Who we are

Urban Life is a team of theological accompaniers who journey alongside individuals, groups, collectives, teams and churches to stimulate reflection on mission practice. We devise bespoke learning journeys that weave together practical experience and current academic thinking in order to help practitioners continue to enrich their mission in marginalised communities. Our programmes range from informal gatherings to accredited training at graduate and postgraduate level delivered as part of the Common Awards framework.  We do this by developing learning programmes that help participants to reflect theologically on their practice. We work in a team to bring a variety of skills and experiences to accompany or facilitate this work.

Our team:

Anna Ruddick is a community theologian and researcher who facilitates theological reflection and learning for leaders, congregations and Christian organisations seeking to deepen and strengthen their relationships with their local community. She holds a Doctorate in Practical Theology and, in addition to her role as Core team member for Urban Life, is a Community Engagement Associate for Livability, a Research Fellow at Bristol Baptist College, and a trustee of the William Temple Foundation. 

Carmel Murphy Elliott is a Community Organiser and Baptist Minister.  For the last 6 years she’s been part of Urban Expression, a mission agency that enables and supports teams of people creating new expressions of Christian community in marginalised neighbourhoods.  She co-led a team in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent and supported other teams in the north of England.  She is also a trustee of Incarnate, a grassroots collective which networks those engaging in mission at the margins. Carmel recently got married and moved to Manchester where she’s rekindled her love of gardening, baking and bike riding.

Andrew Grinnell has been involved with developing responses to poverty for over 20 years. After working nationally with The Salvation Army, he spent 10 years living in a low-income neighbourhood in East Leeds seeking to develop places of hospitality with local people. He is a facilitator for the Leeds Poverty Truth Commission that brings together people who struggle against poverty and leaders from within public, private, third and faith sectors. Together, they seek to address poverty within the city. He also supports other local teams to establish commissions across the UK. His doctoral research addressed the political and societal implications of the practice of Christians relocating to low-income neighbourhoods in the UK.