Faith/Secular Partnerships in a Post COVID-19 Policy Landscape: A Critical Case Study of Deepening Postsecularity in the Temple Tradition

Baker, Christopher. 2023. Faith/Secular Partnerships in a Post COVID-19 Policy Landscape: A Critical Case Study of Deepening Postsecularity in the Temple Tradition. Journal of Church and State, 65(4), pp. 396-407. ISSN 0021-969X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the relevance of Archbishop William Temple's thought and leadership for understanding the new policy space that, as a result of the pandemic, has invited discussion about religion and belief. National research carried out by the author during COVID-19 highlighted the emergence of new and productive partnerships between faith groups and secular local authorities based on enhanced trust, communication, and innovation. Three elements of the COVID-19 experience were instrumental in supporting these enhanced partnerships: the discovery of shared values leading to shared outcomes; the emphasis on co-creation rather than co-production; and the exercise of “kenotic” leadership. Each of these three elements is recontextualized into Temple's theology and leadership. For example, Temple's derivative principles of fellowship, freedom, and service which flow as a response to God's unconditional love for humankind, and his curation of the Malvern conference in 1941 on the theme of the “The Life of the Church and the Order of Society.” The article concludes that is the theological and political category of reciprocity that the Temple tradition highlights, which can be developed for future partnerships working across religious and secular difference.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Religious, Secular, COVID-19, partnership, policy, reciprocity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society


14 September 2023Accepted
28 November 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Sep 2023 08:29

Last Modified:

19 Dec 2023 14:03

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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