Charlie Bell, Research Fellow

Charlie Bell

Research Fellow

I read theology first at St Mellitus College, and then transferred to St Augustine’s, where I completed an MA as part of my formation for ordained ministry in the Church of England. I am currently deacon and curate at St John the Divine, Kennington in the Diocese of Southwark. I am currently undertaking study on the Second Vatican Council at Domuni Universitas, Toulouse. I sit on the Board of Affirming Catholicism.

My master’s thesis focused on ‘total pain’, a concept developed by Dame Cicely Saunders, one of the founders of the hospice movement, bringing this into conversation with the theological doctrine of the communion of saints. My wider theological interests include sacramental practice, ecclesiology and ecumenism, contemporary debates on sexuality and gender, and the interface of science, medicine and theology.

I read medicine to doctoral level at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and I continue to practice as an academic psychiatrist at King’s College London and the Maudsley, as well as being the John Marks Fellow, College Lecturer and Director of Studies in Medicine at Girton College, Cambridge. My academic interests in psychiatry relate to patients with antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy, trying to elucidate possible biological mechanisms that might lead to stratification and treatment in the future. An area of crossover interest between theology and psychiatry for me is the concept of culpability – both in a legal and moral sense – and what this tells us about human flourishing and the living of the Christian life.

At St Augustine’s I have lead sessions for ordinands on mental health and theology. I review regularly for Theology journal.


  • Bell, C. J. M., Queer Holiness: the gift of LGBTQI people to the church (due to be published May 2022 by Darton, Longman and Todd)
  • Bell, C. J. M., “Witness-in-communion: a theology of existence to essence during the pandemic”, Theology, Vol 124: Issue 4, July 19th 2021
  • Bell, C. J. M., “Defining ecclesiology – alarming developments in the Church of England”,, August 24th 2020
  • Bell, C. J. M., “The Eucharistic Feast: participation, representation and sacramental integrity in the time of social distancing”,, April 24th 2020
  • Bell, C. J. M., “Towards a Trinitarian understanding of marriage: how might the unity of persons in communion help rediscover the principles of Christian marriage?”,, April 25th 2020