Malvern Science and Faith Weekend, and the Politics of Hope

By SCM member Julian Wood

The Malvern Science and Faith Weekend is an annual weekend (always the first weekend in March) set up and organised by Andrew Webb and others. It is intended to be a forum for people to learn and think about the twin elements of science and faith, and how they can support each other in life rather than work against each other.

Over the last five years, the themes have included ‘Compassion’, ‘Human Being-Being Human’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Evolution’ and the speakers have included Peter Owen-Jones, Satish Kumar, Jocelyn Bell-Burnell and Revd. Roger Ray. This year, the theme was ‘Uncertainty’, and we were treated to talks from a range of academics on the Science of Uncertainty; a talk by Professor Tariq Ramadan on the Philosophy of Uncertainty; plus many activities for all ages.

The highlight of the weekend for me was a talk on the Politics of Uncertainty by former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. She resonated strongly with me as a Christian. I attended the Green Party conference in Bristol four years ago, and memories came back as to how much Green principles, values and policies overlap with my Christian faith.

She started by talking about how we live in such uncertain times. She then surprised me, and many others, by talking about how these uncertain times are actually times of great hope. She explained that the political philosophy of the last fifty years- of consumerism, unbridled private enterprise etc.- is coming to an abrupt end. The one sentence I will continue to think about it is this (paraphrased): ‘You have two options in these uncertain times. Firstly, you could sit at home and watch on your TV/computer screen how the world is falling apart. Or you can go out of your home and join in the myriad changes and initiatives that are happening everywhere in society, towards a new world’.

If you're interested in the next Malvern Science and Faith weekend, put the dates in your diary (2-4 March 2018) and keep an eye on the website: