Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo

Senior Fellow, Religion and Security

Patrick Sookhdeo is the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity and International Director of the Barnabas Fund. He is an outspoken spokesman for persecuted Christian minorities around the world. Sookhdeo is a commentator on jihadist ideology, and has lectured British and NATO military officers on radical Islam

In 1967 he pursued studies at London Bible College (now the London School of Theology) and went on to obtain a Doctorate from the London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. During that time Sookhdeo began exploring inter-faith dialogue and became increasingly concerned by the brutality being leveled at Christian minorities in Islamic nations, and the Islamic death penalties for conversion from Islam.[1]

In 1975 with his wife Rosemary, Dr Sookhdeo founded “In Contact Ministries” now called Servants Fellowship International, promoting evangelism and compassionate ministries in multi-cultural urban contexts in the UK. And in 1989, Sookhdeo created the London-based Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, and this saw the creation of a global database on extremist movements and ideologies whose followers were persecuting religious minorities across the Muslim world.

Dr Sookhdeo was awarded the 2001 Coventry Cathedral International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation. TheSyriac Orthodox Church has awarded him St. Ignatius Theophoros’ Decoration as Commander. He is also Chorepiscopus in the Syriac Orthodox Church.

He is Dean Theologian of the Diocese of Abuja Province, Nigeria , and ordained in the Church of Pakistan. Dr Sookhdeo is non- residentiary canon of Khyber Diocese, Pakistan. He has been a pastor, evangelist and Bible teacher for 40 years.

He is the author of numerous papers and author/editor of several books, including Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam and Understanding Islamist Terrorism.

Dr. Martin Davie

Senior Research Fellow, Religions and Human Rights Policy

Dr Martin Davie obtained the top first in theology at Oxford in 1984. He was awarded his Oxford D. Phil in 1993 for a thesis on the development of British Quaker Theology which was subsequently published by Edwin Mellen.

Dr Davie has taught theology at Oak Hill College, London and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and has written extensively in the fields of doctrine, Church history, ecumenical theology and sexual ethics. From 2000-2013 he worked as the Secretary to the Faith and Order Commission, the Theological Secretary to the Council for Christian Unity and the Theological Consultant to the House of Bishops of the Church of England.

He is currently academic consultant to the Church of England Evangelical Council and the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.

Dr Davie is married to the Revd Alyson Davie who is Priest in Charge of the parishes of Meopham with Nurstead in the Diocese of Rochester.

Rebecca Samuel Shah

Research Fellow, Faith and Economics

In addition to being a research fellow with OCRPL, Rebecca Samuel Shah is also a research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and an associate scholar with the Berkley Center’s Religious Freedom Project. Shah is the project leader of a research initiative on religion, entrepreneurship, and economic development in the modern world, entitled “Holy Avarice: Religion and the Re-enchantment of Modern Capitalism,” which is funded by the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs program of the Historical Society in Boston. Shah is also the principal investigator for a research project on the effects of tithing and thrift on the enterprising poor in Bangalore, India, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. In 2011, she conducted groundbreaking empirical research on the role of Pentecostalism among Dalit women in India. Her essay “Pentecost Amid Pujas: Charismatic Christianity in the Lives of Dalit Women in 21st Century Bangalore” appeared inGlobal Pentecostalism in the 21st Century ( 2013). Shah was also a part of the Christianity and Freedom Project headed by the Berkley Center’s Religious Freedom Project.

An analyst of the relationship between religion and economics and an expert on the statistical assessment of development projects in the global South, Shah holds a B.S. in Economics and Economic History and a M.S. in Demography, both from the London School of Economics.

In 2010, at the invitation of sociologist of religion Peter Berger and under the auspices of Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Shah authored a chapter entitled, “How Evangelicalism — including Pentecostalism — Helps the Poor: The Role of Spiritual Capital,” which appeared in Gordon Redding and Peter Berger, eds., The Hidden Forms of Spiritual Capital: Spiritual Influences in Societal Progress (2010). Shah also authored a chapter for the volume, Local Ownership, Global Change: Will Civil Society Save the World? (2002), entitled “Faith, Community, and Development: Christian Micro-Finance and Civil Society in South India,” a field and analytical study of the impact of Christian spirituality and Christian community on micro-level economic performance in Bangalore, India. In addition, Shah’s work has appeared in various journals, including Transformation, Third Way, Society and the Journal of Church and State.

Robert Woodberry

Research Fellow, Political Science and Sociology

Bob Woodberry’s research looks at the long-term impact of missionaries and different colonial governments on education, economic development and democracy in post-colonial societies. Other research interests include the spread of religious liberty, the international diffusion of social movements, religious influences on political institutions and the economy, religious attitudes of elites, religious tolerance, conservative Protestants, and measuring religious groups on surveys.

With grants from Lilly, NSF, SSSR, RRA, and ASR, he is constructing a dataset of virtually all Protestant and Catholic missionary activity from 1813 to 1968. This includes data about most formal education and medical work in the nonwestern world during this period. Because the data are spatially located, they can be adjusted to match any modern national or provincial boundaries. He is also collecting data on missionary death rates to determine how life expectancies of Europeans in the colonies influenced investment patterns and levels of colonial abuses.

Dr Nick Ridley

Dr Nick Ridley is a Visiting Lecturer in Security at Liverpool John Moores University

He served 22 years as an intelligence analyst at New Scotland Yard London and at EUROPOL in the Hague Netherlands.

Nick has gained two Phds in international relations, and in international efforts against terrorist financing.

He has externally examined doctorate theses at several UK universities and has taught postgraduates at London Metropolitan University, Italian universities of  Milan and Teramo,  Hague University, Netherlands, lectured at the NATO Centre Defence against Terrorism and to security personnel in Nigeria, Rwanda and Abu Dhabi. He is the author of three books on terrorism.

Dr. Joshva Raja John

Co-Dean and Research Supervisor Mission in the Public Space

Dr. Joshva Raja John was an Associate Professor at the United Theological College, Bangalore. He had his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Raja John taught at Selly Oak Centre for Mission Studies and was a research fellow and research supervisor for the University of Birmingham, the University of Gloucestershire and the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently an academic director for the Barnabas Fund and Co-Dean of OCRPL. He is also an Emeritus Canon of the Birmingham Cathedral.

Dr. Raja John has published and edited a number of books in the area of media, communication and mission, theological education and global Christianity.

Dr. Raja John is married to Mrs. Rachel Raja JT and has two children Angeline and Jessica. Dr. Raja John is also an honorary clergy of the Church of England Parish at Seend Salisbury Diocese.

Dr Prasad D R J Phillips

Distance Learning Coordinator and Tutor

He is a theological educator since 1998, equipping church and mission leaders.  He completed his Graduate and Postgraduate studies in Philosophy from Madras University. After earning his BD, was involved in grass-root level theological training. He then completed his MTh in Missiology; both degrees are from Serampore University. Thereafter, was involved in equipping Christian leaders in India and elsewhere through theological education by extension (TEE). He earned his PhD in World Christianity, the University of Edinburgh in 2018.

He is married to Dr Premila Phillips, currently working with NHS as a speciality doctor and they have a teenage son Arpith Phillips.

Currently he serves OCPRL as a Distance Learning Coordinator and Tutor with a research interests in World Christianity, Missiology and Practical Theology.

Timothy Shah

Senior Fellow on Religion and State

Sudhir Selvaraj

Programme and Research Fellow, South Asia