Welcome to my website! I am the Revd Dr Keith Eyeons, and I am a Fellow of Downing College in the University of Cambridge, where I am the college’s Chaplain and the Director of Studies for Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion.
My work in the college includes running the College Chapel, providing pastoral care and support for students, teaching, and various other roles. I’m probably best known in the college for serving large numbers of free doughnuts to students at ‘Keith’s Café’ on Wednesdays and for showing people how to use the college telescope.
I’ve been fascinated by astronomy since I was a teenager. I first came to Cambridge as a science undergraduate, aiming to become an astrophysicist. But hours spent gazing up in wonder at the immensity of space had also inspired me in another way: I had experienced a startling awareness of the presence of God. This was a considerable surprise to someone who had been brought up as an atheist. As a result, I had started to take religious ideas seriously for the first time, and I chose to became a Christian in my second term as an undergraduate.
I felt the beginning of a sense of calling to Christian ministry that same year, and became a very active member of my college chapel, of the Christian Union and of a daily prayer group. After graduating, I did a year’s voluntary work in a church in Warwickshire, where I especially enjoyed helping to run the Sunday School. I then did a PGCE in London, whilst working part-time in an inner London school and being a church organist on Sundays. After that, I went to work in a school in a village in Buckinghamshire, where I taught children age 6 and 7 and coordinated the teaching of music throughout the school. I especially liked the sense of wonder which young children have. I enjoyed seeing them learn and grow, and liked being able to teach the whole range of subjects. But, while teaching, my sense of calling to Christian ministry became much stronger, and I started studying part-time for a theology degree as training for ordination in the Church of England.
I next went to work in a church in Oxford as a curate, where I lived in the middle of a council estate in an extraordinarily diverse parish. After four years there, I returned to Cambridge to work part-time as Chaplain at Downing College, while also doing a part-time PhD. My thesis was on the ways that the 20th century theologian Karl Barth used John’s Gospel in his work, and was supervised by the then Regius Professor of Divinity, David Ford.
I very much enjoy the combination of practical Christian ministry and theological research. My aim now is to write books which have theological depth but which are accessible and relevant to a general audience. I enjoy giving talks and leading discussions about Christianity with students from a wide range of subjects and backgrounds. Moving on from Barth’s approach, I am very interested in the ways that theology can connect with all areas of knowledge, including science. This interest has led to the writing and publication of my first book, The Theology of Everything, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for excellence in theological writing.
My journey into the Church from the outside involved a long exploration of various different Christian traditions, a process which was sometimes very exciting and sometimes completely baffling. I found much to value and to appreciate amongst churches that were high or low, Catholic or Protestant, traditionalist or progressive, charismatic or contemplative, as well as many things which troubled me. I joined the Church of England because I valued its breadth, finding that it successfully contained most of the ingredients which I had come to admire among a diverse range of denominations. But I have always struggled with the fact that theology in the Church of England tends to articulated most clearly by factions towards the edges of the Church. I came to feel at home in the middle ground of Anglicanism, enjoying the best of the high and the low, and the best of traditionalism and progressivism. And yet there is a shortage of people now who confidently identify as central or middle-of-the-road Anglicans and can argue for their approach with clarity and conviction. That has led me to the writing of my second book, The View from the Centre.
I live with my wife Mel in a village outside Cambridge, and help with some of the services in nearby village churches during the university vacations. My other interests include playing the piano, accordion, flute and recorder, singing, walking in the less flat parts of England, building and tinkering with computers, photography, DIY and gardening.