Today, discussions about science and religion are dominated by scholars who have spent their careers in elite Western universities and seminaries. Their work has greatly enhanced the quality and richness of these dialogues but does not benefit from the diverse experiences and perspectives of scientists in the Majority World. There is a need to raise up a new generation of thought leaders and communicators who can creatively address modern audiences with integrity, not only in the West but in the entire world.
The Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI), funded by the Templeton Foundation, is a five-year project that will focus on mentoring young leaders, particularly from Latin America and Francophone Africa. As part of IFES’ Engaging the University ministry, the program invites students, staff and academics to apply to be “catalysts”. Through biblical mentoring, skills-training and funding, the LCI will equip roughly 80 catalysts over five years to plan and carry out projects that draw together theological and scientific perspectives. Catalysts will run projects that foster dialogue with the sciences, both social and natural.
Alejandra Ortiz, a co-coordinator for the Logos and Cosmos Initiative in Latin America, is currently selecting the catalysts for her region. As a member of the Engaging the University team in Latin America, she has always encouraged students and staff to connect their disciplines to their faith. Now through LCI, she says this ministry will be emphasized in a strategic way.
“[We hope LCI will] provide formation for key people in the national movements and subregions, that they may become resources and mentors for others in how they relate their disciplines to their faith. We aim to see staff, students and movements who engage with the whole of the university and to invest in key people to model and inspire.”
Although these projects will begin at the campus level, they are expected to expand to national and regional levels. Working in close partnership with IFES national movements, the LCI will nurture a new generation of Christian leaders to bring theology to bear on major issues in their disciplines and produce relevant resources in their context.
Dr Klaingar Ngarial, Regional Secretary from Francophone Africa, writes,
“We believe that the gospel has something essential to say in all disciplines, whether it be politics, economics and science, or ethics, education and the arts. We want to see the followers of Jesus authentically involved in all aspects of campus life and debate, so that the message of the gospel reaches and transforms all dimensions of the university. The LCI will redefine and redesign the profile of the GBU of tomorrow. We see in the LCI a lot of promise for the development of national movements in Francophone Africa.”
Pray with us this week for the coordinators, catalysts, and mentors of the Logos and Cosmos Initiative:
- Give thanks with us for this new program and for the dedicated team of people working behind the scenes to make it happen.
- Pray for many strong applications to the catalyst program.
- Pray that this program would have a long-term impact on individuals, movements, the university, church and society.
UPDATE: The Logos and Cosmos Initiative launched on 5 January 2021. Catalyst applications are now open. Apply here if you would like to be a part of the first the LCI cohort to shape dialogues between faith and science within your academic field.