Exploring Faith, Religion, and Society in Sydney’s CBD

 St James’ Institute fosters rational, informed discussions of religion. The Institute is based in Sydney and hosts workshops, lectures, and book discussion groups featuring leading historians, poets, religion writers, judges, and theologians.

St James’ Institute is an inclusive educational organisation. We support people from many paths — those seeking God, those questioning faith, and those who simply wish to be better informed.

St James’ Institute is deeply engaged in interreligious dialogue. We are Christians who celebrate human diversity. We face difference in an open and friendly atmosphere. Many of our seminars feature multiple points of view.

St James’ Institute Director

Dr Aaron Ghiloni (BA, MA, PhD, GradCert) is a religious studies scholar. He lectures in religion at the University of Queensland, where he is a Senior Honorary Research Fellow.

Dr Ghiloni is the author of John Dewey among the Theologians (2012) and Islam as Education (2019), and the editor of World Religions and their Missions (2015, 2022). He is Associate Editor of Religious Education.

Aaron is concurrently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology and previously taught theology at Australian Catholic University.

Announcement of 2021 Programme

Life is complex. Being Christian does not change that. If anything, the paradoxes of the grave-to-sky faith drive us to think more deeply about meaning, ethics, and truth. Jesus’ followers were known to say, “This teaching is difficult!” (John 6:60).

The St James’ Institute faces the hard questions of life and faith. No quick fixes, no strawmen.

St James’ Institute’s 2021 programme addresses a range of difficult topics: dementia, gender and identity, dogma in a post-truth world, mission in the aftermath of colonialism, the politicisation of religious symbols, Muslim–Christian relations, death denial, etcetera. In taking on these issues, the Institute is intentional about addressing the relation between religion and society in its complexity.

But we not only face difficult questions, we face one another. We ask hard questions strengthened by our shared humanity. We laugh together. We doubt together. We believe together. We are surprised by wisdom’s multiplicity. In a community of adult learners, the tension between our sameness and our difference is an invitation to grow.

As the Institute’s new Director, my aim is to produce a programme which brings reasoned faith into conversation with broader cultural issues. This two-way engagement is a key focus of our strategic direction. Jesus’ pedagogy is both “spirit and life” (John 6:63).

I invite you to learn with us.

Dr Aaron Ghiloni

Director, St James’ Institute