ECLAS was born from the conviction that science is a gift from God, but that too often Christian leaders lack the confidence and tools to engage with scientific questions. In an age when faith is often portrayed in opposition to science, we want to create opportunities for church leaders to connect with world-class science and scientists, to develop well-informed, theologically grounded, practical knowledge about the world and our place in it.ABOUT THE PROJECT
We carry out original research, including in-depth interviews with Bishops, denominational leaders, clergy, and parachurch leaders in groups such as Alpha and Youth for Christ, to determine attitudes towards science and the efficacy of existing scientific narratives. Using insights from this research we create resources for teaching on science and religion, working with theological courses and colleges to develop and incorporate new teaching materials into ordinand training. We hold conferences for senior leaders on cutting-edge scientific topics including cosmology, artificial intelligence and robotics, genetics, and complexity. So far these have brought together more than 130 senior church leaders with prominent scientists and theologians. Through our Scientists in Congregations programme, we resource churches at a local level to engage in the science-faith dialogue, awarding grants for innovative events, theatre pieces, lectures and more. Our policy and influencing work with the Church of England’s Faith and Public Life team equips senior church leaders to engage with science in the public sphere.
A pilot of ECLAS took place from 2013-14 and was funded by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF); this was followed by a supplementary year focused on artificial intelligence, funded by the Allchurches Trust. From 2015-18 ECLAS was funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) and expanded to its existing five-strand approach. The current phase of ECLAS began in January 2020 and will run for three years, funded by a £3.4million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust.PRESS ENQUIRIES