From the Fall 2016 issue of Currents, view PDF
On Tuesday, October 18, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) celebrated its 35th anniversary—and its new beginning as an internal program of the GTU. CTNS became a GTU program unit earlier this year, after a long and successful history as an independent nonprofit affiliated with the GTU. The October 18th celebration featured a retrospective by CTNS Director Robert Russell touching on the major facets of CTNS’s eventful history, as well as words of encouragement from current and former CTNS staff, students, and colleagues.
The GTU and the CTNS Board of Directors began pursuing the possibility of CTNS joining the GTU as an internal program unit several years ago. This was done with recognition of the deep consonance between the two institutions, and in an effort to secure a permanent home for the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science and the rest of the CTNS program. The Ian Barbour Chair was established by CTNS ten years ago, beginning with $1 million Ian gave to CTNS from his 1999 Templeton Prize.
In December 2015, the CTNS Board transferred to the GTU the Barbour Chair as well as its two endowment funds: the Russell Family Fellowship in Religion and Science and the Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship. The combined gift was worth approximately $2.1 million. Then, in May 2016, CTNS transferred the journal Theology and Science as well as other CTNS programming to the GTU.
GTU President Riess Potterveld celebrated the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences becoming a permanent part of the GTU: “Since its founding, 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. We are delighted to welcome the Center into a new and even more vital relationship as a program and an integral part of the Graduate Theological Union.”
Already enjoying the benefits of its new relationship with the GTU, CTNS is looking ahead to a future of exciting programming, scholarship, and publications at the forefront of the conversation between theology and the natural sciences, as well as the continuing fruits of the now permanent Barbour Chair in Theology and Science at the GTU.
Photo Caption: GTU doctoral students Austen Eikenberry and Daekyung Jung with CTNS Director Bob Russell during a recent GTU doctoral seminar on “Christian Theology and Natural Science.”