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How does a scientist and a theologian engage with some of the big questions raised by the pandemic? What have we been learning about what it means to be ‘led by the science’ and the vulnerability of humans to the natural world? Where is God in all of this?

The pandemic has focused questions in the relationship of science and theology which are both helpful and challenging.

In this year’s annual Michael Perham University and Cathedral Lecture, taking place on Monday 17 May, Revd Professor David Wilkinson will consider these questions from a place of reflection. With PhDs in both astrophysics and systematic theology, Revd Professor Wilkinson comes at this complicated and thought-provoking topic as both a scientist and theologian, offering stimulating commentary as well as steers for personal contemplation.

Revd Simon Witcombe, Senior Chaplain at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Our experience of living through a global pandemic has caused many of us to reflect deeply. For people of faith, these reflections will raise some particular questions.

“It’s very important that we face these questions head on, as we try to hold together our experience of a world in which pandemics occur, and our belief in a loving God.

“As both a scientist and a theologian, as well as an excellent communicator, David Wilkinson is a very good person to help us to explore these issues.”

Revd Professor David Wilkinson is Principal of St John’s College and Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion in Durham University. A regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day, his recent books include When I pray what does God do? and (with Dave Hutchings) God, Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse.

The Michael Perham University and Cathedral Lecture series is named in commemoration of Michael Perham. As well as being Bishop of Gloucester, Michael was Pro-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire for many years, served as Chair of the University Council, and was instrumental in developing closer relationships between the University and the Diocese. The event usually alternates between the Cathedral and the University Chapel each year, however this year it will be delivered by Zoom, given current Covid-19 restrictions.

Revd Witcombe added: “I look forward very much to our sixth Michael Perham University and Cathedral Lecture – the first to be given online. This lecture expresses the strong partnership between the University, the Cathedral and the Diocese in the area of education, providing opportunities for those belonging to our communities to reflect on the ways in which our faith traditions connect with the modern world.”

The lecture, which will be delivered online on Monday 17 May, will be introduced by the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, and followed by a short Q&A session. Tickets are free but audience members must book ahead on Eventbrite.