Society for the Study of Theology

Annual Reports

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This year's conference, on the timely and important topic of 'Peace', was held at the University of Nottingham. 182 people attended with 40 short papers presented on the conference theme, 13 short papers dedicated to celebrating the Reformation quincentennial and 24 seminar papers offered in parallel streams. The Society's 65th anniversary was celebrated during the main conference reception and a plenary discussion took place on the Wednesday evening on 'Theology, class and the academy'. Awards were made to 29 eligible bursary applicants, waiving or reducing their conference costs in most cases by either £200 or £100. The total amount of bursaries awarded was £4950 and the total amount of bursaries redeemed was £4574. Bursaries were funded by the conference profit, by increased subscriptions and donations from Members, and from Society reserves.



Returning to St John's College, Durham University, with much of the accommodation at St Chad's College nearby, the conference attracted a record-breaking 235 people. Membership increased to 330. 56 short papers and 24 seminar papers were presented, with over 100 short paper proposals submitted. A plenary discussion took place on the Wednesday afternoon on 'Whiteness, race and theology'. Around £7000 of bursaries was again awarded.



'Thinking the Church today' was the title of the conference held in the Trent Building at the University of Nottingham from 7 to 9 April. A record 225 people participated with membership rising to 300. 54 short papers and 24 seminar papers were presented in parallel streams. On the Wednesday afternoon there was a plenary discussion 'Gender, sex and systematic theology: present realities, future aspirations'. Over £7000 of bursaries were awarded.



This year's conference, on ‘Speech and silence', was held at St John's College, Durham University from 7 to 9 April, with additional accommodation provided at St Chad's and University Colleges. 195 people attended and at the time of the conference total membership was 280. 43 short papers and 27 seminar papers were presented and there was an art exhibition 'Sounding silence' by Matthew Askey. The conference included a discussion of the report 'Gender and Career Progression in Theology and Religious Studies'.



This year's conference was on ‘Theology and Education'. It took place in the Trent Building at the University of Nottingham from 8 to 10 April and attendance of 210 people matched the record set in 2011. At the time of the conference, total membership of the society stood at 267. 44 short papers were presented and an additional seminar established by the separation of Trinity and Christology.



The topic was ‘The Holy Spirit' and the conference unusually took place in the same venue for a second year running. Held at York University from 26 to 28 March, it was attended by 170 people. Membership remained roughly constant due to the closure of an old current account that was still receiving some subscriptions. 43 short papers were presented and several seminars were allocated additional slots due to demand. In compensation the number of plenary sessions was reduced to five, with one of these being a panel discussion. At the year end, membership was 254.



Acknowledging the four hundredth anniversary of the King James translation of the Bible, the topic was ‘Holy writ? Authority and reception’. The conference took place on the campus of York University from 11 to 13 April and was attended by 210 people. Although 50 new members joined, total membership fell to 240, owing to the closure of an old current account into which some dormant members had still been paying subscriptions. Student members rose to 50 and international members to 30. 42 short papers were presented, with an extra stream created to increase capacity.



The 2010 conference topic was ‘Theology and the arts’. Held at Manchester University from 12 to 14 April, it attracted a record number of 200 participants with publicity and bookings facilitated by a new online system. More than 50 new members joined the Society, and bursaries were awarded totaling more than £3000. For the first year, a carbon offset payment was made to cover conference travel. 36 short papers were presented with more than 80 proposals received. All six seminars were well-attended, including a new Church, Theology and Ministry seminar aimed especially at people in active ministry. Unfortunately, a volcanic eruption in Iceland closed UK airspace at the end of the conference, disrupting the return travel plans of some international members. There were 260 members by the end of the year.



The 2009 conference, on the theme ‘Trinitarian theology’, was held at Kontakt der Kontinenten, near Amersfoort in the Netherlands, from 30 March to 2 April. About 105 people attended, including about 15 living in the Netherlands. This lower attendance was due to the location, the exchange rate and the recession. 30 short papers and 15 seminar papers were also presented. At the year end, there were 220 (paying) members.



The 2008 conference, on the theme 'Theology and politics', was held at St John's College, Durham University, from 31 March to 3 April. It was well-attended with around 160 delegates. There were 29 short papers and 16 seminar papers in addition to plenary papers.



The 2007 conference, on the theme 'Celebration and accountability: theology in the world', was held at Girton College, Cambridge from 26 to 29 March. The conference was again well-attended, with 165 participants. There were 30 short papers and 18 seminar papers in addition to six plenary papers.



The 2006 conference, on the theme 'Theology and the religions', was held at Bodington Hall, University of Leeds, from 3 to 6 April. Speakers addressed theological issues in ways that drew on, responded to or took into account the presence of multiple religious and theological traditions. The conference was well-attended, with 180 participants from Germany, Norway, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, the Philippines, India, Iran, Libya, Israel/Palestine, Denmark, Lebanon, Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere. We had 39 postgraduates, 43 people attending SST for the first time, and 18 people admitted to membership. There were 38 short papers on the conference theme and 16 seminar papers.



The 2005 conference was held jointly with the Irish Theological Association and also supported by the UK Catholic Theological Association. We met in St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra for most of the conference, although the final afternoon and evening were held in Trinity College, Dublin. The theme was 'Thinking through faith: the places of reason in theology'.



The 2004 conference was held on the St Luke's Campus at the University of Exeter, 21 years after we were last there for a 1985 conference on providence. The theme was 'Bible and theology'. There were more short papers than ever before. It was also announced that approximately £800 had been donated by members to the Colin Gunton Memorial Essay Prize Fund, which the Treasurer proposed to match from Society funds.



The conference was held at Henderson Hall, part of the University of Newcastle, from 7 to 10 April. It was attended by about 140 members and non-members.



Our 50th anniversary conference was held in April at Lancaster University. We took ‘God’ as our theme. 130 members and non-members attended. 21 participants gave short papers on the seminar theme, and 14 gave seminar papers. Haddon Willmer gave a 50th anniversary paper on ‘A half-century of theology’, recalling highlights in the intellectual life of the Society. The online philosophy of religion journal, Ars Disputandi was launched at a special reception during the conference. The Philosophy and Theology seminar focused on issues raised for philosophy by developing computer technology and online publishing as a discursive backdrop to this launch.



The 2000 conference was held in St Edmund Hall and the Examination Schools, University of Oxford, from 10 to 13 April, with the theme 'Forgiveness and truth'. It attracted approximately 130 participants. A further 23 colleagues gave short papers on the conference theme, while 14 delivered seminar papers in one of the five seminar groups running at the conference. John Webster and Colin Gunton made a short presentation of their view of the discipline as new editors of the International Journal of Systematic Theology. The conference proceedings were published by T&T Clark.



The 1999 conference was held in Holland House, Pollock Halls, University of Edinburgh, from 12 to 15 April, with the theme 'The future as God's gift: Christian eschatology for the year 2000'. Approximately 150 people took part. A further 14 short papers on the theme of eschatology were given to large gatherings. The conference volume, edited by David Fergusson and Marcel Sarot, was later published by T&T Clark. It included plenary papers and additional material. The Bursary appeal raised £220. In total, bursaries of approximately £1,000 were awarded for the conference. At its AGM, the Society unanimously agreed to raise its subscription to £10 per annum for all members except for postgraduate students, who will continue to pay at the level of £3 per annum.



The 1998 conference was held at Hulme Hall, University of Manchester, from 30 March to 2 April, with the theme 'God's life in the Church: the doctrine of the Church'. The conference attracted 130 participants. The bursary appeal raised about £110. Bursaries totalling about £800 were awarded.

© Society for the Study of Theology, 2007.