Faith Long Lived: An Ecumenical Study of Experiences of Saying Creeds among Older Christians

    Project Details


    The ‘Faith Long Lived’ project is a practical theological project seeking to investigate the experience of saying creeds (or affirmations of faith) in the context of Christian worship among ‘older’ Christians in some of the churches in and around Roehampton. Led by a research team based at the University of Roehampton, we are working with local Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic and Vineyard churches.

    Our aim in this project is to explore, through empirical and theoretical research methodologies, the experiences individuals have, and have had, when saying creeds in the context of Christian worship, and how these experiences have shaped their life and faith over the course of several decades of church involvement. That is to say, we are more interested in the feelings associated with creed saying (or indeed creed singing) than what individuals might know about some of the issues usually discussed in existing literature on creeds such as the events and controversies that led to the formation of the historical creeds used in Christian worship, the technical doctrinal issues expressed by them, and the ‘official’ role they play in either the worship service or more broadly in the life of the church. Through surveys, interviews and focus group sessions, we want to tap into the experience of saying creeds through some of these key questions: what do individuals do if they encounter ideas they might struggle to understand or fully believe and how this might shape understandings of the nature of Christian belief? What difference does the liturgical context make to saying creeds? What are some of the embodied practices associated with saying creeds? It is possible to say a creed for others (in the way you might say a prayer for a loved one? What form do creeds and affirmations of faith take in the life of the local churches? The project aims to help individuals in their local faith communities understand more about a religious practice that has fundamental importance in the lives of many Christians. At the same time, research participants will be given the opportunity to recognise their own distinct and valuable contribution to the development of theological understanding as they reflect on their lived experience.

    As part of the project, the following external speakers will present papers in relation to the main themes of the project at the seminars of the Research Group in Theology, Religion and Practice (RGTRP):

    1. Professor Abby Day (Goldsmiths): 'This is what Christ commanded: belief and behaviour amongst older laywomen'.
    2. Professor Rowan Williams (Cambridge): 'Creed and Worship: some insights from history’
    3. Professor David F. Ford (Cambridge): 'Rereading and Reciting; Identity and Presence: Sixty Years of Experiencing Creed, Liturgy, and the Bible'.

    We are also running a reading group for DTh students on aspects of project.
    Short titleFaith Long Lived
    Effective start/end date1/01/221/07/23


    • Southlands Methodist Trust: £29,999.00