James Steven

Academic Dean, Coordinator for the Centre for Liturgy and Worship and Programme Leader for the MA in Christian Liturgy

Email: jsteven@sarum.ac.uk
+44 (0)1722 424838

My present research is stimulated by the unique contribution of the Taizé Community to questions concerning the role of Christian worship in church and society. The ability of this community to gather thousands of young pilgrims in daily prayer is an extraordinary phenomenon that interrogates our settled assumptions about the character and plausibility of public Christian prayer in a secularised context.

I also have a longstanding interest in the liturgical expressions of modern evangelicalism, which began with my PhD thesis on charismatic worship in the Church of England and then has developed more recently in my work on the innovative Anabaptist orders for daily prayer. More broadly, the deep-rooted and fascinating link between worship and theology has led me to turn my attention to early liturgies, such as the fourth-century baptismal teaching of Ambrose of Milan.

Working as Academic Dean allows me to play a key role in nurturing the vibrant educational environment of the college, a context in which my academic expertise, ministerial experience and educational skills converge. My best ideas are generated at the dynamic interface of class teaching where I work with ministerial candidates, MA students, and students on Sarum’s short courses. I place a high value on the role of tutorial supervision as an essential means for developing tentative thought into confident and compelling argument.

External Roles

Recent Lectures

  • ‘Brother Roger as Liturgical Leader’, Society for Liturgical Studies, Mirfield College, 24 August 2016.
  • ‘Trauma, Hope and Liturgical Leadership’, Truro Diocese, 29 March 2017
  • ‘Liturgy and Times of Transition’, Sarum College, Spiritual Directors Certificate course, 29 June 2017
  • ‘Taizé Common Prayer as Liminal Space’, Societas Liturgica, Leuven, 11 August 2017
  • ‘The Wisdom and Worship of Taizé’, Praxis South West, Cullompton, 14 November 2017.


  • Chapters in Reimagining Worship: Renewing Worship in a Changing Church, De Lange, A., Lloyd, T., Stratford, T., and Tarrant, I. (eds.), Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2017
  • Ambrose of Milan on Baptism: A Study of De Sacramentis and De Mysteriis, Joint Liturgical Studies, 83 (Norwich: Hymns Ancient & Modern, 2017).
  • ‘Anabaptist Daily Prayer: A Liturgical Innovation and Synthesis’, Anaphora 9.1 2015, 63-82.
  • Wrestling with a Godly Order: Encounters with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (Salisbury: Sarum College, 2015); editor.
  • ‘Tenebrae: Introducing an Ancient Service for Holy Week’ in Sunday by Sunday, Royal School of Church Music, Issue 71, December 2014, 6-9.
  • Service of the Word’, in Day, J. and Gordon-Taylor, B. (eds.), The Study of Liturgy and Worship: An Alcuin Guide (London: SPCK, 2013), 148-156.
  • Social Science Research Methods in Contemporary Liturgical Research: An Introduction, Joint Liturgical Study 39 (Norwich: Hymns Ancient & Modern, 2010); with
  • ‘The Spirit in Contemporary Charismatic Worship’ in Berger, T. and Spinks, B. D. (eds) The Spirit in Worship and Worship in the Spirit (Collegeville Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2009), 245-59
  • Worship in the Spirit: Charismatic Worship in the Church of England (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2002)


  • PhD, King’s College London: ‘Worship in the Spirit: A sociological andtheological appraisal of charismatic worship in the Church of England’  (awarded M.A. in 1987)
  • B.A. Theology, Cranmer Hall, St John’s College Durham
  • B.A. Natural Sciences, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Previous Appointments

  • Kings College London, Department of Educational and Professional Studies – Lecturer in Theology and Ministry and Programme Director of the Doctorate in Theology and Ministry (DThMin)
  • Tutor in Doctrine and Worship, Trinity College Bristol (2000-2008)
  • Director of Studies, responsible for the course management of undergraduate Theological Studies programmes at Trinity College Bristol, in partnership with Bristol Baptist College and Bristol University (2002-08)
  • Full time Chaplain at Bournemouth and Poole College of Further Education and Team Vicar in the Bournemouth Town Centre Parish. This role combined pioneering a full time chaplaincy in a large FE College with liturgical responsibilities in the parish. (1994-2000)
  • Actors’ Church Union Chaplain to Bournemouth Theatres (1991-2000)
  • Assistant curate, St. John’s with St. Michael’s, Bournemouth (1991-94)
  • Assistant curate, St John’s Church, Welling, Kent (1987-91)