About us

Background and Aim of the Centre for Religion in Society

The Centre for Religion in Society (CRiS) was established in 2008. CRiS provides a forum where scholars, in particular from the disciplines of Theology and Religious Studies, but also from other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, as well as relevant practitioners and professionals, come together to look at the role of religion in the cultural, social and political life of society as well as its role in conflict resolution, peace-building and reconciliation.

There is growing need for academics from theology and religious studies to respond to current issues relating to religion in contemporary society since public awareness of the role of religion in conflict areas in many parts of the world, and of how theology and religious studies could help to untangle problems in our society, is rising. Furthermore, since the conflicts and tensions are not just 'religious' matters, it is necessary to examine the wider contexts and so to employ a range of academic disciplines.  

The aim of the Centre is to enhance the national and international profile of the Faculty and the University, thereby increasing opportunities for joint research projects and securing external funding. It will be a centre for excellence known for its academic work and also for disseminating its findings to the wider society.  The work of CRiS also enhances   the student experience through the teaching and learning process as staff and visiting scholars provide cutting-edge curriculum content and expertise in research methodology and skills.

Major Projects of the Centre for Religion in Society

Religion, Peace and Reconciliation

This project started in 2006 with colleagues in the Theology and Religious Studies Section in order to study methodologies for sustainable and constructive contributions to peace and reconciliation. The International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation (ICPR) series has brought together scholars, religious leaders, policy-makers and practitioners at York St John University (2006), University of California in Los Angeles (2009), Youngnak Presbyterian Church (2010) and Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2012) and York St John University (2015)  Papers from past conferences have been published as edited books:  Peace and Reconciliation: In Search of Shared Identities (Ashgate, 2008);  and a three volume collection,Building Communities of Reconciliation: Reflections on the Life and Teaching of Reverend Kyung-Chik Han;Building Communities of Reconciliation: Christian Responses to Situations of Conflict; Building Communities of Reconciliation: Christian Theologies of Peace and Reconciliation (Nanumsa, 2012); Mediating Peace: Reconciliation through Visual Art, Music and Film, (Cambridge Scholars Press 2015);  Who is My Neighbour? Crossing Boundaries of Prejudice and Distrust, (Jessica Kingsley Publishing, forthcoming 2017).

Theology and Public Life

This research project focuses on the development of public theology. Public theology concerns Christians engaging in dialogue with those outside church circles on various issues of common interest and involves urging Christians to take the opportunity to participate in the public domain in modern secular democracies and to converse with other citizens on issues other than narrowly religious matters. The International Journal of Public Theology (IJPT) is a peer-reviewed journal started in 2006 from York St John University and is published quarterly by Brill. The journal, which is affiliated with the Global Network for Public Theology, is a platform for original interdisciplinary research in the field of public theology.

Ebor Lectures 

This is an ecumenical projects that seek to exchange insights between academic and religious traditions and to build bridges between churches and other religious groups. The lectures relate faith to public concerns and have been an instrument to promote serious academic thinking and reflection on contemporary issues which critically engage the day to day contexts of people in the society. Some of the early lectures have been published as Liberating Sacred Texts? Revelation, Identity and Public Life (SPCK, 2008) and Christianity and the Renewal of Nature: Creation, Climate Change and Sustainable Living(SPCK, 2011). More recent lectures are available on Soundcloud.

Who We Are

The Centre for Religion in Society supports various projects and research strands running throughout the Department Theology and Religious Studies by a number of TRS staff. More details on the research and teaching interests, and the publications of the core CRiS staff can be found on the staff members' profile pages.

YSJU Staff:

Director:  Professor Pauline Kollontai, (as from July 2017) Professor of Higher Education in Theology and Religious Studies, School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy

Associate Director: Dr Sue Yore, (as from July 2017) Senior Lecturer Theology and Religious Studies and BA Course Leader for Theology and Religious Studies, School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy  

Dr Richard Bourne, Head of School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy

Dr Esther McIntosh, Head of  Subject, Theology and Religious Studies, School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy

Dr Michael Tilley, Lecturer in Asian Religions,  School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy

Visiting Professors and Scholars associated with CRiS:

Professor Sebastian Kim, Professor  of Theology and Public Life,  Fuller Theological Seminary and Korean Studies Centre, Pasaden. USA

Professor Kjetil Freitheim, Professor of Ethics and Diaconal Studies. Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, Norway

Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor Emeritus of Judaisn, University of Wales, UK

Canon Dr Malcolm Grundy, former Director of the Foundation for Church Leadership, UK 


The Centre for Religion in Society aims to secure financial support from research councils, funding bodies, organisations and individuals. If you are interested in contributing to the work of CRiS through an individual donation, or for any other enquiries, please contact: Professor Pauline Kollontai, Associate Director on: p.kollontai@yorksj.ac.uk

Contact Us

The Centre for Religion in Society, School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy, York St John University, Lord Mayor's Walk York, YO31 7EX

If you would like further information about any aspect of the Centre’s work, please contact the Director or Associate Director:

Professor Pauline Kollontai - T: 00 44 (0)1904 876573 or E: p.kollontai@yorksj.ac.uk 

Dr Sue Yore - T: 00 44 (0)1904 876529 or E: s.yore@yorksj.ac.uk

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