Postgraduate Researchers

The Centre for Religion in Society is home to a thriving postgraduate research community who are progressing knowledge in a wide range of areas.

Chukwuemeka Iwuagwu

I am church of England self-supporting priest, currently working in the Diocese of Oxford looking after St Andrew’s church in Great Linford, Milton Keynes. I am married to Adanna, who is a project manager, and our marriage of 11 years is blessed with 3 children. Our son is 10 years old, and we have two daughters 8 and 5 years. I am also an independent consultant, working with the UK government in running successful IT and digital transformation initiatives. 

My doctoral research, titled “Exploring the religious experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and practices of fringe members of the Church of England”, examines the faith and belief of people who have some connection to church, but who do not normally attend worship services. The participants are those who would seek occasional offices such as baptism, weddings, and funerals and those who attend and support church events such as coffee mornings and bell ringing, but who do not attend church regularly. 

I am in my first year of this journey and I am looking forward to an exciting time. 

Jean Carter

I am a Registered Nurse with 38 years experience in the NHS. I initially specialised in Critical Care, then moved to senior posts at Hospital, Regional and National level. I have an MBA and LL.M (Medical Law) as well as several professional and leadership qualifications.

I have also held various roles as a bi-vocational leader in Independent Pentecostal Churches for over 30 years. I am currently a Senior Pastor in the North East of England.

I am undertaking the DMin programme at York St John and my area of research interest is faith and work in an Independent Pentecostal church setting. Academic research in Independent Pentecostal church settings is not common in my experience but I hope to access the wealth of theological experience and knowledge within the congregation that I serve. I am developing a model ‘Appreciating Theology’ which brings together the research methodology of Appreciative Inquiry and the Four Voices of Theology to explore the important area of faith and work.

Alexander McMeekin

I am a Pastor leading Beacon Community Church in Burntwood, Staffordshire which is an Elim Pentecostal Church.  This is my third Pastorate.  I returned to academic study with York St John in 2021 under the supervision of Revd Andrew Village, Professor of Practical and empirical Theology.

I am particularly interested in thinking about the place the church finds itself in contemporary culture, and especially where the Pentecostal church may find itself as culture shifts away from a Judeo-Christian shaped worldview towards a secular a post- Christendom shaped worldview.  Apologetics is no longer a process restricted to a defence of the faith, a word to the culture it encounters, it now includes a reading of the culture as an explanatory word to the church.  This broader area of state, culture and church encountering each other provides the background to the specific area I am researching.  My research question is located within an empirical model of Practical Theology utilising attitude measurement and personality psychology specifically personality type as methods for exploring my question which is What are the attitudes and what are shaping the attitudes of pastors and elders in Elim towards LGT inclusion in membership, ministry and ordinance.   

Alisha Biggs

My research examines Octavia Butler’s work and how it exemplifies the intention to radically reinterpret the representation of African American women in science fiction through religious metaphor. I am exploring Butler’s literature using womanist theology to frame the importance of what her character represents. The research will focus upon the themes of salvation, transcendence, eco-feminism, apocalypse and the womanist Christ figure. I endeavour to discover how Butler’s writing is exposed when examined from a theological perspective.

Joseph Wandera

I have a Pentecostal ministry background and form part of the eldership team in Grace church, Scotter and District in Rural Lincolnshire. Following a cross culture ministry for over two decades, I am now an apprentice as a research practitioner at YSJ university under the supervision of Revd Andrew Village, Professor of Practical and empirical Theology. 

My research focuses on issues of Interstitial Ministry and to this end, I am exploring the place of Interstitial ministry in the spread of the gospel (evangelism).

Gareth Garland

My research focuses on listening to theological voices on ordained / accredited ministry within the Baptist Union of Great Britain. This research has involved researching Baptist voices from the past and present, whilst analysing what the Baptist Union has written on the subject. A significant part of this research has involved a survey of ministers to ascertain current espoused and operant theologies. My hope is that this research will challenge ministers to review and reconsider their own beliefs and practice in ministry.