Our approach to science and scientific discoveries has a real impact on the mission of the church in contemporary culture.
One of the aims of the first, Ely Cathedral Science Festival was to become a ‘Cathedral for Science’. The Festival aimed to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine through arts, music, lectures, live experiments and worship. Ely Cathedral Science Festival was an ‘intentionally’ missional project, aiming very specifically, to reach out to new and diverse audiences, particularly families, children, and working age people. It also aimed to respond robustly to those who perceive the church to hold negative views about science and technology and connect with people who wish to explore faith in contemporary culture. There were displays and talks by the Cambridge Science Centre, an ethical discussion and panel debate about DNA technology, and a series of lectures by leading scientists exploring medicine, genetics, astronomy, engineering and climate change with a keynote lecture by Lord Robert Winston.
A major exhibition aimed to highlight key moments in the history of science and included an original copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica as well as dinosaurs, fossils and other items of scientific significance. Over the course of the festival we welcomed over 30 schools, 1700 local School Children, thousands of families, and 14,000 visitors to the cathedral. During our Night at the Cathedral events over 1500 people experienced hands on science with interactive displays and exhibits, and over 50 families enjoyed hunting for mini-beasts in the cathedral grounds and learning to appreciate nature. Our Education department have developed a Science Trail, exploring the wonders of the cathedral, and various other workshops which we will integrate into our regular schools provision. The people who built the Cathedral, itself a marvel of medieval engineering, were questioning and seeking answers about existence and our place in the world. The very design of the Cathedral was meant to represent life here on earth as well as in the world beyond and has helped people through the years ask the questions: where do we come from? Of what are we made? And Where are we going? Ely Cathedral today continues to be a place which inspires wonder, challenges people and confronts them with new foundations for belief.