For nearly a decade, ECLAS has been working to equip senior Christian leaders with the tools, context and skills they need to engage confidently with science in their ministry and personal faith.
Building on the lessons and successes of the past ten years, ECLAS is now embarking on a global, five-year research and engagement project, alongside four regional partners from around the world. The programme has been enabled by a £6.2m grant from the John Templeton Foundation and at its heart will lie one central question: ‘How does context give challenges and opportunities for equipping Christian leadership in an age of science?’.
The new programme will place a greater focus on international and cross-denominational collaboration. By evolving and internationally scaling our five existing programmes, we will spread the lessons and benefits of ECLAS’ first 10 years through local partnerships and awards, linking the Church with academia and policy. The five strands are policy, research, conferences, Science for Seminaries, and Scientists in Congregations.
The project’s focus will be on context, covering geographic, cultural, theological, denominational, national, and political settings. As we work to build a new global community of enquiry and practice – with diverse voices – we will remain faithful to our mission to foster science-engaged theology, celebrate science as a gift from God, and bring science and faith together to change the world.
How we’re funded
A pilot of ECLAS took place from 2013-14 and was funded by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF); this was followed by a seven-month grant from the Allchurches Trust focused on artificial intelligence. From 2015-18 ECLAS was funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) and expanded to its existing five-strand approach. From January 2020-June 2023 ECLAS was funded by a £3.4million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. ECLAS has been awarded a further grant from the John Templeton Foundation which will run April 2023-Dec 2027.HOW WE WORK
ECLAS works through five overlapping strands: Research, Senior Leadership Conferences; Science for Seminaries awards, Scientists in Congregations awards; and policy work – with each workstream informing and reinforcing the others in the UK and internationally.
Research Our research programme provides the substantive foundations for the other strands, while showing a demonstrable increase in the confidence of church leaders to engage with science and theology. We are responsive to live issues, such as how Church leaders responded to Covid-19, how the pandemic has influenced church leaders’ attitudes towards science, and how religious imagery and the language of warfare imagery is being used in public health communication. Moving forward, our research focus will be on attitudes of church leaders towards science; narratives of science and theology; and frameworks for science-engagement – with all three areas focusing on the role and influence of different contexts.
Senior leader conferences Our conferences give senior leaders the opportunity to hear from world-leading scientists about cutting-edge scientific developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, cosmology, and robotics, and to witness this work in person through lab visits and tours. We also have a robust programme of online conferences, geared toward international participation.
Policy and influencing work We work with partners including the Archbishops’ Council and the Anglican Communion Science Commission to equip senior Church leaders with the skills and confidence to engage with science in the public sphere. From 2023, we are focusing on the lessons from positive Church-science interactions for apologetics, policy and science.
Scientists in Congregations is one of our grant programmes. We fund exemplar projects at a local level in the UK and internationally (through partner hubs) to engage in the science-faith dialogue and to demonstrate how science can be explored and celebrated through a theological lens.
Science for Seminaries helps shape encounters with science-engaged theology at the ordinand level, using insights from research into attitudes towards science and the efficacy of existing scientific narratives.PRESS ENQUIRIES