ECLAS RECEIVES £6M GRANT FOR GLOBAL OUTREACH
We are delighted to have been awarded a five-year, £6.2million grant to support bishops and senior Christian leaders worldwide to engage with science.
Today, we are launching an exciting new strategy to build on our work with senior Church leaders. This includes working with regional partner institutions to establish a global network of research and practice, along with further rounds of Scientists in Congregations and Science for Seminaries.
The new phase of ECLAS will run from April 2023-December 2027 and will be funded by a £6.2million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The funding will allow us to collaborate internationally and support science-theology engagement beyond the UK. We are working to formalise relationships with four international partner hubs, to create a global community of reflection and action on how to equip Christian leaders across a variety of cultural, theological, and national contexts. Each hub will receive funds to distribute as awards for regional Scientists in Congregations and Science for Seminaries programmes. They will run and monitor their own programmes, in partnership with ECLAS, to address local issues and create culture change at every level of the Church.
Built around local scholars and institutions, each hub will also be a locus for theological and sociological research into Church leaders’ attitudes toward science. Hubs will investigate how narrative framing, theological context, and social context impact engagement with science. Partnering with academic institutions in different regions of the world will ensure that research is grounded in local thought and practice, while in communication with the broader Church and society.
We are also delighted to introduce two new steering group members who will join the team leading this work. Revd Dr Lucas Mix is an astrobiologist who has acted as ECLAS project co-ordinator since 2020. Revd Steve Muneza is Director of Formation and Mixed-Mode Training at Cranmer Hall and brings rich experience of Christian development in East Africa. They will join Revd Prof David Wilkinson, the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, Revd Dr Malcolm Brown and Dr Amanda Rees on the steering group.
Revd Prof David Wilkinson said: “Science is a gift from God to the Church, and our vision for the next five years is to equip more senior Church leaders around the world to engage with science and the opportunities it offers to deepen faith.
“We are very grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for this grant. It will allow us to build on the expertise we have gained in the last decade to support emerging hubs for science-religion research and engagement in parts of the world where this conversation hasn’t yet been explored.”
The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of the Church of England’s Faith and Public Life team and member of our steering group, said, “During ECLAS’s first ten years, the narrative concerning science and religion has increasingly become one of mutuality and dialogue, as the profundity of new questions emerging from science signals the need for a reconnection with the world’s great traditions of meaning and ethics. As the calls from the Lambeth Conference in 2022 demonstrated, this is now a global, not just a Western, priority for the Anglican Church. I am delighted that the Church of England will continue to be a partner with ECLAS into the future.”
The new grant will begin in April, following directly on from a previous grant from the Templeton Religion Trust.
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