Whitelands Centre for Pentecostalism & Community Engagement
The Centre was launched last year (Monday 28 October 2019), with support from the Vice-Chancellor and Professor Laura Peters, Head of the Humanities Department.
Messages of support were received from church and political leaders, including a message of support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dr William Ackah for the Transatlantic Roundtable for Religion and Race (TRRR).
The launch of the Centre for Pentecostalism & Community Engagement marks an exciting development in the Ministerial Theology Programme (MTP) at the University of Roehampton. It is the first centre in the country dedicated to Pentecostalism and community engagement.
The Centre aims to be a dynamic place for the study and research of Pentecostalism and the intersection of Pentecostal and Charismatic spirituality, music, and socio-political engagement. It will also work with churches, parachurch organisations, NGOs, local authorities, and government to harness the social capital of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches for community cohesion and the common good. Dr R. David Muir is the Centre’s Director; Dr Richard Burgess is the Director of Research.
The Centre is supported by the National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF) and the Anglican-Pentecostal Theological Study Group (APTSG). At the launch, Dr Joel Edwards CBE gave the Inaugural Lecture (The William J. Seymour Lecture). William J. Seymour (1870-1922) was born in Louisiana, USA. The son of former slaves, he became the father of Pentecostalism. Under his leadership of the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, this movement achieved a remarkable amount of racial and gender equality. Sadly, this was short-lived. Many Pentecostal organizations trace their origins to the Azusa Street phenomenon and the legacy of William Seymour. In the iconography of modern religious leaders, William Seymour’s legacy provides rich resources for Pentecostals, Charismatics and other Christian traditions.
This year’s Second Annual William J. Seymour Lecture was by two distinguished Christian leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church, Michael Curry.