Scientists in Congregations

Scientists in Congregations 2020/1 is now open for applications.

Church and science can seem like separate worlds, but scientists appear in pews and pulpits across the UK. At ECLAS, we work to affirm the work of these faithful scientists and all who bring their vocation in science to the church, both as members and active friends of congregations. We want to help them create spaces of engagement, build confidence and competence around scientific issues, and foster thoughtful, prayerful communities working in the world.

Over the next two years, ECLAS will provide funds and resources for projects that creatively change the conversation between the church and the scientific world, projects that develop a deeper engagement with scientists, theologically, pastorally, or in mission. Building on previous rounds at ECLAS as well as successful programmes in North America and Scotland and supported by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, we are offering £20,000 each to 20 congregations to host these projects and shepherd follow-up projects for one or more additional congregations.

Three actors stand on a set of the Earth.
‘Faith In The Questions’. Credit: Andrew Dyer

What Kind of Projects?

Scientists in Congregation (SiC) projects start with an established relationship between a local church leader and a professional scientist. The latter may be a member of the congregation, a colleague, or even a friend, but someone who has already engaged in conversation around faith and science. Together, they will propose a creative project that involves a local congregation and invites the public more broadly.

Past projects have included art installations, science fairs, plays, workshops, and lecture series. Noteworthy examples include Messy Church (and a follow-up focused on AI), the Ely Cathedral Science Festival commemorating the moon landing (“The Sky’s the Limit”), and Riding Lights Theatre Company’s production using the character of Job to tackle questions in faith and science (“The Faith in the Questions”). See all previously funded projects here.

How Does it Work?

The programme is set up to work with a strategic church that has strong ties with local communities. Up to £10,000 supports a primary activity at that location. Up to £10,000 more supports a follow-on project, which might reproduce the activity in another congregation, adapt it for a different context, train leaders for similar activities, or develop resources for broader engagement.

SiC projects draw on networks already in place, including understanding of the local context and support from senior leadership in the congregation and denomination. They reach out to a wider community making new connections and fostering creative approaches grounded in scientific and theological expertise.

How to Apply

To apply, submit a proposal by email by 23rd April 2021, 17:00 GMT. Proposals will be evaluated by ECLAS team members as well as expert advisors in science, theology, and communication. Awards will be announced in July 2021.

Please ensure you read the Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance on Proposals before submitting your application.

If you would like to speak to us before submitting your application, contact Despina Katsidou on sciencein.congregation@durham.ac.uk.

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Guidance on Proposals

       
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Scientists in Congregations FAQs

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Application Form - Scientists in Congregations