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This article was published 12/11/2021 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Providence Theological Seminary has been awarded a $15,000 seed grant by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The seminary, which offers training for clergy out of the evangelical tradition, will use the Science for Seminaries grant to integrate science into its curricula, support and resource professors so they can encourage a positive understanding of science in their classrooms, and host a public conference on science and faith in spring 2022.
"It’s part of our overall commitment to integrating faith and science," said Robert Dean, who is one of the leads on the project and teaches theology and ethics at the seminary, located on the campus of Providence University College in Otterburne.
"It’s a way for us to serve the church at a time when there is a lot of misinformation about science and how it works."
Titled: "In Him All Things Hold Together: Integrating Faith and Science," a reference to the New Testament book of Colossians Chapter 1 Verse 17, Dean said receiving the award is timely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Pastors can be the best sources of debunking false information since they have relationships with people in their congregations," he said, noting some Christians are suspicious of vaccinations, mandates and masking.
Through the grant, he hopes the seminary can do more to help pastors "think about science theologically in the context of God’s good creation."
Noting some of the most famous theologians in history were also scientists — such as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin — Dean said the gulf between science and faith for some Christians is a more recent thing, going back about 100 years to the rise of fundamentalism.
Providence Theological Seminary hopes it can play a role in building a bridge between faith and science among evangelicals in Manitoba and beyond, he said.
"I hope we can be seen as a trusted and reliable source of information," Dean said, adding "more than ever, the church must recover a robust understanding of the integrated nature of scientific knowledge and the knowledge our faith provides. As people of the Truth, we have no need to fear truth wherever it may be found."
In addition to Dean, also helping to lead the project is Rebecca Dielschneider, who teaches biology at the University College.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society.
John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.