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The Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science project at St John’s has been awarded a five-year, £6.2million grant to support bishops and senior Christian leaders worldwide to engage with science.

Today, ECLAS is launching an exciting new strategy to build on its work with senior Church leaders. This includes partnering with four institutions around the world to establish a global network of research and practice, along with further rounds of grant programmes Scientists in Congregations and Science for Seminaries.

The new phase of ECLAS will run from April 2023-December 2027 and will be funded by a £6.2million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The funding will allow ECLAS to collaborate internationally and support science-theology engagement beyond the UK. Each partner institution will receive funds to distribute as awards for regional Scientists in Congregations and Science for Seminaries programmes. They will run and monitor their own programmes, in partnership with ECLAS, to address local issues and create culture change at every level of the Church.

St John’s College is also delighted to introduce two new steering group members who will join the multi-disciplinary team leading this work. Revd Dr Lucas Mix is an astrobiologist who has acted as ECLAS project co-ordinator since 2020. Revd Steve Muneza is Director of Formation and Mixed-Mode Training at Cranmer Hall and brings rich experience of Christian development in East Africa. They will join the St John’s College Principal Revd Prof David Wilkinson, the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, Revd Dr Malcolm Brown and Dr Amanda Rees on the steering group.

The Principal said: “Science is a gift from God to the Church, and our vision for the next five years is to equip more senior Church leaders around the world to engage with science and the opportunities it offers to deepen faith.

“We are very grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for this grant. It will allow us to build on the expertise we have gained in the last decade to support emerging hubs for science-religion research and engagement in parts of the world where this conversation hasn’t yet been explored.”

The Revd Prof Malcolm Brown, Director of the Church of England’s Faith and Public Life team and member of the steering group, said, “During ECLAS’s first ten years, the narrative concerning science and religion has increasingly become one of mutuality and dialogue, as the profundity of new questions emerging from science signals the need for a reconnection with the world’s great traditions of meaning and ethics. As the calls from the Lambeth Conference in 2022 demonstrated, this is now a global, not just a Western, priority for the Anglican Church. I am delighted that the Church of England will continue to be a partner with ECLAS into the future.”

The new grant will begin in April, following directly on from a previous grant from the Templeton Religion Trust.