Mr. Darwin’s Tree, the acclaimed one-man play, to tour US Christian colleges in 2019


Mr. Darwin’s Tree, the acclaimed British one-man play about the life and work of Charles Darwin, will tour 11 North American Christian college campuses in 2019. Produced by SCIO, and underwritten by Templeton Religion Trust, and The Blankemeyer Foundation the tour aims to strengthen the educational environment on CCCU campuses by enhancing the conversation on science and religion.

Written by noted playwright and director Murray Watts (The Miracle Maker, KJB: The Book that Changed the World, The Dream) and starring leading British film, TV, and theatre actor Andrew Harrison (Dorian Gray, Miss Marple, Beyond Narnia), Mr. Darwin’s Tree presents a very human and very real Charles Darwin, one who wrestled with the challenges that his theories posed for traditional beliefs. It also presents Darwin’s wife, Emma, as an intelligent and articulate representative of Christian faith. In doing so, the play rejects the ‘straw man’ effigies of Darwin presented by both his extreme protagonists and antagonists, providing the opportunity for lively engagement, thoughtful conversations, and fresh explorations.
‘Discussing creation and evolution in abstract terms often leads to polarized and emotional debates,’ said SCIO Executive Director and Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities Project Director, Dr Stan Rosenberg. ‘Seeing these issues in their historical context and connected to real people, by contrast, helps us to understand the complexity of the issues and to discuss them in more nuanced and less confrontational ways.’
Hailed for packing in ‘a great deal of history and fascinating insight [thanks to] the show’s 75-minute bravura performance by solo actor Andrew Harrison’ (Christian Today) and acclaimed as ‘an elegantly conceived, clever and highly informative performance, overflowing with gentle humour and charm (Three Weeks Magazine, Edinburgh), the tour will mark the play’s [...]

Life after SCIO: alumnus accepted for PhD in Theology at Yale

We are pleased that our alumnus Samuel Ernest has been accepted to a PhD programme at Yale.

Sam grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire and Grand Rapids, Michigan and studied English Literature at Seattle Pacific University. He graduated with a Masters of Art in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music, as well as a Certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School.

His time with SCIO helped him developing his academic interests:
In my first term with SCIO, Michaelmas 2013, I discovered gay literature, which profoundly challenged my understanding of what sort of shapes life and love can take. When I returned for Michaelmas 2014, I took a Special Topics tutorial designed with tutor Jonathan Thorpe called “Faith and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Fiction,” which laid the groundwork for both my SCIO thesis and my honors thesis at SPU.
His work at SCIO was a foundation for his PhD topic:
My work will map and plumb the boundaries between religion and literature, religious studies and theology, and queer theory and systematic theology. I hope to spend considerable time with poetry and theology by marginal gay and queer figures from the mid-twentieth century through the present day to better understand how gay writers reimagine the Christian forms of erotic and divine desire they’ve inherited and, from there, to offer my own constructive thoughts on gay literature might inform doctrine.
In the future, he hopes to continue in academia and work as a professor.



Life after SCIO: alumnus accepted for MSt degree at Oxford

We are delighted that our alumnus Joshua Austin has been accepted for a master’s degree in the history of war at Oxford. He is the recipient of a SCIO de Jager alumni scholarship.

 Joshua grew up in Richmond, Virginia and is studying for his first degree at Gordon College where he will graduate in May 2019. His time with SCIO inspired him to pursue a master’s degree:
I was privileged to attend SCIO’s Scholars’ Semester in Oxford from September 2017 to April 2018 and took tutorials in the First and Second World Wars in addition to writing a thesis which examined counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. The military studies in particular played a significant role in my decision to pursue a MSt degree in the history of war at the University of Oxford.
The integration of faith and scholarship was also important to him:
It was good encouragement throughout my Oxford experience never to be afraid to explore new ideas, yet always to remain grounded in your faith. Simply put, faith and academics are not at odds with each other, and SCIO assisted in giving us a framework for pursuing our studies.
His academic interest concerns international counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and it is also his future ambition to work with this topic.

Life after SCIO: alumna studying for a PhD at Princeton

We are very pleased that our alumna Abigail M. Sargent is studying for a PhD in Medieval History at Princeton.

