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York Minster has been awarded £10,000 to develop new learning trails that will reveal how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), helped to build the 800 year-old medieval cathedral.
The Minster is one of ten worship communities to receive funds under the Scientists in Congregations programme, run by Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science. The successful projects span a range of denominations and ecumenical networks.
York Minster’s project – ‘Cathedral Thinking’ STEM Trails – will see the development of a suite of learning trails for children, families, school groups, visitors and worshippers highlighting how the building, its history, use and origins can be navigated via science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Revd Canon Victoria Johnson, York Minster’s Precentor, was a Cancer Research scientist before ordination and has worked at the interface of science and religion for many years. She believes that science can help people to engage with the Christian faith in new and creative ways. Canon Victoria said: “There is a scientific underpinning for almost everything that you find at York Minster: the stunning geometry of the Chapter House roof and the Rose Window; the ancient stone and stained glass right, through to the contemporary structures such as the spectacular new Centre of Excellence that we are developing as part of the York Minster Neighbourhood Plan.
“We will use the Scientists in Congregations award to develop a set of exciting learning trails focused on key themes such as Astronomy, Light and Colour, Ecology, Engineering and Geometry. Visitors will be able to explore trails both inside and outside stopping at stations and points of interest to learn how science, technology, engineering and mathematics helped to build York Minster.”
This is the fifth round of Scientists in Congregations awards. Since 2014, over 80 churches have received £750,000 through the Scientists in Congregations programme (including the latest round).
Scientists in Congregations is administered by Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS). ECLAS is led from St John’s College, Durham University in partnership with the University of York and the Church of England. ECLAS, and the Scientists in Congregations grants, are funded by the Templeton Religion Trust.
The Revd Prof David Wilkinson, ECLAS Project Co-Director, said: “We are thrilled to support church leaders to explore how science can enrich and expand our view of faith.
“These Scientists in Congregations projects imaginatively demonstrate how science is at the heart of Christian faith, recognising it as a gift from God and recognising the vocation of scientists.”
The full list of churches and organisations receiving funding to participate in Scientists in Congregations 2022-23 is:
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