The Episcopal Church Network for Science, Technology & Faith


Vol. 2-3, Christmas 2003


Science-and-religion action at the General Convention

The 74th General Convention, meeting in Minneapolis last summer, accepted the following resolutions with science-and-religion import (to read each piece of legislation in its entirety, click on the title).



ST&F Committee to restructure its approach

The report of the ST&F Committee to the General Convention was accepted. It includes a proposed reorganized approach to the Committee's work during the coming triennium. Rather than form subcommittees to do in-depth studies of a few topics (as it did during the previous triennium), the Committee proposes to form an electronic resource center of articles, research reports, book reviews, essays, bibliographies, etc., that bear upon the faith and the faithful living of Episcopalians, in the opinion of the Committee. Each will be prefaced with a statement that draws out its significance to theology, worship, or ethics.

The Committee thinks that this electronic resource library will be of educational value to the Church at all levels, from its individual members, to parish and diocesan study and discussion groups, to diocesan and national church committees and commissions.

The text of the ST&F report may be found at ST&F Blue Book Report.

New ST&F Network brochures to be mailed to all members

Members can expect to receive copies of the new Network brochure printed for the General Convention. Everyone is asked to give these to prospective new Network members and/or put them into parish tract-racks, in order to help publicize the existence and mission of the Network.


In the Spotlight: Some Network members take a bow

In this new feature, we invite our members to introduce themselves with short biographies. Please send your own bio-sketch to the Editor. Give your email address if you wish others to contact you.

  • The Rev. Canon Johnnie Ross, Rector, St. James Parish, Prestonsburg, Kentucky

  • Ms. Susan Youmans, Executive Director, Environmental Partnerships, Boston, Massachusetts

  • Mr. Charles S. Hurley, freelance science writer, Oakland, California


    "Postmodern Puzzlers": Fred Burnham's summary of two decades of Trinity Institute Conferences

    The Rev. Dr. Fred Burham, historian of science and founding leader of the ST&F Network, recently retired as the third director of Trinity Institute (see article in the last issue of this Newsletter, -Issue 2-2, Sts Peter and Paul-). Every year, the Trinity Institute National Conference has identified the leading edges of contemporary theology, which necessarily include the influences of science and technology. In a retrospective of the twenty National Conferences he put together, he says that he recognizes a persistent theme: working to piece together a postmodern puzzle.

    "As historians look back at the 20th century, I believe that they will recognize one of the great intellectual shifts in human history, comparable to the development of ancient Greek philosophy, the emergence of the medieval synthesis, the birth of the Renaissance, and the rise of modern science. In other words, the 20th century was an era when old and established ways of knowing and thinking became flawed and the human community struggled to find alternative ways of knowing that were both intellectually sound and psychologically secure.

    "When the twentieth century opened, we still lived happily and securely in the safe house of Enlightenment reason and modern science," he writes. "God had built for us a perfectly harmonized, clockwork world.... Slowly but surely, however, the scientific community that had built this rational kingdom began to discover cracks in its walls," and the search for additional pieces to the puzzle resumed, using new techniques.

    Read the entire essays in the archives of Trinity News, "Postmodern Puzzlers".


    "Heavens": Telescopes in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

    The large and famous cathedral of the Diocese of New York, housed a display of astronomical instruments last summer. Called "Heavens," the display consisted of telescopes installed in the nave of the Cathedral--perhaps surprisingly. They afforded visitors a close-up of details of the architecture and the stained glass. "Presented matter-of-factly, the telescope maintains its identity as a tool of science," said the cathedral website, "thus engaging the space visually as well as historically. Tensions between Faith and Reason are implicit and unresolved in the pluralized title, as well. The Heavens provides viewers a chance to more closely examine their surroundings as well as their beliefs.

    For the current calendar of worship, events, and displays at the cathedral, see the Cathedral Website.


    Invitation to join the ST&F Network

    Join the ST&F Network, and help your church. The Network constitutes a pool of resource people with scientific and technical background who can serve as consultants for the Episcopal Church, through its various committees, commissions, and boards--especially the Executive Council Committee on Science, Technology and Faith.

    The Network serves as an Association for Episcopalians interested in how faith and ethics interact with technology and science (including medicine, environmental studies, and other disciplines). Any Episcopalian, lay or ordained, with an interest in the interactions of faith with science and technology may belong to Network as Regular Members. There is no limit to its size, and no formal training in a scientific or theological discipline is required. Non-Episcopalians are welcome to become Associate Members and to enjoy the benefits of the Network.

    The duties of Regular Members are as follows:

    While no one should anticipate becoming rich, powerful or famous through membership in the Network, still there are benefits to be enjoyed, including:

    Current and new members are humbly yet strongly requested and encouraged to send their Newsletter subscription fee (at least $10, more if able, as a tax-deductable donation) to the Network Treasurer. Mail checks payable to "Network for Science, Technology and Faith" to:
    The Rev. Dr. Peter Arvedson, S.O.Sc.
    Communications Secretary, ST&F Network
    13070 W. Bluemound Rd., #311
    Elm Grove, WI 53122

    Print out, complete, and mail in the following form with your subscription/donation:


    Postal address:


    E-mail address:

    Phone number(s):

    Field(s) of training, experience:

    Particular interest(s) in science/technology/faith:

    Current or most recent professional activity:

    Are you willing/able at this time to lend some of your experience/expertise to the work of the church?


    Past issues of the Newsletter:
    Vol. 1-1, All Saints 2001
    Vol. 1-2, Epiphany 2002
    Vol. 1-3, Trinity 2002
    Vol. 2-1, New Year 2003
    Vol. 2-2, Sts Peter & Paul 2003

    All Network Newsletter materials may be reproduced with proper attribution.
    Revised: 31 December 2003
    Send comments and news items to the Network Newsletter editor, The Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran, S.O.Sc.

    Editor's homepage