My name is Stephen Kneale. I am married to Rachel and have two children, Clement and Aurélie. I am the pastor at Oldham Bethel Church, an FIEC church in the Greater Manchester area of the UK which is also affiliated to the North West Partnership.

I hold qualifications in History & Politics (BA, University of Liverpool), Religious Studies & Philosophy (PGCE, Edge Hill University) and Theology (MA, Kings Evangelical Divinity School).

My theological convictions can be described as Modern Reformed Evangelical. I hold to the doctrines of grace, credo-baptism (significantly informed by my Grace Baptist/strict & particular baptist background) and subscribe to the traditional tenets of Evangelicalism.

My political convictions can be described as democratic socialist and are largely in line with the Calvinistic Socialist tradition (particularly the Welsh and Scottish forms). I favour public ownership, wealth distribution and a regulated economy. I believe in fairness in the markets and freedom for the individual.

This blog takes its name from The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Arbour was a resting place, halfway up Hill Difficulty, where pilgrims were able to rest and recuperate before continuing their journey. Like that, this blog aims to be a place where Christians can think through issues and assess their impact in light of their ongoing Christian walk. It is mainly focused on theology, current affairs and politics but especially those areas where these things overlap. It is particularly interested in how these things apply to everyday Christian living.

Hopefully these things will help you make sense of what is written here.