Anglican Bishops, Scientists, and Theological Educators Gather in Kenya
[Anglican Communion Office] Anglican bishops, scientists, and theological educators have come together in Kenya to explore the theme “Science and Faith for Enriching Human Life” from August 7th to 10th. The purpose of this gathering is to discuss ways in which faith and science communities can collaborate to enhance our understanding of the world and address the needs of people and the planet.
Development of the Anglican Communion Science Commission
These conversations play a significant role in the development of the Anglican Communion Science Commission, which was launched at the Lambeth Conference in 2022.
The First of Three Deliberative Workshops
Hosted by Bishop Joseph Galgalo at Saint Julian’s Centre in the Anglican Church of Kenya, this meeting marks the first of three deliberative workshops. The remaining workshops will take place in the West Indies and Oceania between August 2023 and February 2024. The goal is to gather Anglican perspectives from these representative regions on matters of science and faith and establish priorities for the Science Commission in the coming decade.
Discussion Topics at the Kenya Workshop
The workshop in Kenya covered a range of themes, including understanding different knowledge systems, the interplay of faith and science, the contributions of science to the work of the church, practical partnerships between science and faith communities (such as in response to the COVID-19 pandemic), and the importance of learning from Indigenous communities to develop knowledge. Participants also discussed the Lambeth Call on Science and Faith, a topic explored during Phase Three of the Lambeth Conference.
Facilitation and Planning
The Science Commission is facilitated by a project called “Anglican Thought Leadership Around Science” and an international team of clergy and scientists. The Kenya workshop was led by Jacquie Bay from the University of Auckland and Ednah Ojee from the University of Nairobi. Bishop Joseph Galgalo, Professor Andrew Briggs from the University of Oxford, Dr. Heather Payne from the Anglican Church in Wales, and Stephen Spencer from the Anglican Communion Office provided additional support and expertise. Planning contributions were made by teams from the West Indies and Oceania, with support from the International Science Council.
Vision and Impact of the Science Commission
The Science Commission aims to inspire courageous and confident thought leadership on science-related issues within church communities worldwide and bring the wisdom of faith to scientific debates. Professor Andrew Briggs expressed delight in the upcoming workshops and the potential impact of the Commission in improving human life and well-being.
Collaboration Between Faith, Science, and Community
Jacquie Bay emphasized the importance of gathering insights and experiences from across the Anglican Communion. The workshop provided an opportunity to hear how churches regularly play a vital role as “science communicators” in community life. Collaboration between faith, science, and community can have a significant positive impact on the common good. The Science Commission has the potential to foster thought leadership and confidence in science among Anglican churches.
Bishop Galgalo’s Perspective
Bishop Joseph Galgalo expressed his delight in hosting this gathering and highlighted the focus on the theological relationship between faith and science. The workshop explored how science, as a God-given gift, helps us understand and appreciate the world. As the work of the Science Commission progresses, the hope is that churches will learn from the scientific community in responding to human needs and contribute the wisdom of faith to ethical considerations in scientific discovery.
Upcoming Workshop in Jamaica
The next workshop will take place in Kingston, Jamaica, in November.