Equipping Christian Leaders in an Age of Science (ECLAS) is an initiative based at St John’s College, Durham University, with centres in London and York. They are very active in doing research, giving advice, equipping senior leaders in the church, and providing resources for both theological training and for churches. They have been doing this for a number of years, and in 2020 received a £3.4 million grant to continue and expand.
ECLAS has run a very successful series of small grant-giving programmes called Scientists in Congregations. The aim is to enable scientists and church leaders to work together to put on events, develop resources, or find other imaginative ways to raise the profile of the conversation about science and theology in their own context. You can see what previous projects have achieved on their website. These have included several cathedral lecture series, walks, a play, new messy church resources, and ‘take your vicar to the lab’. A new round of funding will be announced in the coming months. Watch this space for the chance to pitch a project!
The ECLAS website is currently undergoing a transformation and a new website will be launched shortly. Currently there is a section providing some useful resources and interviews on responses to the Coronavirus pandemic. This material includes a number of articles and videos, including a conversation between the ECLAS Chief Project Director David Wilkinson and theologian Prof NT Wright.
The resources page also includes a series of Short Answers to Big Questions – 3-4 minute videos from David Wilkinson and Co-Project Director Prof Tom McLeish on a whole range of subjects that can be used as conversation starters. The videos accompany lesson plans for theological colleges that have been written by Rev Jennifer Brown, Ripon College Cuddeson; Rev Dr Ernest Lucas, Bristol Baptist College; Tom McLeish, University of York; Prof Michael Reiss, the UCL Institute of Education; and Dr Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter. There are also a number of personal reflections from scientists and theologians, and videos from eight church leaders conferences on a variety of topics. We look forward to seeing the further resources that will come out of this project in the coming years.