Having grown up in East Barre, Vermont, Abigail studied history at Gordon College. She graduated in 2009 and then completed a MA in Medieval Studies at Fordham University. She explains that her time in Oxford with SCIO inspired her current PhD studies:

My year at Oxford with SCIO in 2011-12 had helped cement the Middle Ages as my particular corner of history; I still remember the sudden immediacy of the Anglo-Saxon period when I sat in my tutor’s office as he explained how I could walk out his door and follow the course of the medieval town wall.’

Besides encouraging her academic discipline, the spiritual side of scholarship that SCIO offers also helped her:

SCIO also helped shape my vision of what faithful scholarship could look like, in all senses of the term, and in settings beyond the Christian liberal arts college. Right now I’m living one version of that life as I work on my PhD at Princeton. At the moment I’m in Europe doing archival research for my dissertation. I spend my days sifting through abbreviated French and Latin documents, trying to detect when and how people in fourteenth-century rural communities acted as groups to fulfil external demands and to resist external pressures on what they saw as their rights and privileges.

Her future ambition is to teach medieval history, with a particular focus on ‘ordinary’ people’s lives, which she considers important to both our professional and private lives.

Congratulations to SCIO’s fall 2018 prize winners

SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2018 de Jager and SCIO alumni prize winners.

The de Jager prize for the British culture and undergraduate research seminar is awarded in recognition of outstanding scholarly work submitted by each awardee during the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford in the British culture and undergraduate research seminar courses. Awarded at the close of each term, the de Jager prize is facilitated by Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, whose generous gift to each prize winner is reflective of their longstanding commitment to academic excellence.

The SCIO alumni prize, awarded for the first time in Michaelmas Term 2018, is funded from contributions from SCIO alumni of programmes over the past 15 years. The prize is awarded to one student each term or programme for overall outstanding academic performance.

The prize winners for Michaelmas Term 2018, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

Two students reflect on their time on the programme:
At Oxford, I was able to establish myself as an independent thinker within my discipline. Because all learning was accomplished through self-propelled research and writing, I was enabled to approach my education with unprecedented depth, as opposed to the broad survey-based approach undertaken by most American universities. The tutorials, though demanding and somewhat intimidating, end up feeling like a conversational dance between the tutor and tutee as they attempt to locate and grasp truth and value. If you are on the fence about applying for the SSO program, I encourage you to take the plunge. It will be the most academically challenging four months of your collegiate career, but you will seldom feel more accomplished than when you send in that final seminar essay.

David Kraus

What a delightful and strenuous adventure it was in [...]

By |March 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO hosts North American colloquium for Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities

Over the weekend of 15–17 February 2019, SCIO hosted The North American Colloquium in St Petersburg, Florida. This was an event of the Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities project funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and the Blankemeyer Foundation.

The colloquium brought together 32 faculty members and over 40 of their senior academic officers, campus ministers, and student development officers from 20 institutions to discuss strategies for impacting science and religion dialogues on their campuses. Through plenary talks, panel sessions, workshops, and breakouts groups, participants explored how they could partner together to maximize the long-term, sustainable impact of science and religion discussions among students, faculty, and administrators on campus.

Highlights of the weekend included plenary talks given by Dr April Maskiewicz Cordero (Point Loma Nazarene University) and Dr Jonathan Hill (Calvin College), a video lecture by Professor Alister McGrath (University of Oxford), and a performance by Andrew Harrison of the one-man play, Mr. Darwin’s Tree (written and directed by Murray Watts). The group was also led in worship on Sunday morning by Dr Bill Van Groningen (Trinity Christian College) and Dr Todd Pickett (Biola University). For details about the talks and sessions, please see the colloquium schedule.

By |March 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

On the Road: staff member goes on US speaking tour

In late November and early December SCIO staff member Andrew J. Newell, a DPhil candidate with the English Faculty and member of Wycliffe Hall, visited the US on a small speaking tour. Andrew lectured on the Christmas carol, ‘Hark! the Herald Angels Sing’, focusing on the context out of which it was written and its complex textual history.

He spoke at:
• Calvary St George on Sunday 2 December: Calvary Church, New York City, NY
• Friends of Wycliffe Hall on Monday 10 December: St John the Divine, Houston, TX.

An audio recording of the lecture is available here.

By |December 19th, 2018|News|0 Comments|

Life after SCIO: alumna awarded fellowship

We are extremely pleased by the news that Rebecca Richards (year long, 2016) has been granted the John Jay Fellowship.

