Annual Theological Lecture at Queen’s

Monday March 6th 2023

Professor Trevor Cooling

Professor Trevor Cooling of Canterbury Christ Church University will deliver the 65th Church of Ireland Annual Theological Lecture at Queen’s on Monday March 20 at 6.30pm.

The lecture will be held in the Drama Theatre at Stranmillis University College and is entitled: The Church and Public Education: A Missionary Encounter? Tickets are free, but booking is essential

Religious education has become a hot topic within our schools – from the provision as part of the core curriculum to the provision of collective worship. Some would argue that the influence of RE in schools has undue influence on the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland. Yet other research has demonstrated concrete examples of teachers connecting faith with their teaching to create positive holistic outcomes. 

So how can we best understand the relationship between faith and the classroom?

Trevor Cooling is Professor Emeritus of Christian Education at Canterbury Christ Church University and Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC).

Over the course of a career that has taken him from working as a secondary school teacher to lecturing in theology, and serving as a diocesan adviser and as CEO of a Christian education charity, Professor Cooling’s highly-regarded research and writing on the subject has established him as a leading voice in the field. He is fascinated by the contribution that worldviews in general, and Christianity in particular, can make to human flourishing.

In this lecture, Professor Cooling will bring his considerable experience to bear as he unpacks a vision of the relationship between Churches and public education. How can drawing on the rich depths of Christian theology best contribute to educational outcomes? And what does the future of the relationship between faith and schools look like in best practice?

Attendees will also have a chance to put their questions directly to Professor Cooling in a Q&A session immediately following the lecture.

The Rev Danielle McCullagh, Church of Ireland and Methodist Chaplain at Queen’s University Belfast and Stranmillis University College, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to organise this year’s lecture together with our friends at Stranmillis College. It is an opportunity to continue celebrating the College’s recent centenary and also our strengthening ties in chaplaincy.”

Dr Peter Hamill, Secretary of the Church of Ireland’s Board of Education (Northern Ireland), added: “We are delighted to have Professor Cooling giving this year’s annual lecture. Professor Cooling brings an insightful look at how religion, including the teaching of Religious Education, is viewed in schools in today’s society. The Board is particularly thankful to Stranmillis College for hosting this event in its centenary year.”

Free tickets are available from or directly via Eventbrite.


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