Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology
Photo has been edited - PACT buildings and Canberra surrounds

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

Speaking of the One God: a Christian-Muslim dialogue

09 Oct 2018

Speaking of the One God: a Christian-Muslim dialogue

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? How might different religious traditions speak of the one God? Are there divine attributes that Christians and Muslims have in common? What might these two religions of the world learn from one another? How might they work together for a more just and peaceful society?These were just some of the questions on...

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Scriptural reasoning project

08 Oct 2018

Scriptural reasoning project

PaCT’s Scriptural Reasoning Australia Project was launched in September. Commencing at Cambridge in the late 1990s, and now with centres across the globe and a designated journal, Scriptural Reasoning is a process that seeks to build scholarly dialogue across religious traditions. PaCT is bringing together Christian and Muslims scholars in a series of seminars on themes such as ‘Adam’ and...

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PaCT research grant winners

08 Oct 2018

PaCT research grant winners

The PaCT Strategic Research Committee received a number of outstanding applications for 2019 PaCT Research Grants. PaCT research grants are competitive and, while modest in sum, provide support for scholars to pursue research the Committee considers valuable and relevant to the PaCT research agenda. We congratulate and wish the following recipients well: Scott Cowdell (Girard, Milbank and ontological violence), Jane...

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Theology and ethics in the anthropocene

08 Oct 2018

Theology and ethics in the anthropocene

That we have passed from the Holocene to the Anthropocene Epoch marks a staggering turning point in the history of the Earth system. Humanity’s impact on the planet has become so profound that we are now the equivalent of an Epoch-shaping ‘force of nature’. A reconsideration of how to conceive of our relationship with the Earth is critical to our...

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Prof Bruce Stevens presents on aged prisoner interventions at Toronto Conf

08 Oct 2018

Prof Bruce Stevens presents on aged prisoner interventions at Toronto Conf

I went to the IFA Conference Toronto 8-10 August 2018 to present our systematic review on aged prisoner interventions (published in Australasian Journal on Ageing late 2017). This research was sponsored by the Salvation Army Age Care Plus and the team included Rhonda Shaw, Peter Bewert, Mavis Salt and our two research assistants Rebecca Alexander and Brendan Loo Gee. I...

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