Professor of Practical and Empirical Theology
School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
T: 01904 876723
My first career was in natural science, studying the ecology of birds of prey. I left in 1989 to train for Anglican ministry, and served as a parish priest until 2004, when I moved to be director of the Centre for Ministry Studies at the University of Wales, Bangor. My university career continued in 2007 when I moved to York St John University. I partially retired in October 2018 and I have been working at the University two days a week since then.
My background shapes my research interests, and my particular interest has been in the field of Empirical Theology. My research has involved applying the methods of social science (especially quantitative analysis) to the study of religious beliefs and practices, especially in the Anglican Church.
I am the REF Unit of Assessment Lead for Theology & Religious Studies, and co-ordinate the REF Working Group across the School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy.
My teaching is now confined mainly to Postgraduate Researchers on the PhD or Professional Doctorate programmes. The latter includes the Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Religion awards, where I teach at residential sessions and supervise doctoral theses.
My research is in several different areas related to theology (practical theology, empirical theology, hermeneutics and ministry studies) and the scientific study of religion (psychology of religion and sociology of religion). Current and recently completed projects include:
The Church Times survey
In 2013 I helped to organise a survey published in the Church Times, the main weekly newspaper of the Church of England. The questionnaire included a wide range of items related to beliefs, attitudes and opinions, including opinions of homosexuality and the ordination of women as bishops. I recently published a book that compares the results with a similar survey in 2001 to see how attitudes among clergy and lay people have changed in recent years.
Conservatism in the Church of England
Following a publication on Biblical Conservatism in the Church of England (based on the Church Times survey), I completed a series of papers based on a range of datasets that explore the content and predictors of theological liberalism / conservatism among laity and clergy in the Church of England.
Creationism and the Environment
Surveys of churchgoers in the UK in 2010 and 2015 have led to a number of papers on various aspects of biblical interpretation and the factors promoting environmental concern. Early papers examined the relationship of accepting or rejecting evolution to factors such as personality and education, while more recent work is looking at how beliefs about Creation relate to attitudes towards the environment.
The Diocese of Truro AMD Programme
The Accompanied Ministry Development programme is an innovation within the diocese, and, along with Dr Judith Muskett, I ran a three-year study of the effects of the programme on clergy and their parishes. The work was funded by the St Luke’s College Foundation and was completed on time in September 2017.
Australian NCLS data analysis
The Australian National Church Life Survey collects data for a large sample of people attending a wide range of churches across Australia. I have worked with NCLS Research in Sydney on papers exploring the role of churches in helping migrants integrate into Australian society.
Faith and Higher Education
This is a project aimed at increasing our understanding of how Theology & Ministry programmes affect the faith of students. Students complete questionnaires at the beginning and end of their studies that assessed changes in their faith position, beliefs and attitudes. The work from this study is currently being analysed, and the first paper has been submitted for review.
I am currently supervising the following projects:
- How is ordained ministry understood among people in the Baptist Union in the UK? (from 2015, main supervisor)
- Baptism in the Congregationalist Federation (from 2016, main supervisor)
Books and edited collections
Village, A. (2018). The Church of England in the first decade of the 21st century: The Church Times Surveys: Palgrave Macmillan.
Village, A. & Hood Jr, R. W. (Eds.). (2018). Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 29 (Vol. 29). Leiden: Brill.
Village, A. & Hood Jr. R. W. (Eds.). (2017). Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 28 (Vol. 28). Leiden: Brill.
Village, A. (2016). Encountering the Bible. London: SCM Press.
Village, A. & Hood Jr, R. W. (Eds.). (2016). Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 27 (Vol. 27). Leiden: Brill.
Village, A. & Jr, R. W. H. (Eds.). (2015). Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 26 (Vol. 26). Leiden: Brill.
Sole authored journal articles
Village, A. (2018). What does the Liberal-Conservative scale measure? A study among clergy and laity in the Church of England. Journal of Empirical Theology, 31(2), 194-216.
Village, A. (2018 (submitted for review 5/12/18)). Does Higher Education change the faith of those training for church ministries? Practical Theology.
Village, A. (2016). Biblical conservatism and psychological type. Journal of Empirical Theology, 29, 137-159.
Village, A. (2015). Nature or Nurture? What makes people feel confident in faith? Rural Theology, 13, 82-93.
Village, A. (2015). Psychological type functions and biblical scholarship: An empirical enquiry among members of the Society of Biblical Literature. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 18, 605-621.
Village, A. (2015). Was White right? Biblical interpretation, theological stance and environmental attitudes among a sample of UK churchgoers. Journal of Empirical Theology, 28, 1-26.
Village, A. (2015). Who Goes There? Attendance at Fresh Expressions of Church in Relation to Psychological Type Preferences among Readers of the Church Times. Practical Theology, 8, 112-129.
Village, A. (2014). The relationship of psychological type to interpretations of Genesis among churchgoers in England. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6, 72-82.
Co-authored journal articles
As main author:
Village, A, & Baker, S. (2018). Rejecting Darwinian evolution: The effects of education, church tradition, and individual theological stance among UK churchgoers. Review of Religious Research, 60(3), 285-303.
Village, A, & Muskett, J. A. (2018). Knowing their people and being known by them: A changing episcopal role within Accompanied Ministry Development in the Diocese of Truro. Ecclesial Practices.
Village, A., Payne, J. V., & Francis, L. J. (2018). Testing the balanced affect model of clergy work-related psychological health: Replication among Anglican clergy in Wales. Rural Theology, 16(2), 93-100.
