Theologian in Residence

Tim Davy tells us a bit about his role and what it means for him to work with Home for Good

What’s a 'Theologian in Residence' and why does Home for Good have one?

Reflecting on theology and the Bible is an ongoing task of any Christian organisation, so it is really good to continually work on how our faith impacts the work we do, and vice versa.

A Theologian in Residence is basically someone who is trained in theology and is involved in the life of an organisation to help them think theologically about their work and help the organisation explore and express their theology. So, my role is not to ‘be’ the theological voice of Home for Good, or to tell people what their theology should be; rather, I get to journey with people within Home for Good, encouraging them in the brilliant work they are doing, and help them to deepen how the Bible and theology is integrated into the work.  

How have you connected with Home for Good over the years?

We’ve followed Home for Good’s journey closely over the years and I’ve been involved in various ways, like being on the Council of Reference* in the early years as well as involvement at a local level.

Along with some other organisations, Home for Good has been a reference point for me as I’ve done my academic work, to make sure it is grounded in reality and genuinely speaks into the issues faced by young people today.

In more recent years I’ve taught an MA level intensive course on the Bible, theology and vulnerable children, which we developed in partnership with Home for Good.

I’ve learned so much through my involvement with Home for Good, so taking on this role feels like a very natural next step.

What excites you about starting this role?

There are a number of things I’m excited about as I start this role. So much I could say! To pick three things:

Firstly, I’m excited about journeying with the Home for Good team to explore how I can help to encourage and equip them in the brilliant work they are already doing. I’m also excited to be part of conversations where I can apply my learning to really practical, complex and urgent issues.

Thirdly, I’m excited to find ways of drawing in and amplifying the voices of others (particularly those who are care-experienced) so we can enrich even more the way Home for Good’s work connects with theology and the Church.  

How does an understanding of theology connect to finding a home for every child who needs one?

    I think theology helps us to see in more and more ways that it truly matters to God that children and young people are marginalised, discriminated against and in places of vulnerability. One of my favourite writers talks about how praising the God of justice necessarily obligates the Church to work out that commitment in society.

    But I think as well that theology has a role to play not just in inspiring the Church to act, but in ensuring that those actions are carried out within a Christian community that understands that there are no simple fixes to some of the issues faced by care-experienced children. We need good theology to build resilience and to process pain as well as to process and express joy.  

    What have you already learned as you've studied the Bible?

    It's been suggested that when we read the Bible, we overlook certain people - just like how we can overlook people in our society today. As I’ve tried to pay more attention to children and young people in the Bible (many of whom were very vulnerable), I’m struck again by God’s heart for the marginalised, whether children or adults. I’m also struck that it isn’t a one-way thing; that children and young people are not just passive recipients of God’s purposes, but can play an active role, maybe even in ways that us adults can’t or won’t do.  

    What does family mean to you?

    To me, family means so many things: belonging, welcome, support, love, grace, kindness, fun, forgiveness. A safe place to be yourself and to grow in the purposes God has for you. A place where you can share your joys and sorrows together. A place where small acts done in Jesus’ name matter. One of my favourite theologians, speaking at a young child’s baptism, puts it beautifully: Each small act of kindness flickers with a little of Heaven’s light, brightening the world, gradually dispelling the false ideas we hold about ourselves and others… We fulfil our responsibility whenever, through our words and actions, he feels how infinitely precious he is in God’s sight, whenever we enable him to glimpse something of God’s dream when forming him in the womb.  

    What are your hopes for the future with Home for Good?

    There are so many ways I’d love to see the theology conversation grow and extend through the work of Home for Good. Where to start?!

    I’d love to see more theology done by the care-experienced, and not just for the care-experienced.

    I’d love to see more and more diverse theological voices speaking into issues around the care system.

    I’d love to see more work done on a theology of foster care.

    I’d love to see the needs and perspectives of vulnerable children factored into every youthwork qualification, theology degree, and ministerial training programme.

    I’d love to see more theological work done on themes like trauma and resilience to help churches become more and more equipped to support families. I could go on!


    *In the early years of Home for Good the Council of Reference were gathered to advise and help shape our work and strategy. They were a fantastic collection of skilled and experienced individuals who each brought insight and support in a key area as we were establishing as a charity.

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    More about Tim Davy

    Dr Tim Davy is Lecturer and Head of Research and Consultancy at All Nations Christian College, where he teaches and researches on two main areas: the missional interpretation of the Bible, and vulnerable children in the Bible and contemporary society. 

    He has a long-standing interest in how vulnerable children feature in the Bible, including an MA dissertation on the widow, orphan and alien in the book of Deuteronomy, and a PhD thesis on a missional reading of the book of Job, which included looking at vulnerable children in the book. This was published in 2020 as The Book of Job and the Mission of God: A Missional Reading. 

    Tim has also written a number of articles/chapters including: ‘Hope for and Through Vulnerable Children in the Old Testament’; ‘Orphan (World Christianity)’ entry in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception; ‘Connecting a Missional Reading of Psalm 10 with the Trafficking, Abuse, and Exploitation of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in Europe’; ‘Vulnerable Children, the missio Dei, and the Digital Sphere’; ‘Hostility, Hospitality and Hope: A Biblical Reflection on Two Displaced Children’; and (co-written) ‘Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children: Shaping A Church Response’. He is also working on a book on vulnerable children in the Old Testament. 

    Author:
    Home for Good


    Date published:
    April 2022


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