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The Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis

The Revd Canon Professor Leslie J Francis PhD DLitt ScD DD FBPsS PGCE

Professor of Religions and Education

Director, Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit 


Leslie J Francis is Professor of Religions and Education within the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, and Honorary Distinguished Canon at Manchester Cathedral. Since October 2012, he has been Director of WRERU, following the retirement of Professor Robert Jackson from full-time work at Warwick. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1976. His published works have been recognised by three higher doctorates: ScD from Cambridge in 1997, DD from Oxford in 2001 and DLitt from University of Wales, Bangor in 2007.

His research in religious education has been shaped by creative links with practical and empirical theology and with the individual differences approach to psychology.


Leslie J Francis’ current research initiatives include:

  • investigating young people's attitudes toward religious diversity.
  • investigating the spiritual influence of Christian ethos secondary education.
  • Cathedral Studies(Word Document), with projects on cathedral congregations, cathedral visitors, and cathedral education programmes.
  • assessing the antecedents, consequences and correlates of individual differences in attitudes towards religion during childhood, adolescence and adulthood, within Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish traditions.

  • assessing the role of personality in religious development and expression, drawing on personality theories proposed by Eysenck, Cattell, and Jung, as well as the Big Five Factor model.
  • assessing work-related psychological health and professional burnout among religious educators.
  • assessing learning styles in religious and theological education.
  • assessing the distinctiveness of church schools and faith-based schools within both the state-maintained and independent sectors of education.
  • monitoring changes within the Christian churches across a variety of denominations.


Leslie J Francis currently serves as:

  • co-editor of Archive for the Psychology of Religion
  • associate editor of Journal of Beliefs and Values
  • senior editor of Rural Theology.

He also serves on the editorial boards of the following journals:

  • International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
  • Journal of Christian Education
  • Journal of Empirical Theology
  • Journal of Research on Christian Education
  • Mental Health, Religion and Culture
  • Pastoral Psychology
  • Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
  • Welsh Journal of Psychology 

Book series

Leslie J Francis currently serves as co-editor for three series of books:

  • Learning Church: Theology for Discipleship and Ministry, SCM Press
  • Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology, Ashgate
  • Religion, Education and Values, Peter Lang.

Academic Societies

Leslie J Francis currently serves as:

  • Vice President of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values
  • Chair of the Rural Theology Association
  • Chair of the Alistair Hardy Trust.

He is also a member of:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for the Sociology of Religion
  • British Educational Research Association
  • British Psychological Society (Fellow from 1988)
  • British Sociological Association (Sociology of Religion Study Group)
  • College of Teachers (Fellow from 1994)
  • International Academy of Practical Theology
  • International Association for the Psychology of Religion
  • Network for Psychological Type and Christian Faith (Co-convenor since 2002)
  • Network for the Study of Implicit Religion (Trustee since 2002)
  • Religious Research Association
  • Social Research Association
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Recent Publications


Ross, C. F. J., & Francis, L. J. (2020). Personality, religion, and leadership: The spiritual dimensions of psychological type theory. New York: Lexington Books. ISBN 978 1 7936 0582 5.

Neal, T., & Francis, L. J. (2020). A new lease of life? Anglican clergy reflect on retirement. Durham: Sacristy Press.

Byrne, G., & Francis, L. J. (Eds.) (2019). Religion and Education: The voices of young people in Ireland. Dublin: Veritas. ISBN 978 1 84730 890 0.

Astley, J., Francis, L. J., & Lankshear, D. W. (Eds.) (2018). Values, human rights and religious education: Contested grounds. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 978 17 8874 525 3.

Casson, A., Cooling, T., & Francis, L. J. (2017). Lessons in spiritual development: Learning from leading Christian-ethos secondary schools. London: Church House Publishing. ISBN 978 1 7814 0034 0

Astley, J., & Francis, L. J. (Eds.) (2016). Diversity and intersectionality: Studies in religion, education and values. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 978 30343 2252 2.

Robbins, M., & Francis, L. J. (Eds.) (2016). The empirical science of religious education. London: Routledge. ISBN 978 1 138 92985 2.

Francis, L. J. (Ed.) (2015). Anglican cathedrals in modern life: The science of cathedral studies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978 1 137 55301 0.

Parker, S. G., Freathy, R., & Francis, L. J. (Eds.) (2015). History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 978 3 0343 1720 7.


Francis, L. J. (2019). From a Rural Pulpit: Holy Baptism. Rural Theology, 17, 60-61. ISSN 1470 4994.

Francis, L. J. (2019). Psychological perspectives on religious education. Brill Research Perspectives on Religion and Education, 1(2), 1-89. ISSN 2589 529X.

Francis, L. J., ap Siôn, T., Lankshear, D. W., & Eccles, E. L. (2019). Factors shaping prayer frequency among 9- to 11-year-olds. Greek Journal of Religious Education, 2(1), 39-52. ISSN 2623 4386.

Francis, L. J., Astley, J., & McKenna, U. (2019). Science disproves the biblical account of creation: Exploring the predictors of perceived conflict between science and religion among 13- to 15-year-old students. British Journal of Religious Education, 41, 188-201. ISSN 0141 6200.

