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Bishop’s Convocation

Faith, Science and Ministry: Where Faith and Reason Meet

We know that 60% of our young people will not take the Christian faith into their adults lives, in significant part because of perceptions of conflict between science and faith. The 2018 convocation will explore two key questions.

  1. How can the church better engage science so that we can be more effective in our mission and ministry in a culture that has been and is increasingly influenced by science?
  2. How can we leverage—not just accommodate—popular interest in science?

Guest Speaker, Dr. April Maskiewicz Cordero, will speak on the topic, Exploring the Coexistence of Evolution and Christianity“.

The Bishop’s Convocation on Faith, Science, & Ministry will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the Virginia Conference Center in Glen Allen. The event will be live-streamed to other locations across the Virginia Conference and beyond.

Click here to register for the 2018 Bishop’s Convocation.

This event is sponsored by the Fox Endowment and the Virginia United Methodist Foundation.

About the Fox Endowment

When the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) closed its doors in May of 2016, the fate of a unique, beloved, but little-known endowed program was uncertain. But, that program—the Blackstone Seminar for Science, Theology, Ethics, & Ministry—has found new life in Bishop Lewis’ ministry vision for the Virginia Annual Conference “to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners, who influence others to serve.”  On January 20, 2018 the endowed program will find new expression as the Bishop’s Convocation on Faith, Science, & Ministry.

Louise and Russell Fox (pictured front row, third and fourth from the left, respectively) established the endowment to help clergy and laity better understand the relationship between science and Christian faith.

In 2000, Dr. Russell and Mrs. Louise Fox established an endowment that would provide for an annual gathering of clergy and laity for dialogue about the most profound relationships of science and Christian faith. During World War II, Russell’s work on uranium isotope separation became part of the Manhattan Project. That experience shaped Russell’s conviction that the church needed to understand developments in science and technology in order to bear witness to Christ in a world profoundly influenced by those developments. Louise had a lifelong love of VUMAC, rooted in the early years of her life when she knew it as Blackstone College. Together they shared a commitment to Christian education and lifelong learning. Said Rex Wolf, then administrator of VUMAC, “Each has a genuine interest in helping laity and clergy better understand the relationship between science and religion.”

Over the next 16 years, the Blackstone Seminar featured many world-renowned scientists, engineers, ethicists, and theologians as clergy and laity from the Virginia Conference and beyond gathered to discuss a wide range of topics at the interface of science and Christian faith. The last Blackstone Seminar was held at VUMAC in April 2016 and featured keynote speakers David Schulte and Jerald Johnson for “Sea Level Rise: The Impact on the Churches and Communities of Virginia.”

In June of this year, just as longtime participants of the Blackstone Seminar were beginning conversations with the Virginia United Methodist Foundation about the future of the Fox endowment, Bishop Lewis articulated her ministry vision for the Virginia Annual Conference.

The Fox endowment for a program on science and faith is as rare today as it was 17 years ago. And now, Bishop Lewis will use that endowment to do what has never been done before in the United Methodist Church—host a Bishop’s Convocation on Faith, Science, & Ministry.