Engaging with Poverty in the Early Church and Today

29/09/2015 3:00 pm


This conference is a collaborative project of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Tearfund and Caritas (Diocese of Westminster). 

Date: 9am Friday 4 December – 5:30pm Saturday 5 December 2015
Location: Waldegrave Drawing Room, St Mary’s University, Twickenham
Registration: £75 (£50 for students, people on benefits, senior citizens)
Booking: (external booking site)

Poverty is a major issue in today’s world, and its alleviation and elimination are rightly high on the agenda of governments, churches, and concerned people worldwide. This interdisciplinary and international conference will advance reflection and action on poverty.

The conference conversations themselves are deeply rooted in the mutual relationship between early Christianity and today’s world. We shall achieve this by bringing together in dialogue experts in early Christianity and in modern strategies for alleviating poverty, to enable people today to understand and engage with poverty.

Speakers will address the issues in accessible ways for those involved with charitable bodies, churches, and mission and development agencies. Each session will focus on a theme seen from both the modern world and early Christianity. Further conversation, discussion, debate and questions will promote good dialogue.

We want to ‘put our money where our mouth is’, and so part of the registration fee will contribute to the work of Riverbank Trust, a local charity which works with vulnerable single mums and their families in Richmond. There will also be opportunity during the conference to contribute to this work.


  • Poverty and its causes
  • Benefaction: what it is and what it looks like
  • Patronage and being patronised
  • Raising funds in one place, giving to another
  • Poverty, choice and dehumanisation
  • The ‘undeserving poor’: a problematic category
  • State, church and civil society: who is responsible for the poor?
  • ‘The poor will always be among you’


  • Prof John Barclay, University of Durham
  • Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  • Prof Lynn Cohick, Wheaton College, Illinois, USA
  • John Coleby, Caritas (Diocese of Westminster)
  • The Revd Dr Fiona Gregson, Birmingham
  • Prof Christopher Hays, Fundación Universitaria Seminario Bíblico de Colombia
  • Helen Hekel, Tearfund coordinator for sexual violence work
  • Ellie Hughes, Riverside Trust, Richmond
  • Prof Bruce Longenecker, Baylor University, USA
  • Virginia Luckett, Tearfund UK churches director
  • Dr Hannah Swithinbank, Tearfund integral mission team
  • Dr Myrto Theocharous, Greek Bible College, Athens, Greece
  • Stephen Timms, MP, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Prof Steve Walton, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Photo Credit

© Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund


Poverty Conference Poster

Poverty Conference Poster final.pdf 2.11 MB

Details for the Engaging with Poverty in the Early Church and Today conference.