Stephen studied Theology in Manchester, Oxford (MTh) and Sheffield (PhD), and Church and Community Development at what was then the Roehampton Institute. His postgraduate work involved evaluations of contemporary political movements (Thatcherism and New Labour) in the light of Christian social thinking, in particular the ecumenical social thought of the World Council of Churches.
His journey has not been a traditional academic one, but involved study and research whilst working as a Baptist minister in various contexts, for most of the time since 1992 as a University chaplain. From that work, he began to lecture, became Director of a Christian Education Centre, and was the Church of Englands National Higher Education Adviser until his retirement in 2014. In that role he was responsible for the support and professional development of Anglican university chaplains across England, advised and supported the Church in its work on Higher Education policy, and was a link between the Board of Education and the Anglican foundation universities. In 2014 he became a part-time member of staff at Winchester, and in 2016 he joined the Department of TRP as a Professor.
His work at Winchester is carried out jointly with Revd Dr John Gay, a Visiting Professor at the University. Stephen and John are co-workers on a project the aim of which is, as the project outline puts it, to achieve a clearer view of what it means for the University of Winchester to be an Anglican university. It involves study of a wide range of literature to do with the development and current work of universities, the religious and policy contexts within which universities work, and empirical research within the University. The project has a steering group, on which the Department is represented by Professor Neil Messer, and which is chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Stuart.
Stephen is also a consultant and lecturer for the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies, a free-lance consultant on theological approaches to Higher Education issues, and a group facilitator.
Areas of expertise
- The history and development of universities
- Theological understandings of universities
- English Higher Education policy
- The Anglican universities of England
- University chaplaincy
- The place of religion in public life
- The Universities we need: theological perspectives(Ed.) Abingdon: Routledge.
- What are universities good for? Cambridge: Grove
- 2016. 'In Defence of the Secular: Free Church and Anglican Perspectives', Occasional Papers on Faith in Higher Education, 2: 1-9.
- 2016. New Directions for Universities?, Theology, 119, 4: 244-252
- 2015. Seeking the Kingdom?, Occasional Papers on Faith in Higher Education, 1: 6-21