Next phase for science-faith work
28 MAR 2019
With new funding from Allchurches Trust, a project that fosters greater understanding between science and faith can continue its important work.
Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) was established in 2015 as a collaboration between Durham and York Universities and the Church of England.
Allchurches’ grant will allow ECLAS Research Fellow and Project Coordinator, Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, to continue working with the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs team in Westminster on the public policy implications of Artificial Intelligence and robotics, and other scientific advances.
Sir Philip Mawer, Chairman of Allchurches Trust says: “This innovative project aims to challenge the thinking that science and faith are in conflict. Instead it explores the synergies between them and what they can learn from one another.”
Governments and societies are increasingly dealing with highly complex moral and ethical questions about the appropriate use and implications of numerous rapid advances in science and technology today. Equipping religious leaders to engage with and understand the opportunities and challenges lies at the core of the ECLAS project.
Sir Philip continued: “Continuing technological advancement brings challenges, but it also brings opportunity. These are exciting times and it is vital that the church is actively engaged in the debate and equipped to be agile in its response and thinking as public policy is developed.”
The project will develop a major piece of research into the impact of church engagement in science and science related public affairs, produce a range of digital resources for theological training and develop a proposal to integrate science more fully into the curriculum for trainee ministers.
Already, one third of the Church of England’s Bishops, along with a similar number of senior church leaders from the Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed churches, have taken part in ECLAS conferences on subjects that included fracking, neuroscience, bioethics and robotics.
Since 2015, ECLAS has funded a ‘Scientists in Congregations’ awards programme, which funds and promotes greater dialogue between science and faith in churches and cathedrals throughout the UK. Maintaining the momentum of this successful programme can now be assured.
Rev Dr Pritchard said: “Churches and cathedrals that have run science related events report to us that the wider public are very interested and intrigued by questions for faith raised by scientific developments.”