Science and Faith in the Second City

Chaplaincy Plus (Birmingham) has been awarded (£19,500) to explore the relationship between science and faith through the church engagement programme Scientists in Congregations, which is run by Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS).

Chaplaincy Plus (Birmingham) is one of 22 churches and organisations in England and Wales to receive grants totalling £400,000, to be used over the next 18 months on a creative, public-facing project.

The Chaplaincy Plus project is entitled Science and faith in the City: Birmingham 2022 and will be led by executive director Steve Bavington and Professor Hugh Rollinson in collaboration with church groups from across the city. The aim of the project is to demonstrate that science and the Christian faith work together thus challenging the prevailing conflict narrative. This new funding will allow Chaplaincy Plus to arrange a number of day-time and evening events through the spring and autumn of 2022 at which leading scientists will speak about their science and its relationship to their Christian faith in order to demonstrate that the science-faith dilemma is a false choice and that science is not a barrier to the Christian faith. To support this programme of events Chaplaincy Plus will also be arranging two training courses – one for church leaders and one for scientists who are Christians to explore in some depth the integration of science and the Christian faith.

Project co-director Steve Bavington said that ‘for many people God seems to have taken a back seat over the past year of coronavirus restrictions, whilst science has raced ahead to provide some amazing solutions to the pandemic. This exciting opportunity allows us to explore the science-faith dialogue on our home turf in the west Midlands and this new funding allows to bring to the region some of the foremost thinkers in this field’.

Scientists in Congregations is a programme run by the research project Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS). The ECLAS project is led from St John’s College, Durham University in partnership with the University of York and the Church of England. Its directors include the Revd Prof David Wilkinson and physicist Prof Tom McLeish. ECLAS and the Scientists in Congregations grants are funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. To find out more about their work please visit their website.

The Revd Prof David Wilkinson, Project Director of ECLAS and Principal of St John’s College, said: “We are delighted to be working with churches on such promising projects, and look forward to seeing how congregations and the communities they serve engage with science and faith in fresh and exciting ways. We are proud to offer additional funding for follow-on projects for the first time this year, which will help churches reach even more people with the message that science is a gift from God.”

Keep an eye out for the events in early 2022! To find out more please email Steve or Hugh.