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 a priest and assistant curate at St John the Divine, Kennington in the Diocese of Southwark, whilst also holding permission to officiate in Ely Diocese. I am currently completing 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 – an expanded version of this work is due out as a book with SCM Press this year. 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 am currently completing a manuscript on the concept of unity in Anglican polity, and am also working on a further piece of queer 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.


  • “Light to those in darkness: total pain and the Body of Christ” (SCM Press: expected June 2023)
  • “A response to ‘The Church of England’s Doctrine of Marriage’, +Fulham et al”,, February 3rd 2023
  • “‘The Jews’ and Jesus: an Anglican perspective on the language of Holy Week”, Theology, Vol 126: Issue 2, March 17th 2023
  • Queer Holiness: the gift of LGBTQI people to the church (Darton, Longman and Todd: 2022)
  • “Witness-in-communion: a theology of existence to essence during the pandemic”, Theology, Vol 124: Issue 4, July 19th 2021
  • “Risk and prophecy – has the Church got its Covid-19 response right?”, October 1st 2020
  • “Defining ecclesiology – alarming developments in the Church of England”,, August 24th 2020
  • “Towards a Trinitarian understanding of marriage: how might the unity of persons in communion help rediscover the principles of Christian marriage?”,, April 25th 2020
  • “The Eucharistic Feast: participation, representation and sacramental integrity in the time of social distancing”,, April 24th 2020