Competing Christian Identities

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Katherine Kelaidis


Call for Papers:

Competing Christian Identities


Much of what is at the heart of the contemporary crisis within Christianity might best be understood as the trouble of competing identities. Certainly, the most visible conflicts surround issues of gender and sexuality.  For example, apologists for the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine have sought to justify the war, at least in part, by arguing that contemporary Western liberalism, particularly as it relates to sexual and gender identity, is incompatible with a Slavic and/or Orthodox identity.  Consequently, this rhetoric has both been produced by and exacerbated existing divisions within the Orthodox world. Similarly, the 2022 Lambeth Conference was defined by the boiling over of deep disagreements within the Anglican communion regarding sexuality and gender, which were expressed in stronger terms than ever before. 


Far from being limited to the politics of gender and sexuality, Christian identities are shaped and complicated in a plethora of diverse ways to significant consequence. Aside from inter-ecclesial issues, ecumenical relations between churches reconsider identity and pose questions relating to purity and pollution vis a vis the religious other. For some, Christians the negotiation of religious-cultural memory between diasporic communities and 'homebound' ones is fraught with challenges and may result in a personal hierarchy of identities to be negotiated, expressed or hidden in particular circumstances. Moreover, the impact of competing identities on the Church and individual Christians is not limited to our contemporary moment, but instead has been a continuous feature of Christian history. Thus this conference seeks to explore competing, contested identities within the Christian Churches both historically and in the contemporary moment as a way of better understanding how various narratives of self and community act to influence Christian theology and practice in a variety of contexts. 


Paper Presentations:

We invite abstracts (of no more than 500 words) for paper presentations of 20 minutes from scholars, students, clergy, and laity addressing any aspect of the role of competing identities, broadly defined, in the shaping of Christian theology or practice from any tradition or time period for inclusion in a conference tentatively entitled Competing Christian Identities,to be held inCambridge in the Summer of 2024.  We are particularly eager for papers which bring different periods and/or traditions into dialogue with each other.


Roundtable Presentations:

We invite abstracts of no more than 500 words for short papers to be circulated before our event and presented by the author in a roundtable format. With an eye to the context of our venue, round table presentations should focus specifically on issues related to Orthodox-Anglican dialogue, broadly defined.  Presentation of these papers is designed to provoke conversation among presenters and participants. The presentation of the pre-circulated paper is limited to four minutes and may serve either as a restatement of the paper, a response to another paper or a further exploration of  related themes  to the pre-circulated paper. Roundtable papers respond to the prompts found below. 


Roundtable topics include, but are not limited to the following:

Issues of identity in Orthodox-Anglican Dialogue in 20th-century America

Gender and Sexuality in Orthodox-Anglican Dialogue

The Meaning of  Ecumenical Dialogue for a “National” Church


Please submit abstracts by 30 November 2023 to 

Those wishing to discuss their contribution in advance of submitting an abstract are welcome to contact Fr. David-John Williams at or  Dr. Katherine Kelaidis at