Faith in British Democracy: A Christian Vision for Political Engagement

This four session short-course being led by Dr Jonathan Chaplin is aimed to equip Christian citizens, social and political activists, political office-holders and staffers, with intellectual tools for more effective and critical participation in British democracy.


With democracy under pressure everywhere, can Christians recover a positive vision for political engagement?

This four-week course explores a vision of constructive and critical participation in British democracy. Cynicism about politics is at an all-time high, citizens are divided and angry, and democracy seems unable to promote the common good. Given rising global religious extremism, many fear the presence of religion in politics and argue for a wholly secular democracy. But Christians, not least Methodists, have long engaged in political action as an expression of love of neighbour and concern for the common good. There are rich resources in the Christian tradition to empower us to engage with politics faithfully, wisely and effectively today.

Faith in British Democracy: A Christian Vision for Political Engagement delves into these resources, equipping participants to become more articulate and confident Christian citizens working for the common good. The course is designed for anyone engaged in or interested in British politics, campaigning or church-based action. Through readings, conversation and reflection on participant’s practical experience, we will explore a broad Christian vision of democracy and consider its application in concrete areas of political life.

Course structure

  • Four Tuesdays from 18 April to 9 May 2023
  • Virtual class via Zoom 7.00 – 9.00pm (UK time). Zoom link, class schedule, & outline will be provided after registration.
  • Readings include chapters from the course text, Jonathan Chaplin, Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity, supplemented by other short articles. These will be available digitally to all registered participants. Please read the Introduction to Faith in Democracy prior to the first class.
  • The four weekly 2-hour sessions include
  • opening ‘justice prayer’
  • presentation on the week’s readings
  • large group Q & A and practitioner stories
  • small group conversations in breakout rooms
  • concluding large group reflection
  • Approximately 2 1/2 hours of reading and study per week are expected outside of class time
  • A certificate of completion is available for those who complete a brief summative reflection (1500 words)

Course Cost

Early Bird Registration: £100 (ends 28 February 2023)

Regular Registration: £120 (ends 13 April 2023)

Dr Jonathan Chaplin became Honorary Fellow of Wesley House in 2022, where he contributes to the Centre for Faith in Public Life. He has been a member of the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University since 2007. Jonathan is a political theologian and has written widely for academic and public audiences on issues of faith and politics, democracy, justice, religious pluralism, liberalism and the environment. He is especially interested in how political ideas interact with practical politics, and has worked with a number of Christian political organisations in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and the USA. Currently, he is Senior Fellow of the Canadian Christian think-tank Cardus, and was Associate Fellow of the British religion and society think-tank Theos from 2020-2022. An Anglican, his latest book is Beyond Establishment: Resetting Church-State Relations in England (2022).

A course from The Centre of Faith in Public Life