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Study of the beliefs and practices of churchgoers in rural Wales

Neil, Peter Sydney 2010. Study of the beliefs and practices of churchgoers in rural Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This study focuses on the beliefs and practices of a group of churchgoers from three congregations in Mid Wales. The theoretical framework selected is that of Astley whose term 'ordinary theology' provides the initial impetus for the work. The research questions focus on the beliefs and expressions of these beliefs by ordinary churchgoers, the origin of their theology and the extent to which these beliefs and practices could be described as an ordinary theology. The review of the literature situates ordinary theology in the area of practical theology and compares and contrasts its features with other related fields such as pew theology, common religion and folk religion. There is also a discussion of theological and religious learning and of the relationship between language and theology. The empirical study adopts a social science methodology, a phenomenological hermeneutic approach and uses a semi-structured interview as the main research instrument. The findings reveal that the interviewees have firmly held beliefs which for many of them had remained since their childhood these beliefs find expression in their involvement in church and community life and, in particular in the liturgy and rituals of the Church. There is little evidence of the participants having received any systematic religious education and the findings present some tentative support for the ordinary people in churches having ownership of their own ordinary theology. The concluding chapter presents some recommendations, namely the need for churchgoers to be equipped with a vocabulary and grammar with which to articulate their faith, to be provided with a more coherent programme of religious or theological education and for there to be a forum in which churchgoers can express and develop in their theology. The final chapter also presents some areas for further investigation and argues for a more in-depth analysis of a more tightly defined theological issue.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
ISBN: 9781303218750
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:31

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