A GRANT of £400,000 is being shared among 22 churches and groups to fund outreach work exploring the relationship between science and faith.
Each organisation has received up to £20,000 to spend over the next 18 months on establishing a range of activities to demonstrate how engaging with science can lead to a deeper experience of faith. Topics vary from climate change to mental health. Up to half the funding is specifically targeted at follow-up projects that share activities or resources with neighbouring congregations to increase the programme’s reach and impact.
The grant comes from the church-engagement scheme Scientists in Congregations, which is run by the project Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS). Based at St John’s College, Durham, and supported by the University of York and the C of E’s Mission and Public Affairs Division, its aim is to show Christian leaders how they can engage with science to assist their personal faith and public policy work (News, 9 September 2016).
St Mark’s, Caia Park, in Wrexham, is using its allocation of £19,965 to join with the local science activity centre Xplore! to run Sunday-afternoon activity sessions and a holiday club for children. It is sharing teaching materials and programme content with churches of all denominations across north-east Wales. The scheme’s co-director, Elaine Smith, said that the money would support the churches’ efforts to re-invigorate their work with children after the pandemic.
“We hope to reach over 40 families linked to St Mark’s, and anticipate that the follow-on project will reach many more families in churches across north-east Wales,” she said. “We hope that the interactive science-faith activities we are developing will inspire children and young people to see both science and faith as important dimensions in their lives.”
The Rt Revd Dr David Thomson, a former Bishop of Huntingdon and a member of the panel allocating grants, said: “It’s really important to bring science and faith together as friends not foes, and I was delighted to see so many high-quality applications for grants to help do this, despite these Covid times.”
The full list of grants is:
- ChaplaincyPlus, Birmingham
- Chester Cathedral
- Cornerstone Methodist Church, Wadebridge
- Exeter Cathedral
- Great Yarmouth Minster
- Holy Trinity and Christ Church, Stalybridge
- Hull Minster
- Lichfield Cathedral
- Liverpool Cathedral
- New Hope Baptist Church, Coseley
- Radio Maria England
- Redeemed Christian Church of God, Sevenoaks
- Riding Lights Theatre Company
- St Andrew’s, Great Yeldham
- St George’s, Leeds
- St German’s Cathedral
- St Lawrence’s, Gloucester
- St Mark’s/Xplore!, Wrexham
- St Mary and St Eanswythe, Folkestone
- St Peter Mancroft, Norwich
- The Bible Reading Fellowship
- Wembley Family Church