Lexington Theological Seminary (LTS) is proud to announce Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade, Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship, has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program for her project, “Equipping EcoPreachers for a Climate-Changed World.”

“Through this project, LTS will deepen its engagement with climate science and theological education by partnering with organizations that will equip, encourage, connect, and support preachers as they step into the realities of our climate-changed world,” Schade said. Those partners include The BTS Center (BTS), Creation Justice Ministries (CJM), and ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow (EBT). Each of these entities have a long-standing commitment to providing spiritual leadership in a climate-changed world.

The 18-month-long grant has three components. The first is an Earth Week webinar to be held April 23, 2024. “Climate Science, the Bible, and Theology: Possibilities for Preaching and Ministry” will be open to students, alumni, EcoPreacher participants, and the general public. The event will feature climate scientist Carlos Javier Martinez-Zayas in dialogue with Dr. Jerry Sumney, Professor of Biblical Studies at LTS, and Dr. Esther Parajuli, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology at LTS. Dr. Schade will moderate the discussion. The speakers will explore ecological and theological themes found throughout Hebrew and Christian scriptures and examine how climate science provides a lens for stepping into our climate-changed (and changing) world with curiosity, faith, and justice.

The second component will build capacity for integrating climate science in theological education by working with BTS and CJM to provide a seminarian “kinship group” within the online monthly meeting of the EcoPreacher Cohort hosted by BTS and CJM. In the third component, Schade’s course, “Climate-Crisis Preaching and Worship,” will utilize grant funds to partner with EBT in equipping students to learn about and effectively communicate to their congregations the basics of climate science.

“I congratulate Dr. Schade and her collaborators in obtaining this grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at LTS. “It is not only an important project with far-reaching implications, but it also reminds us of the role that science can play when placed at the service of theological and ethical critical reflection. Thus it serves also as an educational model for our students and for the Church at large.”

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. The nonprofit is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. Building upon its mission, AAAS established the DoSER program in 1995 to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities.

The Climate Science in Theological Education initiative is a project of the AAAS DoSER program. The project provides grants to seminaries to engage climate science and climate change in the context of theological education and ministry. Integrating science into seminary education and events will encourage interest within seminaries and surrounding communities about the relevance of science to theological education and will produce a growing number of religious leaders equipped to help their congregants find answers to science-related questions.

For the latest information and news about AAAS DoSER and the Climate Science in Theological Education project, visit:

AAAS.org/DoSER, ScienceReligionDialogue.org and ScienceforSeminaries.org.