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The Expansion

The Expansion 2021-04-29T09:05:30+00:00

Pioneering science-faith engagement project ‘God and the Big Bang’ has been awarded funding to expand its work with primary and secondary schools. The project will also relocate from the Diocese of Manchester to St John’s College, Durham University.

The project extension, funded by the John Templeton Foundation for 3 years, will see us run more than 200 events reaching 20,000 students and teachers to explore the exciting interaction between science and faith. Working with science, theology and education specialists, we will also conduct research into how students of secondary age make decisions on science and faith; the results could be influential for future science-faith activities.

God and the Big Bang began in 2013, after the Diocese of Manchester submitted a motion to General Synod that science and faith were compatible. The motion passed with an overwhelming majority and the diocese set up the project in response. St John’s College has a strong track record of facilitating and delivering science-faith projects. It is one of the leading centres for science-engaged theology in the UK.

Michael Harvey, Principal Investigator for God and the Big Bang and visiting fellow of St John’s College, Durham University said:

“I am delighted that God and the Big Bang has received this grant from the John Templeton Foundation which will allow us to offer an exciting programme of interactive science-faith sessions to pupils aged nine to 18. The events will provide a safe space to discuss, discover, and debate the boundaries between science and faith. As there is no scientific method for a hypothesis I believe the inner imagination of pupils needs to be nurtured as a legitimate partner to scientific knowledge.”

Revd Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College, Durham University, said: “We are pleased to welcome God and the Big Bang to St John’s College and to support this important work.  We are committed to the shared task of allowing students of all ages to encounter the Big Questions of life in a way that values the exciting insights of contemporary science and the rich resources of faith communities. By working with the scientists and theologians of the future, this project will help explode the myth that science and faith are incompatible.”

Rachel Ross-Russell, Chaplaincy Coordinator of St Francis Xavier School, North Yorkshire, said: “It has been amazing to see how our Year 10 students have responded to the teaching they have received, and workshops they have taken part in, led by leading scientists from Universities in the UK. Many of our students have come to the day believing that science and faith cannot be mixed, but have left at the end of the day having been challenged to consider that many leading scientists are Christian and that believing in both science and faith helps lead to a more complete understanding of both. As a school we have been so impressed with the professionalism of the team and with the content of what they have delivered.”