BA, MA, GradDipTheol, PhD
Bryan Cones is an honorary postdoctoral researcher in the University of Divinity at Pilgrim Theological College. He holds a PhD in liturgical and practical theology from the University of Divinity. His book, This Assembly of Believers: The Gifts of Difference in the Church at Prayer, was published by SCM Press in 2020. He is currently co-editing a collection on the intersection of queer theology and Christian worship.
Bryan pursues research as a “pastoral liturgical theologian,” approaching the celebration of worship as theologia prima, the church’s privileged encounter with God in Christ unveiled when an assembly takes up historic patterns of Christian prayer. He draws focus to the assembly itself gathered for prayer as the “primary symbol” of Christian worship, which refracts grace through their actions and interactions. His work seeks to tease how the contour of each celebration changes depending on who is “in the room” through their differences of age and ability, gender and sexuality, among others. Thus, the baptism of an infant suggests a different contour of grace than that of an adult; the wedding of a same-gender couple suggests new dimensions to life together than marriage as long practiced. Bryan is also exploring liturgical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and their interaction with concurrent struggles for greater racial and social justice in his U.S. context, with a view to how Christian liturgy might better offer a “public service” to those beyond its members.
Bryan is a presbyter in the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Chicago, and has served Roman Catholic, Episcopal/Anglican, and Uniting Church in Australia assemblies in the U.S. and Australia. He has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level, most recently at the Episcopal Divinity School (then at Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Trinity College Theological School in the University of Divinity. He has most recently served as interim pastor in two Chicago-area churches as he continues to pursue research.