Park Church Highlands Denver, Colo.
WONDER: Science's Gift to the Church
Thursday, Nov. 18 6:30 p.m. MT
“Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!”
– Psalm 89:5
When the Hubble Telescope launched in 1990, it opened the world’s eyes to the vastness and beauty of outer space. For the first time, scientists saw what black holes looked like, watched as stars formed, and plumbed the depths of a galaxy. Deep space exploration revealed wonders about the created world but also challenged assumptions about the age of the universe and other mysteries, questions which at times, have made some people of faith uneasy.
The tension between the work of scientists and their faith communities is not limited to astronomy. Scientists in other fields describe being met with suspicion as if their work was a threat to long-standing beliefs of the Christian faith. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
What if the work of scientists could enrich and expand our understanding of God?
What if scientists could lead us to greater wonder and worship?
Join Denver Institute for Faith & Work and keynote speaker Jennifer Wiseman, astronomer and astrophysicist, for an evening exploring the work of scientists as a gift to the church. Panelists Philip Yancey, author of best-selling books including Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, and Father Joseph Wolyniak, Associate Rector at Christ Church Denver will discuss the implications of integrating faith and scientific inquiry for individual believers and the local church.
Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, author, and speaker. She studies the process of star and planet formation in our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes and has worked with several major national observatories. She is also interested in national science policy and public science engagement and directs the program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received her B.S. in physics from MIT, discovering comet Wiseman-Skiff in 1987, and continued her studies at Harvard, earning a Ph.D. in astronomy. She continued her research as a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and as a Hubble Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. She then served as a Congressional Science Fellow of the American Physical Society, working with the staff of the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and is now a senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Wiseman is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, a network of Christians in Science. She enjoys giving talks to schools, churches, civic organizations, and campus groups on the excitement of astronomy and scientific discovery, and has appeared in many science and news venues including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NOVA, and National Public Radio. She grew up on an Arkansas farm enjoying late-night stargazing walks with her parents and pets.
For Philip Yancey, writing is a way to explore faith. “At times we ask questions like ‘Where is God when it hurts?’ or ‘Does prayer make any difference?’ As a freelance writer, I feel privileged to explore such questions full time.” True to his calling, Yancey wrestles in print with God, with the Church, and with fellow believers. In the process, he has authored over two dozen books, including the bestsellers What’s So Amazing About Grace and The Jesus I Never Knew. In all, his books have sold more than 17 million copies in English, and have been translated into some 50 languages worldwide. He contributes to the conversation about faith and science through his involvement with Biologos, the American Science Affiliation, and publications, including his book Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image. After surviving a church background of what he now calls “toxic faith,” Yancey ultimately came to know a God of grace and beauty. A memoir titled Where the Light Fell, published in 2021, tells that complete story for the first time.
Rev. Joseph Wolyniak serves as associate rector at Christ Church Denver and chaplain to The Foundation at the University of Denver. Prior to ordination, Joseph studied neuroscience and worked in university laboratories focusing on the neuropathology of traumatic brain injury. He also holds degrees in philosophy and theology, focusing on the intersection of science and religion, with studies at Duke University and Oxford University (Harris Manchester College). He is married to The Rev’d Liz Costello (St Gregory’s Littleton) and is the proud parent of two kids under 6.