Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

Welcome to PACT

Our mission

The Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT) is focused on public and contextually informed theological research and engagement with issues of national and global significance. PACT has a history of collaborative research by scholars of many religious traditions and a commitment to future inclusion and expansion.

Parliament House Canberra

A founding member of the Global Network for Public Theology, PACT is committed to becoming the lead centre in the Asia-Pacific region for research at the interface of theology and public issues. The rich intellectual traditions of diverse faiths, along with their abiding focus on questions of human value, are interwoven in our Research Streams with discourses on ethnicity, politics, gender, economics, ecology, and much more.

Situated in the national capital, PACT aims to contribute to the public good, in Australia and beyond, through research, scholarly publications and public engagement.

Strategic research areas  2017 to 2021

PACT scholars are involved in a variety of research fields. Among them, three key areas of research activity have been identified for 2017-2021.

Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia

Given Australia's changing religious demographics, the close interaction between people of different faiths in the major cities and now also in regional Australia, and the significant attention paid to religious radicalisation by government, police and the media, this area of research is highly relevant.

PACT's close relationship with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) means that CSU is one of the few universities in Australia able to draw Christian and Muslim theologians together under the auspices of one Centre to produce collaborative research output.

Areas of research activity include:

  • the history of relations between Christians and Muslims
  • religious instruction in schools
  • Islamophobia
  • religious radicalisation and refugee policy.

Religious Social Service Agencies

The social service agencies of religious institutions receive substantial government funding. These agencies are already a large sector of the social service economy in Australia and are expanding with the implementation of the NDIS. They represent the most significant public connection between religion and government in Australian society.

Research is tailored toward assessing the impact of public expenditure in the social service economy via religious institutions and toward the interests of churches and religious agencies by assessing the theory and practice of their social service activities.


Religion, Ethics and the Anthropocene

Effective action on climate change calls for religious as well as political leadership. A reconsideration of how economists, ethicists and particularly the religions have conceived of humanity's relationship to the planet is critical.

PACT has developed the Religion, Ethics and the Anthropocene project, drawing together:

  • theologians
  • ethicists
  • scientists
  • and public policy experts.

The principal participants are committed to a thorough reconsideration of the legacy of their respective disciplines and traditions, and to fresh theology, philosophy and ethics to help us understand what it means to be human in the potentially devastating Anthropocene Epoch.

Latest News

PACT scholar published in Fin Review

03 Apr 2018

PACT scholar published in Fin Review

Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre Scholar Rev'd Canon Scott Cowdell was recently published in The Australian Financial Review about the Australian Cricket ball-tampering scandal. His piece, 'Cricket cheats treat on the sacred' was published on the 28th March and is republished below. Cricket cheats tread on the sacredForget Holy Week and Easter, because what counts as truly sacred has been revealed in Cape Town.Cricket officials have intoned a sober.

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Reformed Theology and Ethics Today – Clive Pearson

13 Mar 2018

 Reformed Theology and Ethics Today – Clive Pearson

Reformed Theology and Ethics Today – Clive Pearson Imagining A Way, edited by PACT Research Fellow Clive Pearson, is an acclaimed collection of essays, from globally credentialed contributors, exploring practical theology and ethics within the Reformed tradition today. Discover more here..

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The Vehement Jesus – David Neville

13 Mar 2018

The Vehement Jesus – David Neville

PACT Research Fellow David Neville’s recently published examination of Gospel passages which appear to challenge the notion that the message and mission of Jesus was inherently peaceful is a timely contribution to both Gospel and Peace studies. Find out more about David’s book here..

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PACT and the International Journal of Public Theology

29 Jan 2018

PACT and the International Journal of Public Theology

CSU’s Public & Contextual Theology Research Centre is now hosting the International Journal of Public Theology. PACT Professorial Fellow Clive Pearson is the journal’s new Editor-in-Chief and PACT Assistant Director Peter Walker is now Assistant Editor. The International Journal of Public Theology, produced by the highly regarded E J Brill Publishers in the Netherlands, is a premier journal in its field.The first edition published under PACT’s oversight was dedicated to.

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PACT research fellow writes about the Royal Commission on ABC Religion and Ethics

09 Jan 2018

PACT research fellow writes about the Royal Commission on ABC Religion and Ethics

PACT research fellow Dr Virginia Ingram has written about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on the ABC Religion and Ethics website. Her article is titled 'Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church in Australia: What the Royal Commission Tells Us'. Her article was also published on The Italian Insider.Dr Ingram is currently research the Royal Commission..

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