New round of funding for Scientists in Congregations


Churches across England are being invited to apply for a new round of grants to fund activities aimed at promoting a better understanding between science and faith.

Applications are being encouraged from Christian churches as part of Scientists in Congregations, a scheme aimed at inspiring discussion and learning about the relationship between faith and science.

The ecumenical project, part of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science programme, is open to all mainstream Christian churches. These include the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches, the United Reformed Church and Evangelical Alliance congregations and Pentecostal churches.

A total of 32 projects in churches, dioceses and cathedrals have been funded through Scientists in Congregations since 2016 for activities ranging from evensong services with a scientific theme, to public lectures, family science clubs and discussion groups.

The Bishop of Kingston, Dr Richard Cheetham, one of the leaders of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science, said: “Scientists in Congregations is playing a significant role in changing the ‘grass roots' level conversation about the way that the Church relates to science – both changing the way regular churchgoers view how their faith relates to science and the perceptions of those who don’t usually go to church but are fascinated by the events they attend.”

The Harwell and Chilton benefice, made up of two parish churches in Oxford Diocese, and in an area known as ‘Science Vale UK’ received funding for public lectures, a family science club and a fortnightly science discussion group.
Rector Dr Jonathan Mobey said: “We really needed to take the initiative and encourage Christians who are working in science and technology but also to reach out in a wider sense to debunk the myth that science and faith are incompatible.

“We have raised awareness of the fact that there are prominent scientists who are Christians and increased the confidence of those who work in science and technology.”

Notes to editors

Read stories of churches that have received Scientists in Congregations funding.

The deadline for application is January 7th, 2019.

Projects aim to build on existing links between church leaders and science specialists in their congregations. The science professionals can have an expertise in areas from physics, chemistry and biology to medicine, psychology and social scientific approaches to questions of human nature, culture and theology.

The Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science project, funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation, was launched in 2015. The co-directors are Prof David Wilkinson, Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University and an astrophysicist, with Professor Tom McLeish, Professor in the Department of Physics at York University and the Bishop of Kingston, the Rt Rev Dr Richard Cheetham. Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, based at Church House, Westminster, is project manager for the programme.