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Community and commitment in the Church of England

Revell, Lynn (2000) Community and commitment in the Church of England. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94607) (KAR id:94607)

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This thesis is a case study of two Church of England congregations in Kent. It describes and analyses the members’ understanding of their commitment to the church and the relationships forged within it. Members of the church congregations were found to be unwilling to participate in evangelism and were uncertain about sharing their commitment with either friends, family or a future generation. The most active core members of the church did not hold any shared religious or moral belief to be an essential aspect of their commitment to the church. Instead they celebrated diversity and difference within their own church and within the church more generally. The thesis examines the nature of the congregations’ religious commitment in the light of the decline of mainstream religion and the growth of New Age spirituality. It places the congregations’ understanding of community in the context both of the classical understanding of community and the contemporary debate between communitarianism and liberalism. The thesis argues that the members of the two congregations held in common a clear understanding of the importance of community. Moreover core members defined their community in terms of belonging rather than of a particular shared set of beliefs. The thesis concludes that although members use traditional language to describe the nature of their community, those communities have little in common with those imagined by classical sociology, and members’ commitment to the two churches could be characterised as an entirely contemporary expression of religiosity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Furedi, Frank
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94607
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Evangelism; New Age; Spirituality; Religiosity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 14:07 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2022 14:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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