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Centre for English Identity and Politics

Faith and England's national identities

‘Faith and England’s national identities’ is a CEIP project offering a distinctive contribution to its larger goal of greater understanding of this evolution of contemporary English and British national identities.

The project seeks to generate new theological and religious insights into the current crises and opportunities facing English - and British - national identity and disseminate them among religious communities, the wider public and the academy. It is based on the conviction that England's religious communities need not be passive bystanders as England’s national identity develops in the future. Such communities have untapped potential to shape that identity in creative, constructive, critical but also reconciling ways.

Christian churches and other faith communities have lacked adequate resources and resolve to make effective contributions to debates about the development of English identity. The project seeks to bring Christian and other faith-based voices, hitherto often unheard, to this critical debate over national identity. It thus seeks to fill a discursive 'faith-gap' in what is a difficult and often elusive national conversation. At a time of mounting uncertainty on the question of what it means to be 'English' and ‘British’, faith communities have important offerings to make, alongside and in dialogue with other civil society voices.

The project will commission, coordinate and disseminate a range of original, rigorous and accessible resources and convene online and in person events. Contributors will primarily come from England but will include others from the rest of the UK.  

Steering group


The project is over seen by a steering group whose members are:

  • Prof Andrew Bradstock, Emeritus Professor, Department of Philosophy, Religions and Liberal Arts, University of Winchester
  • Dr Jonathan Chaplin, Fellow of Wesley House, Cambridge
  • Prof John Denham, Director, CEIP
  • Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal, Reader in Sikh Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Jenny Leith, Centre for World Christianity, University of Cambridge
  • Ibrahim Mogra - Leicester-based Imam, former Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
  • Krish Raval OBE, Visiting Research Fellow in Leadership Development, St Benet's Hall, Oxford and Director of ‘Faith in Leadership’
  • Dr George Wilkes, Director, Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace, University of Birmingham, and Hon Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Faith and England’s National Identity has received a grant for administrative costs from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust. 

Posts from the faith and national identities project


Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP

Title of paper: Faith and Being English

The author welcomes the affirmation by this project of the potential for faith groups in England to contribute to a new understanding of our national identity.

Faith and England’s national identities project Steering Group

Title of paper: 'Faith and England’s national identities: encouraging theological reflection on being English - a research agenda

An introduction to this project from its steering group, setting out how and why England's religious communities can contribute constructively, creatively and positively to new understandings of national identity. 

Tariq Modood 

Title of paper: 'Can multiculturalism contribute to de-polarising the current political polarisation?

While monocultural nationalism divides people and contributes to political polarisation, multicultural nationalism can bring people together and reduce that polarisation. 

Jenny Leith

By reflecting critically on its history, particularly its support for imperialist expansion and the transatlantic slave trade, the Church of England can contribute to a better conversation about national identity. 

Tim Winter

Title of paper: Some thoughts on the Islam-and-England synergy

Has the United Kingdom become a sensible exception to wider European trends, as it isolates itself through Brexit from the dangerous recrudescence of ancient hatreds apparent on the Continent?