Columbia Theological Seminary was initially one of ten Christian Seminaries part of a pilot program by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for integrating science into core theological curricula during 2015-2017. Grants totaling $1.5 million were awarded to the schools for integrating science into the curriculum for at least two core theological courses (such as those in systematic theology, biblical studies, church history, and pastoral theology) over two years. This integrated approach brings science into the core of seminary theological education, impacting the ministries of the graduates and pastors we serve. Resources from the project are being made available to interested seminaries as the project unfolds, some of which will be archived online at www.ScienceforSeminaries.org.
The AAAS lectures are one of many science-focused, campus-wide activities to complement these courses. During the initial grant, Columbia Seminary hosted over a dozen forum speakers and made significant additions to topics discussed in core curriculum classes under the direction of program coordinator Prof. Bill Brown.
Starting in 2017, The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) was awarded a new grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) for a “Science for Continuing Education for Pastors” project. With this grant The Center for Lifelong Learning will engage pastors and other religious leaders in a dialogue about science, religion, and faith. In the early stages of planning, Lifelong Learning will use its Pastoral Excellence Programs as a natural platform for this grant initiative. With twice a year meetings at four locations—Atlanta, West Virginia, Boston, and Portland OR)—the Leadership In Ministry component is a natural ‘fit’ for this emphasis.
In the Fall of 2017, Columbia Theological Seminary became one of fifteen seminaries across the United States and in Costa Rica to sign on to a rigorous 3-year certification program to integrate environmental care into all aspects of their institutional and community life. Boston University School of Theology, Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana, Union Presbyterian Seminary at Charlotte, and Columbia Theological Seminary joined the nine theological schools already enrolled in the Seminary Environmental Certification Program, (SECP), an initiative launched in 2016 by the Green Seminary Initiative, a program of Drew Theological School and GreenFaith.