The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced last month that it is taking on a new five-year initiative that aims to expand the role that science plays in U.S. theological seminaries.

It builds upon a previous project that saw the introduction of science to the curriculum at a significant number of seminaries across the U.S.

These AAAS projects, long-recommended by AAAS advisers, reflect the fact that “many people look to their religious leaders for guidance on issues relating to science and technology, even though clergy members may get little exposure to science in their training,” said Jennifer Wiseman, director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). “We are pleased to see such enthusiastic interest in science, technology, and implications for society in these training institutions for the nation’s religious leaders.”

The new Science for Seminaries Phase II will be completed with the help of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Organizers say that it is geared toward the goal of broadening contact with science in theological education for the benefit of faculty and students, and ultimately providing the religious public with the leadership it needs to consider advances and implications of science within faith communities.

The initial Science for Seminaries project resulted in over 100 courses touched by science and 85 science-themed events at seminary campuses. Leveraging the interest from the pilot project, the next phase will provide opportunities for additional seminaries to integrate science in their core curricula. The original 10 pilot seminaries were awarded three-year grants and were able to achieve a far higher level of outcomes than originally anticipated due to the creativity and dedication of the faculty leaders and their institutions, according to AAAS, which provides science resources and scientist-advisers to assist project seminaries.

Funded via a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, interested parties are asked to submit a letter of interest. More information can be found at www.scienceforseminaries.org.

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