Francis, L. J., & Casson, A. (2019). Retaining young Catholics in the Church: Assessing the importance of parental example. Journal of Religious Education, 67, 1-16. ISSN 1442 018X.

Francis, L. J., & Crea, G. (2019). Personality and vocational motivation: A study among Catholic seminarians in Italy employing the Big Five and the NIRO. Review of Religious Research, 61, 259-271. ISSN 0034 673X.

Francis, L. J., Crea, G., & McKenna, U. (2019). The Purpose-in-Life Scale (PILS): Internal consistency reliability, concurrent validity and construct validity among Catholic priests in Italy. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 22, 602-613. ISSN 1367 4674.

Francis, L. J., Emslie, N. J., & Payne, V. J. (2019). The effect of emotional intelligence on work-related psychological health among Anglican clergy in Wales. Journal of Religion and Health, 58, 1631-1647. ISSN 1335 1347.

Francis, L. J., & Giordan, G. (2019). The association between psychological type profile and church attendance among female Italian students: A challenge to sociological theories? Studi di Sociologia, 2019(3), 213-226.

Francis, L. J., Howell, D., Hill, P., & McKenna, U. (2019). Assessing the impact of a paid children, youth or family worker on Anglican congregations in England. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 23, 43-50. ISSN 1065 6219.

Francis, L. J., Jones, S. H., & Hebden, K. (2019). Binding and loosing on earth: Evaluating the strategy for church disciplinary procedures proposed in Matthew 18: 15-18 through the lenses of thinking and feeling. HTS Theological Studies, 75(3), article 5474, 1-10. ISSN 0259 9422.

Francis, L. J., Jones, S. H., & Martinson, J. (2019). Exploring the Marcan account of the Baptism of Jesus through psychological lenses: An empirical study within a Black-led Black-majority Pentecostal church. Journal of the European Pentecostal Theology Association, 39, 100-115. ISSN 1812-4461.

Francis, L. J., & Lankshear, D. W. (2019). Work-related psychological health and psychological type: A study among primary school teachers in Wales. Research Papers in Education, 34, 391-404. ISSN 0267 1522.

Francis, L. J., Laycock, P., & Ratter, H. (2019). Testing the Francis Burnout Inventory among Anglican clergy in England. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 22, 1057-1067. ISSN 1367 4674.

Francis, L. J., McKenna, U., & Lewis, C. A. (2019). Personality, spirituality and the formation of character virtues among 11- to 16-year-old students in England and Wales. Spirituality of a Personality, 2(89), 218-238. ISSN 2220 6310.

Francis, L. J., Payne, V. J., & Emslie, N. (2019). Just how emotionally intelligent are religious leaders in Britain? A study among Anglican clergy in Wales. Pastoral Psychology, 68, 261-269. ISSN 0031 2789.

Francis, L. J., Strathie, D., & Ross, C. F. (2019). Reading the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-10) through the lenses of introverted intuition and introverted sensing: Perceiving text differently. HTS Theological Studies, 75(4), article 5475, 1-8. ISSN 0259 9422.

Francis, L. J., Village, A., & Powell, R. (2019). Quest religious orientation among church leaders in Australia: A function of psychological predisposition or openness to mystical experience? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 11, 123-130. ISSN 1941 1022.

Francis, L. J., Village, A., & Voas, D. (2019). The turn toward extraversion: The changing psychological profile of Anglican clergy. Journal of Empirical Theology, 32, 89-104. ISSN 0922 2936

Francis, L. J., & Whinney, M. (2019). The psychological profile of Church of England male archdeacons at the beginning of the twenty-first century: Drawing on psychological type and temperament theory. Journal of Anglican Studies, 17, 74-92. ISSN 1740 1553.

Giannone, D., Kaplin, D., & Francis, L. J. (2019). Exploring two approaches to an existential function of religiosity in mental health. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 22, 56-72. ISSN 1367 4671.

Jones, S. J., & Francis, L. J. (2019). Searching for the lost sheep (Matthew 18: 10-14): Do sensing types and intuitive types find different things? Rural Theology, 17, 106-113. ISSN 1470 4994.

McKenna, U., & Francis, L. J. (2019). Growing up female and Muslim in the UK: An empirical enquiry into the distinctive religious and social values of young Muslims. British Journal of Religious Education, 41, 388-401. ISSN 0141 6200.

Trowsdale, J., McKenna, U., & Francis, L. J. (2019). Evaluating The Imagineerium: The Trowsdale Indices of Confidence in Competence, Creativity and Learning (TICCCL). Thinking Skills and Creativity, 32, 75-81. ISSN 1871 1871.

Books for children

Leslie J Francis is co-author of the popular Teddy Horsley series of religious education books for 3-7 year olds.

He is also co-author of several books for foundation stage, key stage one and key stage two learners.


Leslie J Francis enjoys the music of J.S. Bach and has re-built an 1851 Walker organ in his home.

Further information

A full list of publications for Professor Francis is available here(Word Document)