AS a priest and a practising GP working in an area known as ‘Science Vale UK’ applying for a Scientists in Congregations grant was an important step for the Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey.
The benefice of Harwell and Chilton in Oxford Diocese where he is Rector – made up of two parishes – includes the Harwell Campus, an international centre of excellence for science, home to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, the European Space Agency and 200 science orientated companies.
The funding allowed organisers to stage public lectures on science and faith in the Harwell Campus, with talks from prominent scientists and attended by hundreds of people. The church also ran a family science club and a fortnightly discussion group. “We really needed to take the initiative and encourage Christians who are working in science and technology but also to reach out in a wider role to debunk the myth that science and faith are incompatible,” he said. “We have also raised awareness of the fact that there are prominent scientists both past and present who are Christians and I hope that we have increased the confidence of those who work in science and technology.”
The Oxfordshire project is one of 32 nationally to benefit from the funding from the national Science in Congregations scheme since 2016. A new round of funding has just been launched for similar projects. More details here.
Another science project in Oxfordshire has seen the Revd Jen Brown working as the Churn Benefice’s science missioner for three years – a project that comes to an end in December. Read our God in the Life of Jen here.
One of the fruits of this scheme was a conference at Ripon College Cuddesdon, with speakers including the Rt Revd Richard Cheetham, Bishop
of Kingston on why science matters to the church, Dr Carina Lobley, who is involved with the Harwell project and the Revd Dr Gillian Straine, who is now based in London but used to be a curate in Kidlington on science and religion, an opportunity for mission or apologetics?
The Revd Professor Alister McGrath also spoke on technology and faith – a vision for the future.
It is hoped that more events linking science and faith will be arranged in the near future. Let us know if you are organising something celebrating the link between science and faith by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org