Research Unit
for New Religions and Churches




The Research Unit for New Religions and Churches (RUNERC), within the Centre for Missiology and World Christianity, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, Selly Oak, University of Birmingham, England, is a research centre promoting the study of new religious movements (NRMs) and new Christian churches. These are global phenomena that challenge “conventional” Christianity, the mission of the church and its theology. RUNERC offers post-graduate courses in African Initiated (Independent) Churches and related movements, NRMs and Pentecostalism, and gives assistance to researchers in these areas. The Unit’s main activity is the unique and extensive documentation in the internationally acclaimed Harold Turner Collection (HTC), housed in the Orchard Learning Resources Centre of Selly Oak Colleges, with over 27,000 documents on the subjects of African Initiated Churches and analogous movements in other continents, other NRMs, especially those that have proliferated in the second half of the 20th Century, and Pentecostalism.

RUNERC was situated in Selly Oak in 1981, after a short time at the University of Aberdeen, by one of the internationally known pioneers in this field, Dr Harold W Turner, as an accredited Centre within the Federation of Selly Oak Colleges with the support of mission associations. The origin of its work has been the research initiated by Turner in West Africa on new movements in so-called “primal” societies, which he called “prinerms”. These proliferation of these, especially in Africa and the Pacific, raised important pastoral and theological issues for Christian mission. Out of this pastoral concern and his own mission interests, Turner donated his unique and extensive documentation to the Central Library of the Selly Oak Federation. This Collection is constantly being updated and enlarged. In 1995 the present Director, Dr Allan Anderson, was appointed and RUNERC became part of the Centre for Missiology and World Christianity, whose academic programmes it supports. RUNERC offers taught postgraduate degrees and diplomas of the University of Birmingham as well as supervision of research degrees. The research unit has a computerised bibliographic database with extensive references to the movements of its focus all over the world. In 2002 Dr David Cheetham took over management of RUNERC's facilities and th Harold Turner Collection as Dr Anderson now concentrates on Pentecostal Studies.



NEWSLETTER (Interactions) Our latest newsletter (no longer issued), giving information on the activities of RUNERC in 2001.


RUNERC'S LINKS TO NRM PAGES Note: These web pages are still being updated, and I apologise for those that don't work - but there are many working links to important sites on New Religious Movements and Pentecostalism.


We are very grateful to Dr Simon Smith, formerly at RUNERC, but now at the University of Leeds, for his work in initially setting up these links in 1998, with the assistance of IT boffin Adrian Hassell.


PENTECOSTAL AND CHARISMATIC STUDIES. This page gives details of a related research project that commenced in 2000, and an outline of postgraduate programmes in this subject.

Back to Allan Anderson's HomePage