Adult/Continuing Education Staff

Rev. Dr Johnston McMaster, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Reconciliation  

Johnston McMaster is adjunct assistant professor, based at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast. He is also a senior researcher with the ‘Ethical and Shared Remembering’ project at the Junction in Derry/Londonderry.  His doctorate is from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, USA on Methodist Stewardship in Irish Politics.  The research was interdisciplinary including history, theology and politics and critically examined the period from the first Home Rule Bill of 1886 to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985.

Dr McMaster’s most recent publications are Doing Community Theology (co-authored with Cathy Higgins), Overcoming Violence: Dismantling an Irish History and Theology – An Alternative Vision , Signing Up for the Covenant – But Which One? (co-authored with Cathy Higgins), and A  Passion for Justice: Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition.

 

Dr McMaster has also co-authored Communities of Reconciliation: Living Faith in the Public Place and Churches Working Together: A Practical Resource.  A co-authored chapter is included in an ISE Festschrift, Towards a Life-Giving Ethic: Engaging Biblical Texts of Violence in the Violent Context of Northern Ireland.  He is the author of Churches on the Edge: Responding Creatively to a Changing Time and has contributed chapters to publications and journals on Ethical Remembering: Commemoration in a New Context, Living Towards the Vision: A Theological Praxis of Conflict Resolution, The Role of Religion in Making Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, An Inter-Religious Cartography of Peace.

Dr McMaster has been involved in the development of a community education programme for Northern Ireland and the Border Counties.  This includes the development of teaching methodologies, curriculum design and delivery.  He has lectured inEastern Europe,Sri Lanka,South Koreaand theUSAand has been involved in the development of inter-church fora inNorthern Ireland.  He has also been engaged as consultant with statutory and voluntary sectors inNorthern Irelandand chairs a number of initiatives as well as working collaboratively with community relations networks.

Dr McMaster’s areas of interest and on-going research include reconciliation and peacebuilding, socio-political hermeneutics, empire studies, faith after Christendom, Celtic Christianity and spirituality, ethical remembering, social ethics and inter-faith dialogue.  He is currently engaged in researching and writing a book on Skills for a Ministry of Reconciliation, and has planned another on Decommissioning a Culture of Violence: Towards an Irish theology of Active Non-Violence.  Forthcoming contributions to publications will include Hikma, Hokmah, Sophia as an Abrahamic Ethic for Life: Fethullah Gülen in Dialogue with the Wisdom Traditions of Judaism and Christianity, On Fire with the Justice of God: Re-reading Romans as a Political Proclamation Towards a Desired Future and Acknowledging the Past Through Visioning the Future.

Areas of expertise

Celtic spirituality and contemporary social ethics, communities of reconciliation, religion and violence, the shape of faith in a post-Christendom era, peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, socio-political biblical hermeneutics

Dr Cathy Higgins, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Reconciliation

Cathy Higgins is adjunct assistant professor, based at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast. She is also a senior researcher with the ‘Ethical and Shared Remembering’ project at the Junction in Derry/Londonderry.  She has degrees from Queen’s University, Belfast and Trinity College, Dublin. Her doctorate is from San Francisco Theological Seminary, USA on Deconstructing an Irish Culture of Violence: Creating Active Non-Violent Strategies from Women’s Voices and Experiences.

Dr Higgins’ most recent publications are Doing Community Theology (co-authored with Johnston McMaster), and Signing Up for the Covenant – But Which One? (co-authored with Johnston McMaster).

She has also co-authored Communities of Reconciliation: Living Faith in the Public Place and Churches Working Together: A Practical Resource. A co-authored chapter is included an ISE Festschrift, ‘Toward A Life-Giving Ethic: Engaging Biblical Texts of Violence in the Violent Context of Northern Ireland.’

Dr Higgins has been involved in the design and delivery of a range of Community Education programmes through-outNorthern IrelandandBorderCounties. She has also taught on international programmes inEastern Europe. Her teaching areas include reconciliation, feminist theologies and biblical hermeneutics. Most recently she has developed and taught a programme on Women and Peacebuilding, with an emphasis on empowering women in church and society. She has experience facilitating development with Inter-Church Fora and has worked in collaborative roles with women from inter-face areas inBelfast. As a community educator engaged in theology as praxis she has worked collaboratively with a wide range of social, voluntary and statutory networks in Northern Ireland.

Current research and curriculum design is in the area of ecclesiology, in particular around alternative models of church and faith communities as communities of resistance. She is currently researching and writing for a publication on this subject.

Areas of expertise

Community and Theology Education, Feminist Theology, Women and Peacebuilding

Eileen Gallagher, Support Officer for Church Fora, Education for Reconciliation

Information to follow …

Dr Andrew Pierce, Assistant Professor in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies, lecturing on Continuing Education in the Republic of Ireland

Dr Gladys Ganiel, Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Studies, promoting community engagement through the ‘Church Without Walls’ Blog

For more information about ISE staff who work on other programmes, click  here.