The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences Announces $1.3 Million in New Support from the John Templeton Foundation

from Currents Spring 2015

The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) has received $1.3 million in new funding from the John Templeton Foundation to support and enhance CTNS programming.

The support will facilitate the transition of CTNS into an internal Program Unit of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). Founded in 1962, the GTU is the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States, dedicated to building bridges within and across different religious traditions by educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service. The GTU will provide CTNS with a permanent institutional foundation, allowing the Center to expand and enhance international science and religion programs that build on its track record of raising over $25M in program grants. And as a Program of the GTU, CTNS will give the GTU world recognition as a stellar leader in the international and interfaith field of science and religion.

“This remarkably generous support from the Templeton Foundation opens up a whole spectrum of future possibilities for CTNS on the horizons of research, education, and public service in science and religion,” said CTNS Founder and Director, Dr. Robert John Russell.

Core programs at CTNS include research, teaching, and public service.  The Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science at the GTU offers courses at the master’s and doctoral level. Theology and Science, an academic quarterly journal, is available online and in print to CTNS’s international members. The annual J. K. Russell Fellowship in Religion and Science brings a distinguished scholar in religion and science to the GTU for research, teaching, and public service, while the annual Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship offers financial support to GTU doctoral students specializing in theology and science. And CTNS has a 20-year history of organizing conferences with the Vatican Observatory, a partnership which has led to seven major publications. 

CTNS’s external programs likewise range widely. Through its “Science and Religion Course Program” (SRCP), the Center helped create hundreds of new courses in science and religion at research universities, colleges, and seminaries worldwide. It has sponsored a host of distinguished public lectures by world-class scientists through its program on “Science and the Spiritual Quest.” All of these programs received funding from the Templeton Foundation, the mission of which is to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.

“Since its founding in 1981, CTNS has brought to the world stage issues integral to the discourse in science and religion, and it has been breaking new ground through its innovative research, teaching, and contributions to the public conversation,” said GTU President Riess Potterveld. “We are delighted to welcome the Center into a new relationship as a Program and an integral part of the Graduate Theological Union.”