Church of England moves 'from dinosaurs to DNA' to show how science and faith go together

Church of England

The Church of England is attempting to move from dinosaurs to DNA with the launch of a series of new projects designed to bring faith and science closer together.

In one project titled "Take your Vicar to the Lab" scientists who attend church will be urged to take their vicars on a tour of their working environments.

A further seven projects have also been awarded up to £10,000 in the new Scientists in Congregations scheme, aimed at helping churchgoers engage confidently with science and raising the profile of Christians whose vocation is science-related.

One of the grants will fund a "from dinosaurs to DNA" science festival at Ely Cathedral next year celebrating science, medicine and technology.

There will also be café-style discussion evenings with students and scientists in Baptist churches in Leeds, a family science and faith club at a parish in Oxfordshire and a project to develop 100 scientific activities for use at Messy Church.

Rev Tim Bull

Rev Dr Tim Bull, director of ministry for St Albans Diocese and a former member of the British Computer Society, who worked as chartered software engineer before being ordained, said: "God is the God of the Higgs boson, just as much as the God of the church choir.

"Yet clergy and scientists often live as if these are separate worlds. This project seeks to bring the two together in dialogue so that faith can be informed by science, and science enriched by faith."

Physics professor Tom McLeish of Durham University said:  "Helping our communities take delight in understanding the world around them by engaging with scientists is part of the Church's mission."

Project leader Rev Dr Kathryn Pritchard said: "There is a hunger in churches to be able to host and support informed, constructive conversations about the big faith-science related questions.

"These projects are each contributing, in small increments, to a shift in the mood of the faith-science conversation in this country."

The Scientists in Congregations programme is open to all mainstream Christian churches and is part of a three-year Durham University project run in partnership with the Church of England. The project is funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation and new grants for the next phase can now be applied for.

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