The Center

The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences


From 1981-2015 the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) was an independent, self-incorporated affili­ate of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). During this time, CTNS depended primarily on program grants to support the salaries of faculty and staff. These grants includ­ed three international and interfaith mega-programs: The Science and Religion Course Program (SRCP), Science and the Spiritual Quest (SSQ) and Science and Transcend­ence: Advanced Research Program (STARS), funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

As time went by it became clear that becoming an internal program of the GTU would bring enormous benefits to CTNS. It would greatly increase cost-effectiveness, would give greater institutional stability, and it would make available greater resources to the Center. Most importantly it would provide a permanent home for the Barbour Chair, the two Fellowship programs, and Theology and Science. In turn, as a GTU Program, CTNS would give the GTU a wider role in the international aca­demic movement of theology and science. Clearly the time had come to make the transition from an affiliate to an internal program of the GTU.

The first step towards permanent institutionaliza­tion came in 2006 when the CTNS Board created the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science utilizing a gift of $1M from Ian G. Barbour, pioneer in theology and science and winner of the 1999 Templeton Prize. An inten­sive capital campaign was greatly empowered by a matching grant of $400,000 from the Templeton Foundation, and culminated in 2012 with the fund approaching $2M. During this time the funds for the Russell Family Fellowship and the Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship together rose to ~$120K.

In 2015 and 2016 CTNS worked closely with the GTU to undertake the legal transition of CTNS becoming an internal program of the GTU. Once again the Templeton Foundation played a pivotal role, this time with a grant of $1.3M to underwrite the Center’s operational costs. The legal transition was completed in May 2016 when the CTNS Board gave the GTU ~$2.1M in funds for the Barbour Chair and the Russell and Townes Fellowships. The challenge remains, however, to fully fund the Center as a Program of the GTU, and in turn to make the Barbour Chair tenurable and to support a permanent staff for the Center and Managing Editor for Theology and Science.


Advisory Board

Greg Cootsona, Associate Pastor, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, Chico, California

Lisa Fullam, Professor of Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California

Susan Hoganson, Chair, Graduate Theological Union Board of Trustees

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Chair, The Kuhn Foundation; Executive Producer, Closer to Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God

Braden Molhoek, CTNS Financial Assistant and Program Associate, and Adjunct Professor of Theology, Graduate Theological Union

Joshua M. Moritz, Managing Editor for Theology and Science, Philosophy Department, University of San Francisco

Ted Peters, Professor of Systematic Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California

Adam Pryor, Assistant Professor of Religion, Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas

W. Mark Richardson, President, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California

Robert J. Russell, Director, Ex Officio, Ian G. Barbour Chair of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union

Charlotte Russell, Minister of Seniors and Care, First Congregational Church, Berkeley, California (retired)

Fran Schapperle, staff member, John Templeton Foundation (retired)

Adrian M. Wyard, Founder and President, Counterbalance