Village, A., & Muskett, J. A. (2017). Flagships in a sea of unbelief? Christian affiliation around big church buildings in England. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 32, 479-493.
Village, A., Powell, R., & Pepper, M. (2017). Bonding and bridging among first generation Asian migrants in Australian Protestant churches. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Published online: 06 Oct 2016, 43, 1943-1963.
Francis, L. J., & Village, A. (2017). Psychological type and reported religious experience: an empirical enquiry among Anglican clergy and laity. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 20, 367-383.
Francis, L. J., Village, A., & Parker, S. G. (2017). Exploring the trajectory of personal, moral and spiritual values of 16- to 18-year-old students taking religious studies at A level in the UK. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 38, 18-31.
Village, A., & Francis, L. J. (2016). The development of the Francis Moral Values Scales: a study among 16- to 18-year-old students taking Religious Studies at A level in the UK. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 1-10.
Village, A., & Francis, L. J. (2016). Measuring the contribution of Roman Catholic secondary schools during the 1990s to students’ religious, personal and social values in England and Wales. Journal of Catholic Education, 19, 84-113.
Publications as co-author
Francis, L. J., & Village, A. (2019). Christian ethos secondary schools, parental church attendance and student attitude towards Christianity: Exploring connections in England and Wales. British Journal of Religious Education, Online.
Francis, L. J., Village, A, & Voas, D. (2018). Stress levels among Anglican clergy: The beneficial effects of feeling supported. Journal of Empirical Theology, 31(2), 265-287.
Francis, L. J., Village, A. & Powell, R. (2017). Quest-religious orientation among church leaders in Australia: A function of psychological predisposition or openness to mystical experience? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Online First.
Francis, L. J. & Village, A. (2017). Psychological type and reported religious experience: an empirical enquiry among Anglican clergy and laity. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 20(4), 367-383.
Francis, L. J., Village, A. & Parker, S. G. (2017). Exploring the trajectory of personal, moral and spiritual values of 16- to 18-year-old students taking religious studies at A level in the UK. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 38(1), 18-31.
Francis, L. J., Village, A., McKenna, U. & Penny, G. (2017). Freedom of religion and freedom of religious clothing and symbols in school: exploring the impact of church schools in a religiously diverse society. In H.-G. Ziebertz & C. Sterkens (Eds.), The legitimization of civil human rights on the grounds of human dignity and religious considerations: empirical research and theoretical reflections.
Francis, L. J., Powell, R. & Village, A. (2016). Psychological temperament and religious orientation: An empirical enquiry among Australian church leadership. In P. Hughes (Ed.), Charting the Faith of Australians (pp. 111-165). Nunawading, Victoria: Christian Research Association.
Francis, L. J., Village, A. & Powell, R. (2016). Religious experience and religious motivation among Catholic and mainstream Protestant churchgoers in Australia: testing and applying five short measures. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 19(8), 932-942.
Muskett, J. A. & Village, A. (2016). Action learning sets and social capital: ameliorating the burden of clergy isolation in one rural diocese. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 13(3), 219-234.
Francis, L. J., & Village, A. (2015). Assessing outgroup prejudice among 13- to 15-year-old students attending Catholic and Protestant secondary schools in Northern Ireland: An empirical enquiry. Irish Educational Studies, 34(3), 265-279.
Francis, L. J., & Village, A. (2015). Go and observe the sower: Seeing empirical theology at work. Journal of Empirical Theology, 28(2), 155-183.
Francis, L. J., Village, A., Bruce, D. & Woolever, C. (2015). Testing the balanced affect model of clergy work-related psychological health: Drawing on the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. In A. Village & R. W. Hood (Eds.), Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (Vol. 26, pp. 123-140). Leiden: Brill.
Muskett, J. & Village, A. (2015). Created to be guardians? Psychological-type profiles of members of cathedral Friends associations in England. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 18(8), 641-654.
Francis, L. J. & Village, A. (2014). Church schools preparing adolescents for living in a religiously diverse society: An empirical enquiry in England and Wales. Religious Education, 109(3), 264-283.
Francis, L. J., ap Siôn, T. & Village, A. (2014). Measuring the contribution of independent Christian secondary schools to students' religious, personal, and social values. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 23(1), 29-55.
Francis, L. J., Lankshear, D. W., Robbins, M., Village, A. & ap Siôn, T. (2014). Defining and measuring the contribution of Anglican secondary schools to students’ religious, personal and social values. Journal of Empirical Theology, 27(1), 57-84.
Francis, Leslie J., Village, Andrew, Penny, Gemma, & Neil, Peter. (2014). Catholic Schools and attitudes towards religious diversity: An empirical enquiry among 13- to 15-year-old students in Scotland. Scottish Educational Review, 46(2), 36-53.
- Religious Research Association (RRA)
- Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR)
- Editor, Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (until 2018)
- Editorial Board: Rural Theology, Journal of Beliefs and Values
Conferences (where presentations delivered)
SSSR/RRA annual conference, Las Vegas, October 2018
SSSR/RRA annual conference, Washington DC, October 2017
ISSR Biennial conference, Lausanne, 3-7 July 2017
New Perspectives on Science and Religion in Society (Manchester 29 June – 1 July 2017)
ISERT Biennial conference, Amsterdam June 2016
SSSR/RRA annual conference, Atlanta 28-30 October 2016