International Center of Faith, Science and History (ICFSH)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) Program has awarded Hood Theological Seminary (HTS) a grant to integrate scientific content within its theological curriculum. This grant is part of AAAS DoSER’s Science for Seminaries project and is organized in partnership with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). HTS has established the International Center of Faith, Science and History (ICFSH), which will support the revision of required courses at Hood and help prepare its students to become scientifically literate in a society that is being dramatically transformed by science and technology.
Beyond revising courses at HTS, The ICFSH will sponsor campus events, worship services, community engagement activities and a podcast that will feature relevant topics from the dialogue between science and religion. The HTS Teaching Faculty for the Science for Seminaries project are Dr. Sharon Grant, Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity, and Dr. Mary Love, Adjunct Professor of Christian Education. Dr. Grant will serve as AAAS Project Leader and as the Founding Director of the ICFSH.
Dr. Grant is passionate about the role of international immersion courses in the spiritual formation of religious leaders. Through the ICFSH, Hood will offer a summer overseas intensive course in June 2020 titled, Science and Healing in the History of Christianity. This is not the first time Dr. Grant has organized and offered an overseas learning opportunity to the Hood community. During the J-Term session January 8 – 15, 2018, students travelled to Kingston, Jamaica with Dr. Grant to experience some of the realities of daily life as a seminarian in a developing country. The students stayed on the campus of the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI) and engaged with an interdisciplinary curriculum that included: Caribbean Theology, Caribbean Church History, Cultural Studies and Rastafarianism by some of the best scholars in the Caribbean. They also explored the effects of climate change by visiting Hellshire Beach, a popular local beach outside Kingston that was severely eroded due to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, removal of seagrass, and the construction of more hotels and other structures along the coast.
The international focus of the ICFSH will include periodic immersion intensive courses that expose HTS students to scientists and religious scholars whose research holds potential to promote the well-being of people and the planet. Integral ecology is a key concept in chapter four of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. It flows from his understanding that “everything is closely related” and that “today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis.” The ICFSH hopes to make a contribution to the work of developing ‘integral ecologists’ who understand the vital relationship between a society’s culture, religion and science.
Through the programs of the ICFSH, Hood aims to provide current, relevant and scientifically accurate content that will help pastors, chaplains, laity and community members implement their ministry to hurting people struggling locally, and engage in best practices that attend to the immediate global environmental crisis.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving millions of 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. Building upon its mission, AAAS established the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program in 1995 to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities. For the latest information and news about AAAS DoSER and the Science for Seminaries Project, visit AAAS.org/DoSER and ScienceforSeminaries.org.
For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Sharon Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.