MCPT represents a broad-based network of researchers, practitioners and educators based in and around Greater Manchester and beyond, with a shared interest in the contribution of theological understanding and practice to the well-being of communities and individuals in contemporary society.
MCPT seeks to share knowledge of grass-roots practices and develop appropriate models of theological reflection and research, the better to to examine the ways in which received traditions of faith bear witness within contemporary experience, thereby contributing to the continuing debate about the role of religious faith and faith-based organizations in public life. Much of its activity is therefore in the field of action-research, in which knowledge is generated from a particular area of enquiry in order to generate new understandings, paradigms or strategies, as well as making a contribution to academic debate.
Greater Manchester offers a distinctive history and context for public theological enquiry: as the first city of the industrial revolution, and with plural and diverse ethnic and faith-based communities. Manchester was also among the first cities in the UK to embrace the agenda of urban regeneration in the face of industrial and economic decline. Our shared experience of working contextually demonstrates to us the importance of taking socio-economic-cultural realities as the necessary backdrop for robust theological reflection and as the context within which new insights and strategies must emerge and be tested.
We are concerned with 'public' in two dimensions: firstly, with the impact on communities, neighbourhoods, individuals and institutions of broad economic, political cultural, social and religious trends - with the welfare of the public domain and the impact of public policy. But secondly, we are committed to conducting these debates in public: in a multi-disciplinary, open forum in which theological discourse is offered as a stimulus for common exploration and insight.
MCPT does not assume a single model or understanding of public theology, nor that there is a political consensus about the role of religion in public life waiting to be addressed. Nonetheless, in its commitment to contributing to good outcomes in society, it seeks to engage with the three constituencies of society, faith and academy.