Calendar of Events

REF 2021

1st in the UK

Divinity at the University of Aberdeen was ranked 1st in the UK for overall quality of research

Calendar of Events

The Centre holds regular events throughout the academic yearsee the tabs below for more information about current and past activities. 


All webinars are recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Click here to watch past webinars.

Link: Centre for Autism and Theology - YouTube

Past Events

December 2023: 'The Spiritual Experiences and Expressions of Non-or Minimally Speaking Autistic People'

October 2023: 'Telling a Good Story: Autism, Community and Dungeons and Dragons'

June 2023: 'What Makes Autistic Prayer Different?'

February 2023: 'Christian Mother’s Experiences of their Child’s Autism'

December 2022: 'Autistic Christians in Church Leadership'

November 2022: ‘Autism Mobile, Technology and the Church’ with Catherine Tryfona

October 2022: 'Resourcing Christian Communities'

When: 11 October 4pm – 5:30pm BST

Who: Stewart Rapley, author of Autistic Thinking in the Life of the Church. Stewart is a member
of the Centre for Autism and Theology’s Advisory Group, and of the Board of Trustees of the
National Autistic Society.

What: Stewart Rapley will share with us about his recently published book Autistic Thinking in
the Life of the Church. This book is based on qualitative research in which Rapley explores the
distinctive thinking of autistic people in relation to aspects of faith and church engagement.

May 2022: ‘Autism and Church Life’

March 2022: ‘Autism and Worship with Dr Léon van Ommen

February 2021: Webinar: ‘Different, Not Less’: Pastoral Care of Autistic Adults within Christian Churches

Webinar: Autism and Sensory Processing

November 2020: Webinar: Music, Autism and Church

March 2019: Autism, Church and Healthcare: Needs, Opportunities and Challenges – A Workshop

There is a growing awareness that autism is a common condition, and that many persons with autism are involved in churches and other communities of faith. For them, or for those around them, the experience of autism cannot be separated from their faith commitments or from their participation in faith communities. Other members of these communities, however, can struggle to understand the distinctive needs of those with autism, often because their thinking about the condition is based on outdated or stereotypical descriptions. Those providing support from within the healthcare communities, meanwhile, may have little awareness of the significance of faith commitments to how autism is experienced and processed by Christians, often assuming that faith commitments can be compartmentalized from other areas of life.

The Centre for the Study of Autism and Christian Community (University of Aberdeen), is partnering with Alma Autism—an organization that works with families and churches to support and raise awareness of the spiritual needs of people with autism—to run a workshop on autism, healthcare and the church. The workshop is intended to open conversation about the challenges faced by those with autism and their families as they experience the world of the church, on one hand, and the world of healthcare and support, on the other. The workshop will consider the role that the church can play in the lives of those with autism, while dealing frankly with the challenges that often accompany this. It will also facilitate reflection on the barriers to greater integration between the “worlds” of scientific research into autism and healthcare and of faith community.

The workshop is open to all who are invested in this issue. We particularly welcome involvement from pastors and from those involved in healthcare provision and advocacy support for those with autism, including, of course, those who are themselves autistic. There is no charge for attending the workshop, but we would be grateful if anyone planning to attend would email, so that we can estimate numbers.

Date and Time: 2nd March, 2019. 10:30–3:30pm.

Venue: Salvation Army Hall, 3-11 Albion Way, Lewisham SE13 6BT,

SpeakersProfessor Grant Macaskill, Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis and Director of the Centre for the Study of Autism and Christian Community, University of Aberdeen.  Kirstyn Oliver, M.A., Founder and Director of Alma Autism.


10.30am Welcome

“Why Faith Commitments and Church Involvement Matter in Thinking about Autism.” Prof. Grant Macaskill, University of Aberdeen“Why Faith Commitments and Church Involvement Matter in Thinking about Autism.” Prof. Grant Macaskill, University of Aberdeen


“Autism and the Experience of Diagnosis and Church Involvement” Kirstyn Oliver, Alma Autism. 

1.00pm - 2.00pm Break
2.00pm - 3.30pm

Open discussion “Barriers to the integration of autism support and the life of the church”