For too long, science and faith have had a combustible relationship. But even churches evolve. In the UCC, we're not afraid of science and technology. In fact, we embrace it.
We are a bold, thinking church. We want to make clear the UCC's belief that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and we extend our unequivocal welcome to persons who devote their lives to scientific inquiry.
We recently released a groundbreaking theological statement, "A New Voice Arising: A Pastoral Letter on Faith Engaging Science and Technology," a new prophetic word about the millenniums-old feud between religion and science." Many today are hungering for an authentic spirituality that is intellectually honest and at home in a scientific era," the UCC's pastoral letter states. "They are searching for a new kind of wisdom to live by, one that is scientifically sophisticated, technologically advanced, morally just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually alive."
This year the Suncoast Saturday educational events at our General Synod feature a keynote by Jesse Rice, author of The Church of Facebook. Anne Foerst will present Suncoast Workshop: The New Social Media and the Challenge for the Church; Foerst also will speak at the Science and Technology sponsored meal on Religion In the Brain: A New Approach to Science and Faith. Foerst is Professor of Theology and Computer Science and Director of Nexus- The Science and Religion Dialogue Project at St. Bonaventure University. She is author of God in the Machine: What Robots Teach us About Humanity and God. Foerst served as research scientist at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab previously, as well as the Center for the Studies of Values in Public Life of Harvard Divinity School.
The UCC Science and Technology Network
Science and technology issues face congregations every day. At work and in family life, we are faced with dilemmas, hope, and cultural changes involving technology. This creates a need for dialogue and conversation in the church.
Every local church has individuals who are scientists, science teachers, physicians, or people working in medical fields. The expertise of these individuals and the community can serve as good resources for churches.
The UCC STN believes that science, technology, and Christian faith can learn from each other. There is no formal membership, though a small steering committee exists to work ecumenically, consult when requested, and encourage with a ministry of empowerment denominational reflection on these themes with youth, young adults, college, adult education, and in our worshipping life with technology and new media as a resource - but also engaging the big questions of science and tech of our day.
That means any of your efforts in local churches and conferences are part of STN as a virtual community! Central to this task continues to be the UCC's Pastoral Letter on Faith Engaging Science and Technology, and the one page study guide. We also encourage every church to designate a "Science & Tech Recognition Sunday" one Sunday each year on a date that works well in your church calendar. See worship resources linked here to help jump start - and invite youth and young adults as well as the scientists of the congregation, to participate in brainstorming and planning.
". . . we see a dialogue between science and religion as vital."
"I am delighted to see the United Church of Christ's clear support of science. I believe that science and religion are complementary to each other, and should not be seen as competing ways of looking at the world; they are concerned with different questions. In an era of such rapid science and technology advances – advances that bring benefits as well as, at times, risks -- and when science and technology are becoming ever-more imbedded in every aspect of modern life, it is essential that we maintain an active dialogue among scientists, ethicists, and religious communities. In the same way that UCC states that it cannot ignore the context in which it functions, neither can the scientific community ignore its societal context. For this reason, we see a dialogue between science and religion as vital."
Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer American Association for the Advancement of Science
". . . a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and perceptive discussion of science and religion . . ."
"This is a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and perceptive discussion of science and religion and growth of their helpful interaction. We can look forward to still more scientific exploration and understanding of the nature of the universe and of human life, and with that I trust there will be still better understanding of creation, spirituality, and the future of humans."
Charles Townes Nobel laureate for physics; Templeton prize recipient; Member, First Congregational UCC in Berkeley, Calif.
". . . a wonderfully clear summary of the serious challenges and exciting opportunities when traditional religious beliefs encounter recent discoveries in a range of sciences . . ."
"This is a wonderfully clear summary of the serious challenges and exciting opportunities when traditional religious beliefs encounter recent discoveries in a range of sciences – from cosmology to evolution, brain research and genetics. It also raises issues of social justice and environmental impacts arising from technology - from medical therapies to our unsustainable use of energy. It is truly a 'pastoral' letter in addressing personal questions in the lives of laypersons today rather than the more abstract debates common among theologians or philosophers."
Ian G. Barbour Physicist and theologian 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion; Author, "When Science Meets Religion" Member, First UCC in Northfield, Minn.
Ms. Kimberly Whitney Executive Associate to the Collegium Office of the Executive Minister Local Church Ministries 700 Prospect Ave. Cleveland,Ohio 44115 216-736-2112 firstname.lastname@example.org