Nov 12 2018 – a really generative day

Today the team, plus others writing chapters in the forthcoming book from the project, met with Professor R. Ruard Ganzevoort of the Free University, Amsterdam, to draw on his experience of both understanding and teaching in the area of trauma. We were joined in the morning by the Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The conversation was of the finest and will hugely assist the coming book. 

Working with archdeacons

It was a privilege to work with a group of Anglican archdeacons in London on Oct 8 2018. As they are the ones likely to get the crisis phone call from a parish priest after a shock-event, their reflections were of particular value. We hope to do further work with senior staff in this and other denominations.

Summer Holidays and a Teaser

Even over the summer break the trauma team is hard at work! In August the whole team will contribute a day at Sarum College’s Summer School. Last week Meg Warner ran workshops on Lament Psalms at the 2018 Modern Church Conference. If you are interested especially in Bible and Trauma look out for the 2019 programme for the Christ Church Summer School, held at Christ Church College, Oxford. Meg Warner will lead a week’s workshop on Bible, Trauma and Resilience.

Salisbury Observance

The team is glad to have been in contact with the Revd Kelvin Inglis who will be leading ‘A Celebration of the Community Life of the City of Salisbury’ tomorrow afternoon at St. Thomas’s Church, Salisbury, following the recent chemical attack there. The service will be recorded and reported on by media, and you will find reflection upon it on this site after the event. The service begins at 3 pm and both Revd Inglis and Bishop Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, will give addresses.

Common Awards Seedcorn Grants – Applications Open Now


Common Awards Research Network

Seedcorn Grants in Liturgy in response to Trauma

Call for Applications – Closing Date: March 1st, 2018


In association with the broader Common Awards Seedcorn Grants, the project ‘How can Congregations be Helped in Times of Tragedy’ ( invites applications for four seedcorn grants of £2000 each.

The purpose is to generate liturgies, with theological commentary, that will enrich the TEI sector, and through it the wider Church, in its response to sudden tragedies.  These grants will be managed by the Project Leader, Professor Christopher Southgate, at the University of Exeter. The funding for the project comes from the Templeton World Charities Foundation Inc.


The deadline for applications is March 1st, 2018.

Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their applications by April 1st, 2018.

Two of the four pieces of liturgy with commentary resulting from the grant must be sent to the Project Leader by September 30th, 2018 and the remaining two by November 30th, 2018.

These deadlines are set because of the publishing schedule for the edited book to be published from the project, Tragedies in Christian Congregations: The Practical Theology of Trauma (working title) (Routledge, 2019).

Application to the project implies consent to the use of the material submitted, with acknowledgement, in the edited book above, on the project website, and on the Common Awards website.

Essential Criteria

Projects must:

  • have the potential to shape the Common Awards – in terms of enriching the liturgical teaching and learning at participating TEIs.
  • be led by a member of staff employed by a TEI, Ministry Division, the Discipleship and Ministries cluster of the Methodist Church, or the United Reformed Church; and
  • provide novel insights into good liturgical practice following a sudden shock to a congregation, through both liturgical materials and commentary that shows clear awareness of the importance of context, and a nuanced theological approach to the encounter with unexpected harms.

All projects are also expected to involve a brief presentation by members of the project team during the Common Awards staff conference in July 2019 – so attendance by at least one representative of the project will be required.

Desirable Criteria

We will look in particular for projects that are ecumenically diverse.


Where possible, the project team will work closely with the successful TEIs to optimize the results of the grants. Once the successful projects have been chosen, we will discuss with applicants the forms of support that might be most appropriate.

Application Process

Applications should comprise all the elements listed below. Please aim to be concise and clear. Ask yourself whether someone reading your application will end up with a clear idea of exactly what you plan to do, and why you plan to do it.

1. Title (no more than 20 words)

This will be the only information about your grant that will appear in some forms of publicity. Please make sure that it clearly conveys the main idea of your project.

 2. Information about the Principal Investigator

Name, institutional affiliation, and full contact details for one person who will be the coordinator for the project, and our key contact. This person must be a member of staff employed by a TEI, by Ministry Division, by the Discipleship and Ministries cluster of the Methodist Church, or by the United Reformed Church.

3. Brief overview (no more than 500 words)

A short paragraph describing your project. This text should be suitable for use in any publicity we send out about the outcome of this round of awards. It should summarise your approach to the topic, what you hope to do, and why it is important.

4. Proposed project timetable

Please note that projects may begin as soon as the award has been made (Easter 2018) and must be completed by Nov 30 2018.

5. A full description (no more than 2500 words)

The full description must include the following elements:

  • An account of the approach taken
  • What is liturgy in time of tragedy seeking to do?
  • How might that be achieved?
  • What existing published resources will be drawn upon?
  • What theological approach to tragedy will the liturgies reflect?
  • In outline, what type of liturgies will be generated?

The final outputs will consist of four pieces of liturgy, each of at least two pages of A4, and a 2000-word commentary on each. The commentary should make clear for what context the liturgy has been designed, and why, pastorally, liturgically and theologically, the liturgy might be expected to be effective.

6. Project Management

How will the Principal Investigator ensure that the project stays on track, and achieves its objectives within the time available? How will members of the team communicate? How will the main activities be organised?

7. Project personnel

Who, beyond the Principal Investigator, will be involved in delivering this project, and what will they do? Will students be involved, and if so, how? We encourage the inclusion of at least one currently serving minister in the team.

Please supply names, cvs, and full contact details for the core team.

8. A budget

This should include:  a breakdown of costs (totalling no more than £2,000); and a brief explanation of how these costs have been arrived at.

9. Up-to-date CVs for the project team (at least three team members must be involved)

Applications should be sent to Christopher Southgate at to arrive no later than midnight on March 1st 2018.

Applications will be assessed by at least two members of the project team, including the project leader. Details of the team can be found at www. tragedy and

Any queries about the grants or the application process should be sent to Christopher Southgate at .

Further information about the Common Awards Research Network can be found at

Tragedy and Congregations on the BBC!

The project was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme yesterday! You can tune in with this link: The 7 minute piece includes interviews with Project leader, Dr Christopher Southgate, as well as some of the participants in our very first day of teaching with curates in the Diocese of Exeter. Apart from the fact that the project is described as being sponsored by the Church of England (which it is not!) the report is worth a listen.


Off and Running …

The Project Team has just completed its first teaching round! We were invited to present day programmes to curates in the Diocese of Exeter and to second and third year students of the South West Ministry Training Course. The two bookings gave us a chance to try out some different approaches and timings. Overall the two days seemed to go extremely well and were warmly received. New bookings are coming in – more welcome!

First Meeting with the Project Advisory Board

Last week saw an important milestone for the project as the team met for the first time with members or the project advisory board. The team is extremely grateful to the group of specialised practitioners who have agreed to be part of the board, and these meetings will represent the team’s best opportunity to share ideas, challenge assumptions and explore possible new directions. At this first meeting Dr Ruth Layzell led a discussion about pastoral counselling and ministry in times of trauma, with particular reference to clergy boundaries and implications for self-care. In addition, the project’s new postdoc researcher, Meg Warner, presented a paper on the pastoral and practical use of lament psalms, with particular reference to advisory board member John Swinton’s Raging With Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. If you are interested in that topic and the paper please email Meg at .

One month in

We have convened a very strong advisory board and look forward to working with them. The other initial work has been to interview a series of ministers with significant experience of traumatic events. This work has received ethics approval from the University of Exeter, and five interviews have already taken place. They have generated very rich reflection, as well as some really useful guidance to be shared with those in training.