Center for Lifelong Learning Awarded “Science for Continuing Education for Pastors” Grant

Center for Lifelong Learning Awarded “Science for Continuing Education for Pastors” Grant

March 14, 2017—The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) has been awarded a 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. This follows efforts at Columbia Theological Seminary, where the CLL resides, under a similar “Science for Seminaries” project also funded by grants from AAAS and DoSER over the past two years. During that time, Columbia Seminary has 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. The goal of the “Science for Continuing Education for Pastors” project is to bring science enrichment programs to pastors and clergy in a partnership between AAAS and seminaries.

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, we are considering our Pastoral Excellence Programs as a natural platform for this grant initiative,” said Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning and Director of Online Education. “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.”

This program strives to integrate natural systems sciences, and contemporary research in biology and neuroscience to the practice of leadership in religious systems. The CLL will offer at least one online course in its “contemporary readings” series, titled, “Readings in Science, Religion, and Faith.” Currently the CLL is exploring the possibility of collaborating with the Smithsonian Institute to bring its human origins traveling exhibit on “What Does It Mean to be Human?” to the campus of Columbia Seminary.

Other partners in the project include: Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, MO); Andover Newton Theological School (Boston, MA); Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Pittsburgh, PA).

About AAAS and the “Science for Continuing Education for Pastors” Program:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine ( and Science Signaling ( AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS ( is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Partnering with four theological institutions, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is launching a pilot project to enrich continuing education curricula for clergy by integrating scientific topics and technological advancements relevant to contemporary pastoral ministry into Continuing Education courses. Building on resources and relationships developed through the Science for Seminaries project, this complementary effort will reach pastors who have had little-to-no science exposure in their previous training. Having long promoted public education about the value of science in advancing human welfare, AAAS is uniquely positioned to offer this new opportunity.

The pilot will utilize educational formats that remove barriers of time and/or cost for clergy, identifying the most effective means of engagement and tactical approaches when integrating science-driven content. Resources and networks from Science for Seminaries will be leveraged to ensure success, and the lessons learned will lay the groundwork for a new effort to bring science to continuing education for pastors. Partnerships with seminaries and theological educators will demonstrate the importance of increasing scientific fluency among clergy, revitalizing the place of science in the broader American public through impacted congregations.

About Columbia Theological Seminary:

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

Located near Atlanta, Columbia Theological Seminary is strategically located to build bridges between scientists and people of faith who may find science unimportant, incompatible, or even threatening. Columbia’s proximity to great institutions of scientific learning and research, such as Emory University and Georgia Tech was one of many considerations. In addition to the high quality of the proposed projects, the selected group of schools includes geographic, denominational, and demographic diversity, including groups that are significantly underrepresented in the current science-religion dialogue.

AAAS DoSER Contact:

Se Kim, PhD
Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
American Association for the Advancement of Science
(202) 326-6728

CTS Media Contacts:

Israel Galindo
Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning and Director of Online Education

Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

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