In the UK, many church leaders want to engage with science but are often not equipped to do so, or wary of mainstream science because of theological or ethical debates. E.g. in a recent survey 10% of Christians thought the church was ‘not compatible with science’. A more in-depth national survey found that only 72.6 % of Anglicans and 19.5% independent evangelicals accept human evolution.
This project will help Christians engage with a wide range of scientific topics in a positive way, building on the good foundations already laid by Faraday staff, as a core part of the Faraday Institute’s dissemination activities in its new location on the Westminster College campus.
We will establish a new systematic and strategic outreach program, building sustainable working relationships with the main UK denominations, focusing 50% of our time on the Nonconformist denominations within which mainstream science can cause the most controversy. We will run 3 courses for church leaders per year, supporting attendees as they return to their congregations. We will recommend speakers for conferences and events around the UK, training the next generation of believing scientists to speak in churches. We will provide a steady stream of resources in a simple but attractive format, including a church-focused section of the Faraday website with weekly new content, social media, and input into Christian media.
This project will take us beyond our current situation of responding piecemeal to individual requests and needs. Working alongside other UK-based organizations, with a clear and systematic strategy, we will serve church communities by developing relationships, materials and activities that equip them to engage well with science. Over the 33 month period of this grant the work will build momentum and become established as a key service to the church, becoming self-sustaining over time so that it is no longer reliant on support from large grants.