Convocation on Faith, Science and Ministry
Saturday, January 20, 2018, 12:00 AM
For more information, visit https://vaumfoundation.org/bishops-convocation/
On January 20, WesleyNexus will coordinate a special program on “Faith, Science and Ministry: Where Faith and Science Meet.” It is a Convocation being presented by Bishop Sharma Lewis of the Virginia United Methodist Conference and the Fox Endowment, a collaborative “first of its kind event.”
Live-streamed from the Virginia Conference Center in Richmond, pastors and laypersons in the Baltimore-Washington Conference have the opportunity for real time participation by registering for the event being presented at Oakdale United Methodist Church in Olney, Maryland, hosted by Pastor Kevin Baker.
The ministry issue is the major concern that we all share across the denomination – and common to all mainline Protestant congregations – we are losing too many young people and young adults, especially when they go off to college and encounter the many disciplines of modern science – physics, biology, astronomy, and all of the courses of study leading to careers in medicine.
Bishop Lewis will open the convocation by addressing this concern, and introduce the featured speaker, Dr. April Maskiewics Cordero, for the plenary address entitled “The Coexistence of Evolution and Christianity.” Dr. Maskiewicz is a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University. Her research focuses on developing more effective approaches for teaching ecology and evolution that enable students to develop not only factual knowledge, but biological ways of thinking and reasoning about the living world. As a Christian biologist trained in science education research, she is in a unique position to investigate science students’ perceptions of the relationship between scientific issues that evoke controversy (i.e. origins of life, evolution, human origins) and Christian faith.
During the morning and afternoon periods there will be a series of four workshops, including sessions on interpreting Scripture, common stumbling blocks in understanding science, strategies for referencing science in sermons and worship, creation care of the earth, end-of-life medical ethics.
The first workshop will be led by Jennifer Secki Shields, WesleyNexus Board member and Founder & Director, Discovery & Faith. Her topic is “Stumbling Blocks & Building Blocks: Learning How to Follow Jesus in a Science-Shaped Culture,” with a focus on teaching younger children in our Church schools. After a lunch break, Workshop II is led by Rev. Bill Maisch, former WesleyNexus board member and Pastor, Poolesville Memorial UMC in our Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. Bill leads us in thinking about how we “bring science to bear in sermons, worship and ministry.” The third workshop is led by Michael Wriston, PhD, on “Creation care and end-of-life medical ethics.” Workshop participants at Oakdale Church and five other locations will be able to interact with the Convocation leaders in real time. The day will end with ideas for praxis – putting it all together for our local congregations, and there may be some ways for those of us in the Balt-Wash conference to facilitate some follow-up here.
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling urges all pastors and interested laypersons to take advantage of this opportunity. Any member of our Conference can participate, but advance registration is necessary in order to accommodate everyone for lunch and discussions at the tables.
We suggest that you access the website immediately to download a printable bulletin for your congregation and be prepared for a full day of thought, discussion and building some strategies that will work for you, as we build successful ministries in the 21st century.