Science as Christian Vocation

Does God call people to investigate how God’s created universe works?Does God call some to develop technologies based on the scientific understanding of nature?

In PASTCF, we believe that the answer to both questions is “YES!” So in 1998 we inaugurated our “Science as Christian Vocation” program, named in memory of Daniel W. Martin. (For more information about the award and a listing of past awardees, go to the Martin Award page.)

Each year, PASTCF is able to recognize up to five scientists or persons in science-related professions, such as engineers or science teachers, who perform their professional work as a calling from God. They are publicly recognized at the PASTCF luncheon at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or at other denominational gatherings. Each awardee receives a framed certificate and an honorary membership in PASTCF.

The deadline for 2016 nominations is Thursday, March 31, 2016.

The “call for nominations” (with complete information) and the “nomination form” can be downloaded here in .PDF format. Download “Call for 2016 Nominations.” Download “Nomination Form 2016.”

Frequently Asked Questions about ‘Science as Christian Vocation’

How does PASTCF choose people to be recognized?

  • Anyone can send a nomination to PASTCF. The PASTCF Board considers nominations at its spring meeting, usually two weeks after Easter, and decides whom to recognize.

Who is eligible?

  • To be considered for recognition, an individual must be a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and must be a scientist or be pursuing a career in a science-related profession such as engineering, science teaching, technology, etc. The candidate’s Christian faith should play a significant role in how the candidate approaches his or her professional work, and insights gained from the candidate’s professional work should enrich the candidate’s understanding of his or her faith.

What about retired people?

  • Retired scientists, engineers, science teachers, and other science or technology professionals, are eligible.

Does the candidate have to be a member of PASTCF?

  • No, but he or she does have to be a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

I had this wonderful scientist friend, but he died a few years ago. Can I nominate him?

  • No. Only living persons can be recognized.

An elder in my church is a pediatrician who has served several times on session, been on many mission trips, and leads a popular Bible study. Would she be a good candidate?

  • Maybe yes, maybe no. Does she see her profession as a call from God? Is her Christian faith a strong influence on how she does her doctoring? Does her professional experience enrich her understanding of her faith? In the Martin program, strong “yes” answers to such questions count more than being a “pillar of the church.”

My church has been wonderfully creative in incorporating scientific ideas into worship, educational programs, and outreach. Can it be recognized?

  • No. The present program is intended to recognize individuals, not institutions. Perhaps in the future PASTCF will start another program to recognize Presbyterian churches and other Presbyterian-related institutions, but not yet.

How do I nominate someone?

  • A call for nominations and a nomination form can be downloaded in .pdf or .doc format. Click on links above to download. Read carefully the requirements listed on the call for nominations, then complete the nomination form and send it, along with a statement of support of up to 1,000 words, to the PASTCF General Missioner by the stated deadline. Please be as explicit as possible in your statement of support. The Board has no source of information about the person you nominate other than the information you provide.

Do I have to be a Presbyterian or a member of PASTCF in order to nominate someone?

  • No. Your nominee must be a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but you do not have to be. Neither you nor your nominee need be a member of PASTCF.

Is there a deadline for nominations?

  • For a nomination to be considered at the spring Board meeting, it must be received at least two weeks before the meeting. This usually means that the PASTCF General Missioner should receive it before Easter.

What if I miss the deadline?

  • Nominations that are received too late for consideration in any one year will be held for consideration in the following year.

I nominated someone last year, but she was not recognized. Do I need to nominate her again this year?

  • No. If someone nominated in any year is not recognized that year, the nomination will be reconsidered for three consecutive years.