Fuller’s Office for Science, Theology, and Religion (STAR) Initiatives, an office that develops
projects at the nexus of the sciences and Christian faith, has been awarded a multi-campus grant funded by TBF Foundation. The Conversations in Community grant launched in June 2018 and is supporting four colleges in three countries by hosting strategic activities for students and faculty. Based on the latest research and utilizing academic coaching methods, these events and resources will catalyze conversations on challenging topics in educational communities. Project Leader Rebecca Dorsey Sok and Academic Contributor Laird Edman will develop resources for Point Loma Nazarene University in Southern California, Mariano Galvez University in Guatemala, and two other institutions.
“Christian college students are the future of the church. If we can create safe community environments at colleges for these conversations around faith and science, we could decrease the number of young people leaving the church or not pursuing scientific careers. Hopefully, these four campuses are just the beginning of a movement changing the academic climate for these issues,” said Sok. “The goal for the project is to bring up the elephant in the room,” added Edman. “People feel isolated and alone exploring their questions and beliefs because of fear. If we can cultivate environments of acceptance and humility, then real and honest human flourishing can occur.”
To eliminate that fear, the four campuses will bring students together to connect in ongoing, authentic conversations. Sok and Edman will equip local leadership with customized resources to increase the impact of these events. Resources include:
- Coaching curriculum for both one-on-one and small group campus discussions
- Training leaders and student-life professionals on utilizing coaching methods for faith and science conversations
- A guidebook of insights from this pilot project with suggested best practices based on feedback from the four colleges, for distribution to other institutions
“We are extremely grateful to The Blankemeyer Foundation for supporting STAR in their efforts to build the resources that will change the culture of college campuses around the conversation of faith and science,” says Lenny Moon, chief financial officer at Fuller Seminary. “By reframing the negative stigma of this topic, we will see Christians thriving in whatever vocation they are called to, and shaping the surrounding culture.”