Scientists in congregations funding
A project that will help Messy Church leaders use science to explore aspects of the Christian faith is among the first recipients of new funding that's aiming to change the debate about science and faith in churches and communities
Through a web-based resource and a book with more than 100 different experiments, Messy Church Science will aim to demonstrate that faith and science are complementary.
The project is spearheaded by the Bible Reading Fellowship alongside the Revd Dr Dave Gregory, senior minister of Croxley Green Baptist Church in Hertfordshire, and is one of eight recipients of funding up to £10,000 in the first round of the Scientists in Congregations scheme.
Dave (pictured right, white coat) has a background in Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology and has used fun science experiments in churches and schools for over 10 years. More recently he has integrated this into Messy Church, becoming known as Dr Dave. The experiments use everyday kitchen equipment.
‘It is something we’ve been doing, and a number of churches have also been using this approach, so the funding will help widen what has been bubbling away in the network,’ he said.
‘There are two main aims: to develop that sense of wonder about creation. Where does it come from? It will help adults and children appreciate the wonder of creation that science reveals and encounter God in fresh ways. And we also bust some of those myths about the incompatibility of faith and science.’
The application form stated: ‘Our family focus means we can inspire scientists of the future. We can teach them some basic scientific skills and influence their attitudes and expectations towards science and faith. We can help train a generation to see no dichotomy between science and faith, but rather how the two can fruitfully exist side by side.’
It is hoped the resources will be launched in July in 2017.
Messy Church Science was one of eight recipients of the Scientists in Congregations funding, which is aimed at helping churchgoers engage confidently with science.
Thanks to the funding, a series of café-style discussion evenings with students and science professionals will take place in Leeds.
Church Scientific, based in Baptist churches in Leeds but open to all, will see science students and professionals from congregations across the city give talks leading into discussion sessions. In preparatory workshops, the speakers will explore how Christian perspectives have been important historically and may enrich their scientific work today. It will culminate in a conference next summer. All the presentations will be available on the project's website.
Launching on October 25, the project will be open to participants from across Leeds and beyond. The Revd David Humphries, minister of Blenheim Baptist Church in Leeds, is a project co-director alongside Dr Richard Gunton, a research fellow in the School of Biology at Leeds University and a Blenheim church member.
The eight new schemes have been announced as bids were opened for grants to fund a second wave of Scientists in Congregations projects with a deadline for applications of November 11.
The Scientists in Congregations programme is open to all mainstream Christian churches and is part of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science, a three-year Durham University project run in partnership with the Church of England. The project is funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation and was launched last year.