The Rev. Robert S. Heaney, Ph.D, D.Phil. joined the Virginia Theological Seminary in Fall 2013. He serves as the director of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies and associate professor of Christian mission at VTS. As director, Heaney oversees Communion wide opportunities for theological reflection across differences, develops theological resources for Episcopalians and Anglicans, and promotes inter-cultural and inter-religious practices of reconciliation.
Heaney completed a Ph.D. in philosophical theology at Dublin’s Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in 2003 and in 2013 he received a D.Phil in theology from the University of Oxford. He also received a Master’s of Theology in 2006 from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts in theology in 1998 from the London School of Theology.
As a mission theologian, theologian of culture, and Anglican theologian Heaney has experience of teaching and ministry on three continents and continues to travel widely in the Anglican Communion. His research and teaching at VTS focuses on the development of a critical missiology that provides students with a passion for the field that does not shy away from difficult issues in thought and practice nor result in ministries characterized by missiological isolationism or reductionism. As a theologian of culture, he seeks to nourish theological imagination that is ever cognizant of social location and the theological inevitability and necessity of contextualization. As an Anglican theologian, he has particular interest in modern World Anglicanism and the emergence of a renewed Anglican Communion.
Before coming to VTS Heaney served, from 2010-2013, as the first-ever director of Postgraduate Research and Studies at St. John’s University of Tanzania, where he was also a senior lecturer in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. He taught courses on Anglicanism, missiology, post-colonial theology, philosophical theology, and African and global theology.
He is the author of From Historical to Critical Post-Colonial Theology (Wipf & Stock, 2016) and lead editor of Faithful Neighbors: Christian-Muslim Vision and Practice (Morehouse, 2016). He is the author of several journal and book articles including contributions to The Oxford History of Anglicanism; the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Anglican Communion; and Great Awakenings: Evangelical Engagements with Postcolonialism.
Heaney was ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland in 2002, and has been active in parishes in Ireland, England, Tanzania, and the United States of America. He is married to Dr. Sharon E. Heaney and they have one son, Sam.