Scientists in Congregations Awards Presented by the Archbishop of York


On Friday 21st October 2016 winners from our Scientists in Congregations scheme were presented with their awards by the Archbishop of York at his residence in Bishopsthorpe Palace. It was a fantastic event which highlighted the importance of celebrating science related events in local churches and cathedrals.

Awe and wonder are at the heart of both religion and science.  I am delighted that this event will recognise those who have done so much to see our universe with different eyes. As we gaze upwards and outwards we come to see more fully our place in this extraordinary created order and we see more deeply into the heart of our Creator God.

Archbishop of York – John Sentamu

The event took place with presentations from each of the awarded projects (see below).

We look forward to keeping you up to date with their progress!

1 Take your Vicar to the Lab – St Albans Diocese

This innovative scheme will give vicars the opportunity to visit laboratories with scientists from their congregations. This is in order for them to encounter scientific endeavour ‘at the coalface’ rather than at a distance.  Scientists will, in turn, be invited to speak at a Sunday service or another meeting with church members. Project organisers will issue a general invitation to clergy in the diocese who have an interest in science to visit a research laboratory or institute, for presentations and discussions by scientists and theologians. A programme of presentations by scientists and theologians will provide an opportunity for the wider public to engage with project.

2 From Dinosaurs to DNA – Ely Cathedral science festival 

Reflecting the Cathedral’s unique context, Ely Cathedral  will host a science festival from May 19 to June 22 next year to celebrate and explore the world of science, medicine and technology through discussion, debate, arts, music, worship and prayer. The grant will help fund a pre-festival training day for teachers and a networking event for scientists and anyone with an interest in science in the area.

3 Church Scientific, Leeds

This project wants to empower students by showing them how scientific ideas are developed through imagination, creativity, discourse and observation within the created order; how a person’s scientific ideas form a more or less compatible subset of their overall belief-system; and therefore that a scientist’s proposals are somehow connected, for better or worse, to their most fundamental beliefs (which may be called ‘religious’).

Discussion style evenings based in Baptist churches in Leeds and open to all in which science students and science professionals give talks before taking part in a question and answer sessions. Preparatory training workshops will be held for students and science professionals from congregations across Leeds.

4 Confident Christian Engagement with Science – St John’s, Lindow, Wilmslow, Cheshire

The aim of this project is to inform people that scientific enterprise can flourish within the Christian faith and, at the same time, to encourage and empower scientists within congregations. The church is situated at the junction of the Manchester Science corridor and the Cheshire Science Corridor with members employed in areas including universities, teaching hospitals and the nearby Jodrell Bank Observatory. The project will include ‘meet the scientists’ sessions, teaching presentations, a day conference, site visits to local laboratories and an essay writing competition.

5 Crossing the Gap – benefice of St Matthew’s, Harwell and All Saints’, Chilton, Oxfordshire

This project aims to promote confidence in the compatibility of Christian faith and scientific endeavour through a monthly family orientated science club undertaking science activities and through a science discussion forum for adults. Speakers will be invited to the church to give talks on science and faith and tackle the big and contentious issues that arise in that context. Audio recordings will be made of speaker events, and written materials from the discussion groups will be published to share with other churches.

6 Grace Church, Truro, (part of the New Frontiers Network)

The goal of this project is to raise the profile and significance for Christian discipleship both of scientific endeavour and the science-faith conversation. The project will seek to address the challenges and encourage these connections as big questions concerning science and faith are explored via live interviews with and high quality videos of church members who work in the sciences.

7 Messy Church Science, Bible Reading Fellowship 

Messy Church gives families and others the chance to worship together in a creative and participatory way. The grant will be used to develop materials to help Messy Church leaders to explore aspects of the Christian faith, demonstrating that faith and science are complementary and helping adults and children to appreciate the wonder of creation that science reveals and encounter God in fresh ways. A book with accompanying videos will be made to promote the work.

8 Cathedral, Isle of Man

This project will use church discussion groups led by scientists to produce a series of booklets for young people offering a tour of the cathedral gardens from a variety of science and faith perspectives. The booklets will help the public explore the Bible’s understanding of creation in areas such as caring for the planet, responsible mineral extraction, recycling and climate change.