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Bible Gender Church Research Centre  BGC

The Bible, Gender and Church Research Centre

The Bible, Gender and Church (BGC) Research Centre focuses on biblical and practical gender studies, and how these intersect and inform the lives of women and men in the contemporary church.

About the Centre

The Sophia Network’s ‘Minding the Gap’ report recently demonstrated that, although women make up 65 per cent of the church in the UK, 62 per cent of these women have experienced some form of sexism in church. More than half of the respondents also indicated that this was a problem that existed on an institutional rather than on an individual level. View the full report here. These statistics and others make it clear that research on gender, both in the Bible and the church, is sorely needed. The BGC Research Centre aims to foster research in biblical gender studies, as well as through various projects to affect change in the church and academia so that both women and men can be empowered to ‘live life to the full’.

The centre is a joint initiative between Cliff College and The University of Manchester.

Latest news from the BGC

We are pleased to announce that the co-directors of the BGC, Holly Morse and Kirsi Cobb, have been awarded a grant from the AHRC for the next two years to run several events and to develop publications around the theme of Abusing God: Reading the Bible in the #MeToo Age. The project aims to provide a platform to connect academics, church, and charity practitioners, in order to develop new research into the intersection between Scripture and the lived experience of Christian survivors. Our first colloquium will be held in person (there will also be an online option for attendees) at The University of Manchester in September and focuses on the issue of coercive control. We seek contributions from academics and practitioners in order to discuss this timely yet difficult topic - please see the call for papers below.

Previous Centre seminars and lectures

Preaching Problematic Passages: How to Teach Difficult Texts with Sensitivity

'Preaching Problematic Passages: How to Teach Difficult Texts with Sensitivity' was an online seminar hosted by the BGC Research Centre in November 2021. Hosted by Drs Holly Morse and Kirsi Cobb, the first speaker was Lynita Conradie, Methodist minister in the Harrow & Hillingdon Circuit. Lynita recently completed her professional doctorate in Practical Theology at Chester University with her thesis: “How Could the British Methodist Church Preach More Effectively on Domestic Abuse as Part of its Prophetic Witness?”. Her paper focused on domestic violence in the Methodist Church and the practice of preaching on the topic.

We then heard a response from Bekah Legg. Bekah is the CEO of Restored, a Christian charity with a mission to speak up about violence against women and equip the Church to stand against domestic abuse and to support survivors. Her talk focused on the Levite’s Concubine in Judges 19 and constructing a sermon on this difficult passage. She also talked about how her research on the passage has affected her current practice. After the papers, there was time for discussion and Q+A. You can watch the recording of the paper and the response below.

Lies Abusers Tell: Weaponisation of the Bible in the Home

‘Lies Abusers Tell: Weaponisation of the Bible in the Home’ was an online seminar hosted by the BGC Research Centre in April 2021. Hosted by Drs Holly Morse and Kirsi Cobb, the main speaker was Revd Dr Helen Paynter, the director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence. Her paper was followed by a response from Natalie Collins, an international speaker and trainer on issues of violence against women and wider gender injustice. You can watch the recording of the paper, response and following Q&A below.

Inaugural lecture

The inaugural lecture for the BGC took place during Cliff Festival, on Monday 27 May 2019. Rev’d Dr Susan Shooter delivered a lecture entitled ‘Yet in my Flesh Shall I See God: Researching Faith With Survivors of Abuse’. Please find the book on Amazon here to see her book on the subject. This was followed by responses from Dr Holly Morse and Dr Kirsi Cobb, as well as a reception for all participants. You can watch the lecture below.

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