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£130,000 FOR NEW CHURCH AND COLLEGE SCIENCE-FAITH PROJECTS

 Helen Billam

We are pleased to award £130,000 to ten churches and three theological colleges under the 2022-23 Scientists in Congregations and Science for Seminaries awards.

Ten congregations have received a total of £93,035 under the Scientists in Congregations programme. The successful projects span a range of denominations and ecumenical networks. They will explore the relationship between science and faith through engagement activities including Messy Church Goes Wild, a guided STEM trail, a science festival and science-themed ‘cafe church’.

York Minster is one of the awardees for Scientists in Congregations 2022-23

One successful project is “Faith in Mind”, run by Sunderland Connect, an interdenominational network of churches serving the needs of vulnerable people in their community. Thanks to a grant of £15,120, Faith in Mind will explore mental health issues through the lens of neuroscience and psychology. Workshops for church leaders and volunteers on topics such as intergenerational trauma and the neuroscience of addiction will equip church leaders to better serve people affected by these challenges.

Deb Fozzard, the Project co-director at Faith in Mind, said: “The training we can now provide to Churches will bring insight into the mind of someone with addiction. This is a valuable tool for the Churches and will empower and equip them to be more effective when supporting those caught up in addiction.”

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, said: “Sunderland Connect Network are engaged in important missional work. This project promises to be of great value to the faith communities and missional endeavours in the area.”

This is the fifth round of Scientists in Congregations awards. Since 2014, over 80 churches have received £750,000 through the Scientists in Congregations programme (including the latest round).

In addition, three theological colleges have received grants totalling £36,000 to host lectures, events, and discussions incorporating science into theological education. These are St Patrick’s Pontifical University in Maynooth, Union Theological College in Belfast, and Anscombe Bioethics Centre in partnership with St Mary’s College Oscott. This is the second round of Science for Seminaries.

The Revd Prof David Wilkinson, ECLAS Project Co-Director, said: “We are thrilled to support church leaders and people studying for ordination to explore how science can enrich and expand our view of faith. These Scientists in Congregations projects imaginatively demonstrate how science is at the heart of Christian faith, recognising it as a gift from God and recognising the vocation of scientists.

“Meanwhile, the Science for Seminaries projects will give people training for ministry the opportunity to engage with modern scientific and ethical questions, which is vital for effective pastoral care.”

The full list of churches and organisations receiving funding to participate in Scientists in Congregations 2022-23 is:

  • St Albans Cathedral
  • Sunderland Connect Network
  • York Minster
  • Chester Cathedral
  • The Bible Reading Fellowship
  • Christ Church West Green, London
  • Baptist Union Environment Network (BUEN)
  • St Paul’s, Knightsbridge
  • Parish of Great Missenden with Ballinger and Little Hampden, Buckinghamshire
  • St Mark’s Church/Xplore!, Wrexham
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