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

Introducing PaCT's "Theology and Public Engagement" Podcast

03 Feb 2020

Introducing PaCT's

The Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia has launched a podcast called Theology and Public Engagement.In September 2019 the UK Professor of Politics Adrian Pabst, who is a leading thinker in the ‘Blue Labour’ movement, visited Australia. The assistant director of the Centre, Dr Jonathan Cole, and communications officer Katherine Waite sat down...

Discover more

PaCT Fellow interviewed on Discipleship

16 Jan 2020

PaCT Fellow interviewed on Discipleship

PaCT scholar Dr Michael Mawson was recently interviewed by Love - Rinse/Repeat's Liam Miller on Discipleship.Dr Mawson is Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology & Ethics at Charles Sturt University teaching at the United Theological College in Sydney. He received his PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, USA. He previously taught for seven years at the...

Discover more

PaCT Fellow Conference Presentation

16 Jan 2020

PaCT Fellow Conference Presentation

PaCT scholar Virginia Miller has been invited to give a presentation at the conference, “Truly with you wisdom dies (Job 12:2). Irony and ambiguity in the books of Ecclesiastes and Job” to be held on the 19th-20th of March at the University of Vienna. Her presentation is "Job as a Satire: Call and Response" and will be the only...

Discover more

Book News: Before Belief - Discovering First Spiritual Awareness

16 Jan 2020

Book News: Before Belief - Discovering First Spiritual Awareness

Congratulations to PaCT Fellow Professor Bruce A. Stevens whose book Before Belief: Discovering First Spiritual Awareness has been published by Lexington Books.ABOUT THIS BOOKFirst things are spiritually and theologically important. Before Belief explores the precognitive human experience of transcendence, illuminating how such foundational experiences are formative of attachment relationships with people and ultimately with God. The book proposes an implicit...

Discover more

Book News: Leaning into the Spirit

08 Jan 2020

Book News: Leaning into the Spirit

Congratulations to PaCT Fellow Dr Virginia Miller and PaCT Director Rt Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard who together with The Most Rev'd David Moxon, have edited a new ecumenical book published by Palgrave Macmillan.Leaning into the Spirit: Ecumenical Perspectives on Discernment and Decision-making in the Church is part of a series on Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. According...

Discover more

All news