Raised in East Winthrop, Maine, Rebecca completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Baylor University, Texas. Following her time at university, Rebecca applied for the John Fellowship based in Philadelphia, for which she has been accepted. Regarding the fellowship, she writes:
The stated goal of John Jay is to create principled, public leaders. For four months, eight fellows live together in a house outside Philadelphia and study the interface of philosophy, politics and faith from Constantine to the present.
The fellowship shares several features with the SCIO programme: ‘Similar to SCIO’, she writes, ‘we read 150 pages a day on average, write weekly papers and spend 3 hours in seminar four days a week.’

Remembering her time at SCIO, Rebecca writes:
As much as I care about Baylor, my time at Oxford was the highlight of my time at university. It sharpened my approach to general academics but especially to political philosophy. SCIO also cultivated an incredible community where fellow students from diverse academic disciplines and colleges studied, ate, and debated together. During and after the program, I felt cared for by everyone in leadership at SCIO. After my experience at Oxford, I knew I had to keep studying political philosophy and to find or build that kind of community. The John Jay Fellowship has elements of both.
Like many SCIO students, Rebecca’s plans for the future are suitably ambitious:
After the fellowship ends, I am hoping to move to DC this spring to work in public policy and social justice. Eventually, I would like to go to graduate school to study political philosophy and public [...]

By |December 17th, 2018|Life after SCIO|0 Comments|

The Boston Tea Party – SCIO hosts alumni event in Boston, MA

On Saturday 10 November SCIO faculty Dr Liz Baigent and Simon Lancaster hosted an alumni gathering in Boston, Massachusetts. Held at Park Street Church, the ‘Boston Tea Party’ drew fifty SCIO alumni from both OSP and SSO programmes from across the years.

A historic venue, Park Street Church is located on the Freedom Trail, and was originally founded with the aim of planting a church rooted in the orthodox Trinitarian tradition in the centre of Boston. The construction of the church began in 1809 next to the Granary Burial Ground, which was itself founded in 1660, and contains the remains of three signatories of the Declaration of Independence: John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, and Samuel Adams.

Three prizes were given out to students who were judged to have travelled the greatest distance in order to be present at the gathering, with two awardees making the long journey from California, and one flying in from Oregon.

Attendees were treated to some British fare, with sandwiches, scones, cakes, and two different types of tea served on or in vintage china. All alumni were awarded with a SCIO mug, which they were given as a memento of their time in Oxford.

Following the tea, the party were treated to an extremely entertaining, albeit somewhat chilly, walking tour led by SCIO alumna Genevieve Peterson, who was previously employed as a professional tour guide in the city of Boston.

Simon Lancaster commented on the gathering that:
Meeting alumni after so many years was wonderful and inspiring. Students from as far back as 2009 were present, from twenty-four schools across the US. For many this was the first time that they had visited Boston, and it was humbling that they would travel so far to [...]

By |November 14th, 2018|News|0 Comments|

The State of the Evangelical Mind: SCIO co-sponsors discussion seminar

SCIO is co-sponsoring a discussion led by Dr Jerry Pattengale (University Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University) on the topic of his recently edited book, The State of the Evangelical Mind.

Pattengale’s anthology of essays asks whether the Evangelical world is currently sitting on the threshold of another crisis of intellectual maturity, or whetherthere are now even greater opportunities for faithful intellectual engagement and witness. The reader is invited to a virtual ‘summit meeting’ on the current state of the Evangelical mind. The insights of national leaders in their fields will aid readers to reflect on the past contributions of Evangelical institutions for the life of the mind as well as prospects for the future.

Contributors to the book include:

 Richard J. Mouw
Mark A. Noll
Jo Anne Lyon
David C. Mahan and C. Donald Smedley
Timothy Larsen
Lauren Winner
James K. A. Smith
Mark Galli

Jerry A. Pattengale (PhD, Miami University) is a scholar, researcher, author, and speaker. He has served for over twenty years in administrative leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University, currently as the first to earn IWU’s title of University Professor. He is also executive director of education for the Museum of the Bible in Washington D. C., where he oversees an international team of academics, writers, researchers, convergent media specialists, and editors developing a Bible curriculum for high school students.

The author of many books, Pattengale is a nationally recognized lecturer on education innovation and biblical studies. He is a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute, an honorary senior research associate at Tyndale House, Cambridge, a distinguished fellow at Excelsia College, Australia, and is a research scholar at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His writing has appeared in Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, Washington Post, Books & Culture, Religion News Service,, Patheos, Chicago Tribune, and Christian Post.

Join Professor [...]

By |November 5th, 2018|News|0 Comments|