Professor Graham Ward, Oxford's new Regius Professor of Theology, was installed as a Canon of Christ Church during a special service of Choral Evensong on Saturday 21st of September 2012.
Canon Ward was introduced to the Cathedral congregation by Canon Professor Sarah Foot, in the following way:
It is my great pleasure, as Chairman of the Theology Faculty Board, to welcome Professor Graham Ward to Oxford and to Christ Church Cathedral. He comes to us from the University of Manchester, where he held the Samuel Fergusson Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics and was Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.
Graham was an undergraduate in another place; he took a first degree in English and French at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge before studying Theology at Selwyn and then training for the ministry at Westcott House. After his ordination in 1991, he served his title at St Mary Redcliffe, in Bristol and went thereafter to become Chaplain of Exeter College here in Oxford. He was a part-time lecturer at the University of Birmingham, and later Dean and Director of Studies for Theology at Peterhouse, Cambridge. From there he went to the University of Manchester where he held successively a Senior Fellowship in Religion and Gender, and the chair of Contextual Theology and Ethics before he became the Samuel Fergusson Professor.
Professor Ward’s theological work reflects his interests in critical theory; he has written on Barth, Derrida and the Language of Theology, on theology and political thought, on postmodernism and on radical orthodoxy. He has a particular interest in the role of theology (and of theologians) in our increasingly secular, arguably post-ecclesial age; he has written about cultural transformation and religious practice and on God and beauty. In an interview in 2008 he explained that pedagogically he sees his role and function as a theologian as apologetic—to explain and describe the world from the Christian perspective. Ecclesiologically, he sees the theologian as one who looks outwards from the church, straddling the boundary between the sacred and the secular.
As Chairman of the Board of the Faculty of Theology, I am delighted to welcome Graham back to Oxford as the Regius Professor of Divinity; as a Canon of this cathedral, I take much pleasure in the appointment of a scholar priest of such distinction to this Canon Professorship.
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