OTTERBURNE, MB – Providence Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that they have been awarded a Science for Seminaries seed grant in the amount of $15K for the 2021-22 academic year. It is part of an initiative that offers one year of funding to 12 seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
Science for Seminaries is a project of the AAAS DoSER program[i] that helps a diverse group of seminaries integrate science into their curricula. It provides support and resources to seminary professors so they can encourage informed dialogue and a positive understanding of science in their classrooms among students and future ministry leaders.
Drawing on Colossians 1:17, the Providence project is entitled In Him All Things Hold Together: Integrating Faith and Science. Providence Theological Seminary’s Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Dr. Robert Dean, is serving as Project Lead with the assistance of the University College’s Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Rebecca Dielschneider, who serves as the Project Science Advisor.
“Perhaps now, more than ever,” Dean remarks, “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. Amid these times of societal mistrust and division, if this project can in some way help to advance the conversation between faith and science and further equip pastors to engage with the findings of science in an informed and discerning manner, then its impact will far exceed its bottom line.”
Dean further explains that the seed grant money will go towards four specific efforts to help empower students, faculty, and the greater Providence community to engage in science and faith discussions by:
- Facilitating Science Development among Seminary Faculty – In the hope of enhancing the scientific knowledge of the Seminary faculty, members of the Biblical and Theological Studies Department will receive one-year memberships to the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation (CSCA), which will provide them with direct access to science and faith journals, books, online resources, and a network of CSCA members.
- Integrating Science Guest Lecturers in a Core Seminary Course – To incorporate science into the curriculum, our Seminary will invite at least two guest speakers to present in our Theological Foundations course, a core course required for every student studying at the Seminary. In order to have continuing impact upon our student body, the presentations will be recorded for use in future offerings of the course.
- Organizing a Science-Containing Student Sermon Competition – To help encourage our Seminary students to integrate science into their own faith and teachings, Providence is organizing a sermon competition. Students, alumni, and the general public are invited to submit sermons that display some form of engagement with science. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top submissions and highly regarded sermons will be considered for publication in Providence’s interdisciplinary theological journal Didaskalia. More information about the sermon competition can be found here.
- Conducting a ‘Science and Faith’ Seminar – Providence Seminary is planning to host a one-day Science and Faith seminar in March of 2022. The event will be held on the Otterburne campus, in addition to being live-streamed. The day will include special guest speakers (experts in theology and science respectively). Alongside the formal presentations and panels throughout the day, Seminary students will have an opportunity to interact with the visiting scientists and theologians over a special lunch, while Seminary faculty will have the opportunity to enter into further dialogue with the visiting scholars over dinner.
“We believe the guest lecturers, sermon competition and seminar will provide our students with necessary skills for leading their ministries and engaging churches in the 21st century,” says Dean. “In addition, this project provides an important stimulus for developing and deepening science knowledge and professional relationships between faculty and advisors, including those within the science department of our sister institution Providence University College. It is our hope and anticipation that these benefits will extend much beyond the 12-month timeline of this seed grant, and service the Prov community for years to come.”
Please be sure to watch for further communications via email and social media with details about upcoming events. We invite the entire Providence community to participate.
[i] The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving millions of individuals. The non-profit is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. Building upon its mission, AAAS established the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program in 1995 to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities. For the latest information and news about AAAS DoSER and the Science for Seminaries Seed Grant initiative, visit AAAS.org/DoSER and ScienceforSeminaries.org.