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Grant approved for major ethics programme

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2021 11:27 PM

Sarum College will embark on a major programme to enhance teaching on ethics by exploring the interface of science and theology, thereby equipping those training for ministry to engage with science and new scientific developments as part of their future ministry.

Grant approved for major ethics programme

Original photo by Ash Mills

This work is funded by a grant to promote science-engaged theology from the ‘Science for Seminaries’ programme run by research project Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS).

The initiative focuses on 3 areas of scientific endeavour which integrate with Sarum’s existing Rural Training Pathway topics, and offers all ministry students the opportunity to study climate change as a key topic for the future of humanity.

Principal James Woodward says:

"Public ministry in the 21st-century requires flexibility, resilience and an ability to enable us to understand the wonder and complexity of our world.

"Too often science has been pitched against religion as a competing framework within which we understand ourselves and the shape of our human flourishing. The Science for Seminaries grant will enable us to develop our learning and teaching in the key areas of the environment, artificial intelligence and why life science can enable us to understand the possibilities of our life together in community."

The project is founded on the premise that it is essential for those who will have future roles in public ministry, both lay and ordained, to be equipped to be able to understand and interpret scientific developments for themselves, with their congregations and the wider public.

The project will be led by Canon Jill Hopkinson, Tutor in Rural Ministry and Director of Studies for the Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Hopkinson is a rural specialist with active teaching and research interests in ministry and mission in rural communities, rural sociology, practical theology and the common good. Her doctoral research was in agronomy and plant nutrition and she continues to be interested in current research in agriculture, food and environmental sciences.

Other Sarum faculty and external teaching staff directly involved in shaping and teaching the curriculum are Revd Paul Burden, Director of Contextual Learning and Coordinator for the Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry; Dr Eleanor McLaughlin, Programme Leader in Theology, Imagination and Culture, Sarum College; Dr Karen O’Donnell, Programme Leader in Contemporary Spirituality, Sarum College; Dr Jayme Reaves, Director of Academic Development, Sarum College; and Professor Christopher Southgate, Professor of Christian Theodicy, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter.

Sarum College was one of 9 Theological Education Institutes to receive a Science for Seminaries grant, the others being the London School of Theology, Nazarene Theological College, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Regents Theological College, Cranmer Hall, St Augustine’s College of Theology, Wycliffe Hall, and the University of Aberdeen’s School of Divinity.


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