Science and religion have always made for interesting bed fellows and this year – the 50th anniversary of the moon landing – four of our cathedrals will explore scientific views of creation through robots, Genesis in music, space suits, meteorite fragments and even a moonscape where visitors will be invited to take their own “one small step”.
The four projects in Ely, Lichfield, Chester and Manchester Cathedrals, are part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary this July of the Apollo 11 moon landing and have been made possible by funding from the Scientists in Congregations scheme to foster greater understanding about science and faith.
Luke Jerram’s art installation, Museum of the Moon, a lunar replica, seven metres in diameter, will be suspended from the nave of Ely Cathedral as the centrepiece of a three-week science festival on space exploration, future technologies and Artificial Intelligence called The Sky’s The Limit.
Ely – which is committed to being a cathedral of science– will also have a replica of Neil Armstrong’s space suit, meteorite fragments, has organised science-themed workshops, a schools programme and lectures, including one from the Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees.
Ely Cathedral Canon Vicky Johnson, a former research scientist, who is overseeing the festival, said:
“We hope by staging this spectacular event we can highlight the long tradition of scientific thought as part of our Christian heritage and build on our reputation as a ‘cathedral for science’ – encouraging greater understanding between science and faith.”
Ely Cathedral Science Festival between May 18 and June 9.
This July, the nave floor of Lichfield Cathedral will be transformed into a replica of the lunar landscape by its artist in residence, Peter Walker, as part of a year-long programme of events, services and art exhibitions inspired by the moon landing.
Other cathedral projects are: Genesis for the 21st Century at Chester Cathedral – consideration of Genesis and a scientific view of creation within the liturgy including a piece of music to be written to a text called ’Genesis for 21st century’.
And Religion and Robots is a project to film and edit three short films to be screened at Manchester Cathedral offering a Christian perspective on robots in society. There will be an accompanying resource pack.
The Scientists in Congregations programme is part of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science, a Durham University project run in partnership with the Church of England. The project is funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation.