What if God is StillSpeaking in a theorem, a poem, a new (or ancient) technology for medicine or communication, in green energy development or engineering, or in the application of quantum physics for the good of society? That's the reasoning behind the United Church of Christ's first designated Science, Faith and Technology Sunday, Feb. 17.
In celebration of Science, Faith and Technology Sunday, the church is proud to share a prayer from the winner of a contest held to mark the event.
Technology is one of God's greatest gifts to humankind. Technology, along with science and reason, are gifts that have great potential to improve not only our own lives; but to selflessly improve others' lives as well. Isn't that what Jesus taught us, to use our collective gifts to improve the lives of others? Technology is a gift that reaches the upper echelons of God's other gifts like creation, emotion, and free will. So let's all give thanks for this wonderful gift!
–Hank Kennedy-Cobb, St. Paul UCC, Warren, Mich. NYE 2012
The youth at the National Youth Event last summer were invited to submit a prayer for SFT Sunday, and Hank Kennedy-Cobb, a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, in Warren, Mich., is the winner of the contest. He is pictured with his some of his Confirmation class members touring Church House in Cleveland with their mentors.
His pastor, the Rev. Terri Powell Bracy, is delighted Hank's prayer was chosen. He affirms Hank's scientific and analytical mind: "Hank is an engaging and bright young man whose keen intellect often challenges his faith," Bracy said. "How wonderful it is that the United Church of Christ welcomes him fully, with all his questions and doubts, and provides a place for him to continue to grow spiritually as he participates in the ministry and mission of his local church."
The UCC's General Minister and President, the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, also shares this reflection for Science, Faith and Technology Sunday.
Science is a gift to our religious imagination. It took a while for many in the church to understand, but contrary to what many believe, science and technology is a gift from God. Science does not undermine faith; to the contrary, it is revelatory. Like any other gift that God has given, science can be used to accomplish good or evil. Science can be properly used, misused or abused. It all depends on the motivation and intent of the user. As with all other gifts received, we, the recipients bear the responsibility to choose how we use all the sciences and technologies --to build up, to welcome, to help, to heal, to reflect deeply, and care for God's creation and the world.
It is with this responsibility and theological imagination that our churches are joining with ecumenical and interfaith partners who celebrate "Evolution Weekend" in the month of February. We've formally designated February 17 (some communities will celebrate earlier or later in the month) to lift up all of the sciences and scientists in our UCC communities: from engineers - to physicists working on sustainable energy sources - to math teachers and health professionals – to environmental scientists, chemists, and evolutionary biologists -- not to mention students, tech visionaries and more in these fields than any one of us could begin to name!
–The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
The UCC's first designated Science, Faith and Technology Sunday was inspired by a 2008 Science Recognition Sunday initiated by former General Minister and President, John H. Thomas in conjunction with the denomination's Pastoral Letter on Science. That letter was the product of a UCC Science and Technology working group, which first began discussing ways to marry science and religion in the 1980's.
A few events around the denomination commemorating this designation include the "mid hour" conversation such at scheduled at Federated Congregational in Chagrin Falls, Ohio; and Darkwood Brew, a UCC online community, which is engaging a faith and science reflection through March 24, "Evolving Universe, Evolving Faith" in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and The Clergy Letter Project.
"We hope churches will celebrate and deepen science, faith and technology exploration and reflection inspired by this date and not confined to it," observed Kimberly Whitney, UCC staff liaison for the Science and Technology working group.