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News article

Inaugural global Congress on sport and Christianity

Published: 22 August 2016

  •   Events
  •    Research

The Congress will bring together 180 delegates from 24 nations. Delegates include athletes, practitioners, academics, Christian leaders and administrators for a critical discussion on sport and faith. It will take place from 24-28 August 2016 at York St John University, coinciding with the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

The Congress will feature 11 keynote speakers, including world-leading theologians Professors Robert Johnston (US) and John Swinton (UK), ex-Paralympic athlete Anne-Wafula Strike MBE, Christian leader Tony Campolo, and Revd John Boyers, the Chaplain of Manchester United Football Club for the last 25 years.

Academics from the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences and the Faculty of Education & Theology at York St John University are working together to present 12 thematic strands that will examine disability, ethics, gender, chaplaincy, and fathering and mentoring in the sport-faith interface. The Bible Society will facilitate a panel discussion on Sport, Faith and the Bible. During a Catholicism and Sports strand, there will be presentations from the Head of the sport-Church office at the Vatican, Rome, and the CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, London.

As part of the Congress a sport-themed public service will be held in York Minster, in which ex-Premiership footballer Linvoy Primus MBE and ex-Paralympic athlete Anne-Wafula Strike will be interviewed. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, will also deliver a sport-faith sermon.

Dr Nick Watson, Senior Lecturer in Sport, Culture and Religion at York St John University, is heading up the conference. He said:

“One goal of the Congress is to ask critical questions about the moral and ethical dilemmas that plague modern day sport. This includes the systemic institutional corruption evidenced within FIFA, the ongoing doping scandal in the world of athletics, the searching questions being asked currently about concussion and violence in rugby and American football and the seeming contradictions surrounding Christian boxers, such as Tyson Fury.”

For further details about the Congress, contact Dr Nick Watson, E:

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