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In autumn 2020, the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies hosted the first virtual GloPent World conference. The conference brought together leading scholars and practitioners from around the world for debate, exchange of ideas, presentations, and networking opportunities on the topic of 'Mapping Global Pentecostal Issues'.

Among those taking part in the event, were several postgraduate research students from the Centre. Whether delivering a paper or supporting behind the scenes to ensure the success of the network's first ever virtual conference, all benefitted from their involvement. Here, three PhD students share their experiences of participating in the conference.

Mali Zheng presented her paper Pentecostalism in Emerging Urban Churches in Shanghai, China at the conference. Mali said:

"I attended GloPent World when it was held in Basel earlier in 2020. This time the conference was organised by Professor Wolfgang Vondey from our centre, and my supervisor Professor Allan Anderson encouraged me to apply for the opportunity to present.

A portrait of Mali Zheng on a hike

"The conference provided a great opportunity to share my research with other scholars and get feedback from them and I value opportunities like this very much. Firstly, it helped me to learn and improve my presentation skills; secondly, my knowledge was expanded through communicating with other scholars and listening to their presentations; and finally, sharing my research with other scholars helped me to realise the shortages of my research."

Meanwhile Chesarae Fletcher and Leif Petterson both supported with the organisation of the conference, hosting Zoom sessions and facilitating discussions. Chesarae said:

"I chose to be involved in the GloPent Conference to become more familiar with the current scholarly Pentecostal community worldwide. This was my first UoB conference and my first academic conference. I joined as a volunteer to learn how conferences were conducted within the institution and I served as a breakout room facilitator for several workshops, introducing speakers and covering Zoom room mechanics. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was introduced to diverse areas of scholarship from a wide array of presenters and I gained a more global perspective on research areas and approaches within Pentecostal study.

A portrait of Chesarae Fletcher

"I deeply valued the opportunity to volunteer at GloPent 2020 as it allowed me to gain access to an academic community that shares my interest and offers value to my research. I would not have located this community or its academic resources on my own. Personally, my own research also benefitted from the conference. I was introduced to the work of J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu and his work on global Pentecostal theologies. I have also been following up on the works of several other presenters and am gaining further insight into the wealth of Pentecostal scholarship. GloPent has been a wonderful resource for my study."

Leif added:

A photo of Leif Petterson in an outdoor setting

"Being involved at GloPent 2020 was a great opportunity for me to meet other researchers and to get new ideas for my research. My role in the conference was to be an online host, setting up the sessions at zoom, introducing the speaker, and leading the discussion. It was interesting to see how we easily can connect with people from the whole world.

"Previously, I presented my research proposal at the European Pentecostal Theological Association and I have also participated in seminars hosted by The Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies. It has great value for me to participate in seminars and conferences, as is helps me to stay focused on research, and to benefit from networking with others. I am a distance-learning, part-time student, so besides my regular supervision, it is an enormous help to connect with others. 

"My research aims at constructing a theology of Pentecostal orality. I find that the term is not clearly defined, and that we do not have a consistent theology of orality. During the day, there were good presentations related to this, and I also got into contact with a couple of researchers who have worked with the issue so, again the conference had value."

To find out more about our postgraduate research opportunities in Theology and Religion, please visit our course pages. To keep up to date with future events and opportunities, please head over to our Department pages.