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Science for Seminaries: Integrating Science into Core Theological Education

ATS has partnered with The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in a Templeton Foundation funded program to explore the place of science in seminaries. The goal is to incorporate science into theological school curricula and, thereby, influence future church leaders and people of faith. The project will also encourage theological literacy among scientists through a mutual exchange of ideas in one another’s professional contexts. The project’s ultimate focus is to nurture among people of faith the sense that science is relevant, complementary, and important to religious worldviews. This, in turn, would promote understanding, appreciation, and support for science among the general public. ATS member schools were invited to submit letters of interest to apply for grants that would support them in an effort to integrate more science into their core curricula, and ten schools have been awarded grants.

To prepare future religious leaders for conversations at the intersection of faith and science, AAAS, through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program, in consultation with ATS will host three Science for Seminaries 2016 Summer Faculty Enrichment Retreats. These retreats will provide opportunities for faculty to engage the learning outcomes gleaned from participants in the AAAS Science for Seminaries project. Participants will be able to impart to their students an appreciation for science, which will enrich teaching and service as seminary graduates minister to their congregations. The retreats will showcase the work of each project seminary. Designed to be intimate workshops with seminary peers, mentors, and scientist advisors, each retreat will guide invited attendees in gathering new ideas for enriching theological education with forefront science into their own curriculum design. Working in an ecclesial family group setting, each gathering will balance plenary presentations, workshops, and small group discussions with time for reflection.