individualization. Alternative models of church are explored as they begin to address these issues.
The action research, analysis of the neighbourhood paradigm, and the study of individualization all point to ambivalence and hybridity as key experiences in late modernity.
Theological reflection on individualization and ambivalence develops an understanding of Christian freedom which can engage with ambivalence and social change. This provides a theological resource for relating to the sociological context of local churches. This resource recognizes the essentially mixed and hybrid nature of contemporary lives and contemporary neighbourhoods, and provides a foundation for a renewed hybrid paradigm for neighbourhood ministry.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Theology and Religion
Subjects:BX Christian Denominations
DA Great Britain
HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
HT Communities. Classes. Races
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3440
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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