Exploring science and Christian faith
Two Baptist-led projects have been awarded grants as part of a scheme to foster better understanding between science and faith
Scientists in Congregations, a grant scheme open to all mainstream Christian churches, recently unveiled the successful recipients of its second wave of funding.
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They included Exploring Science and Christian Faith in a Rural Setting, a series of monthly events on science and faith topics, including debates, with speakers drawn from universities in the North East.
It is run by Professor William Clegg, a chaplain at Newcastle University and a member of Stocksfield Baptist Church, and supported by the Revd Peter Jorysz, Bill's minister. It intends to draw in people from congregations west of Newcastle and Tyneside. The funding has enabled them to draw in leading experts from Cambridge and Warwick Universities.
Re:Think Worcester was awarded funding for new a series of presentations on science and faith aimed at 16 to 25 year olds from both church and non-church backgrounds. Re:Think is an inter denominational group made up of members of Worcester churches with scientific and technology backgrounds.
The project is run by Dr Kim Stansfield, member of the World Mission Task Force at St Peter’s Baptist Church in Worcester and Senior Lecturer in Systems Engineering at Warwick University, and Jim Smith, a Methodist from Bromsgrove.
The projects are among 10 to receive funding of up to £10,000 as part of the second wave of Scientists in Congregations, a grant scheme open to all mainstream Christian churches. It is aimed at helping churchgoers engage confidently with science, raising the profile of Christians whose vocation is science-related and changing the debate about science and faith in churches and communities.
Outdoor walking ‘eco’ services, a play based on nature imagery in the Book of Job and Evensong with science experiments were among the other projects awarded funding.
Scientists in Congregations 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 Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, and one of the co-leaders of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science, alongside Durham University Professors David Wilkinson and Tom McLeish, said, ‘I have been very excited and encouraged by the range and quality of these local projects – they bear witness to the widespread and vibrant desire to enable a fruitful and stimulating conversation between science and faith which is much needed in contemporary society.’
The Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, Scientists in Congregations project leader, said, ‘We have been hugely impressed by the innovative and creative approaches demonstrated in this second wave of Scientists in Congregations projects and the calibre of the scientists who will be supporting this work.
‘We are confident that these projects in churches and cathedrals will not only help raise the profile of scientists within Christian congregations but will promote greater understanding of science and faith issues in wider communities across the country.’