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Columbia Theological Seminary awarded Climate Science in Theological Education grant

The grant by the American Association for the Advancement of Science will help the seminary further integrate science into its theological education

May 13, 2024

Photo by Beth Jnr via Unsplash

Columbia Theological Seminary has been awarded a Climate Science in Theological Education (CSTE) grant by the American Association for the Advancement of Science through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program.

The CSTE project provides grants to seminaries to engage climate science and climate change in the context of theological education and ministry. Integrating science into seminary education and events will encourage interest within seminaries and surrounding communities about the relevance of science to theological education and will produce a growing number of religious leaders equipped to help their congregants find answers to science-related questions.

Columbia Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Mark Douglas, co-leader in administering the $15,000 grant with colleague Dr. Martha Moore-Keish, said Columbia is the perfect place for such a program with the success of initiatives such as last year’s Just Creation: Shalom for Our Common Home conference on climate justice. Read more about the conference hereherehere and here.

Dr. Mark Douglas

“I felt like they’d designed it for us,” Douglas said. “Not only does Columbia Theological Seminary have an established track record of including attention to science in our curricula (including through a grant we received from AAAS about a decade ago), and not only does Columbia have an established commitment of pursuing environmental sustainability (one that is visible in our two LEED Gold-certified buildings), but our blossoming focus on environmental justice is growing, increasingly, towards the concerns of climate justice.

“As with all grants, we were fortunate to receive this one,” he said. “It also, though, feels like getting it was an expression of providence. It moves us forward institutionally in the very ways we most want and need to go as the contemporary climate crises deepen and as CTS attempts to follow the will of God in response to those crises.”

Over the next two years, Columbia will engage constituents on and off campus with a variety of workshops and forums, culminating in a spring 2025 evening activity with the local community, co-hosted by local partnering organizations, focusing on the impact of climate change in the immediate area and the importance of pursing local climate justice initiatives.

Dr. Martha Moore-Keish

Four overlapping components will guide the work:

  • Complicity — measuring Columbia’s current carbon footprint, and then inviting a scholar working at the intersection of the sciences and environmental justice to speak on campus.
  • Communications — working with campus officials and alumni to promote and publicize climate justice in churches and nonprofits served by Columbia graduates.
  • Curriculum — offering a workshop for Columbia faculty focused on climate justice and pedagogies and inserting the concerns of climate justice into syllabi.
  • Community — ensuring that these efforts work in conjunction with Columbia’s local partners in climate justice.

“We are grateful to receive this generous grant from the AAAS,” said Dr. Christine Roy Yoder, Columbia’s Senior Vice President and Dean of Faculty. “Under the excellent leadership of Drs. Douglas and Moore-Keish, this project is an important and timely next step in Columbia’s commitments to be and educate stewards and repairers of creation.”

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.  The nonprofit 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 Climate Science in Theological Education project, go herehere and here.

About Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary exists to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the Church and the world. As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary 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, go here.

Columbia Theological Seminary,  Special to Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: Columbia Theological Seminary awarded Climate Science in Theological Education grant

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Sara Hayden, Associate, 1001 New Worshiping Communities, Presbyterian Mission Agency  
Janet Hayes, Mission Specialist, Christian Formation, Presbyterian Mission Agency 

Let us pray

Gracious God, we give you thanks for opportunities to serve and care for those in need. Help us see the fertile ground all around us that you call us to tend and thus help bring forth fruit that meets the needs of our neighbors who you love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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