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The women shaping Digital Theology #IWD2021

by Matt Batten

Editor's Note: Yesterday was the funeral of one of the earliest pioneers of digital theology, Dr Bex Lewis. We remember Bex. We honour her memory on International Women's Day and her role in supporting GWL (Gathering of Women Leaders). If you want to watch Bex's funeral, including a moving addresses by Revd Bryony Taylor and Andrew Graystone then you can do so here. Bex was an inspiration to us all and we thank all those who have helped us to remember her. #BeMoreBex.

Having recently started a Masters in Digital Theology at Spurgeon’s College, I have been pleasantly surprised at just how many women are shaping the conversation of digital theology.

Course tutors Pete Phillips and Jonas Kurlberg encourage students to raise up the voices of women and black and minority ethnic people researching digital theology.

So, for International Women’s Day, #IWD2021, here’s my introduction to some of the women who are leading the way in digital theology.

Nona Jones

I first heard Nona speak at Premier Digital conference and came away feeling hugely inspired! Nona is Head of Faith-Based Ministry at Facebook and her book, From Social Media to Social Ministry, is required reading for anyone involved in church communication. It will transform the way you minister online

Here she is talking about social media as a way of connecting people through their faith.

Professor Heidi Campbell

Heidi is professor of Communication at Texas A&M University where she teaches media studies. Her research focuses on how religion is translated and transformed by digital cultures and the influence of digital and mobile technologies on Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

In this interview Heidi discusses her book Networked Theology which she co-authored with Stephen Garner. She explores how new technology and theology can help us understand the place of religion in an age of new media.

Professor Maggi Dawn

Maggi, a stalwart of emerging expressions of Church, Greenbelt and all things creative, is Principal at St Mary’s College and Professor of Theology at Durham University and formerly Professor of Theology at Yale. She contributed to the book Missio Dei in a Digital Age (Kurlberg and Phillips, 2020) where she explored the impact of digital engagement on worship practices. In this video, Maggi is joined by Drs Alex Chow and Pete Phillips to discuss mission in a post-covid world.

Dr Pauline Hope Cheong

I’m a big fan of the Religious Studies Podcast and was delighted to hear Pauline’s interview on the topic of religious authority and the impact of social media. Who holds the power and authority in digitally mediated religion? Is it the cleric, the theologian or the Wikipedia editor?

Pauline is Professor & Director of Engagement and Innovation at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Dr Katherine G. Schmidt

A Catholic scholar pioneering new ways of engaging in digital ways and providing an authentically Catholic voice in her exploration of digital sacramentalism in her new book Virtual Communion. How does the church navigate and negotiate digital culture to bring the gospel to the modern world? This interview is a great introduction to virtual theology?

Katherine is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Molloy College.

Frida Mannerfelt

Frida is a priest in the Swedish Lutheran Church and a doctoral student in practical theology and church history at Stockholm School of Theology. She also lectures at Lund University. She was part of a panel looking at evangelism in digital age which I very much enjoyed, especially her point about the importance of peer-to-peer evangelism in the digital space.

This isn’t an exhaustive list merely a jumping off point to introduce you to some of the female voices in the digital theology space.

Who would be on your list? Tweet us at @premierdigi or follow us on Facebook.

Matt Batten is the Director of Communication and Engagement at the Diocese of Llandaff, Church in Wales.


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