Visiting vicars explore the unexplainable

News Page 24th May 2018

The University of Northampton’s Parapsychology and Anomalous Experiences team, within the Faculty of Health and Society, welcomed 12 member of the clergy from St Albans Diocese to campus today (22 May).

Professor Chris Roe, Research Lead for the Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences, showcased the University research into extrasensory phenomena. One of the core groups within the Centre focuses on Exceptional experiences & Consciousness Studies, looking at the kinds of exceptional human experience that tend to be neglected by mainstream science. The visit forms part of the ‘Take your Vicar to the Lab’ project, which aims to promote healthier co-existence between religion and science and to deepen peoples’ appreciation of both. The visit included a tour of the perception labs, where they experienced the conditions in which some of the research at the University is undertaken.

Professor Chris Roe said: “It has been a pleasure to discuss introduce members of the Anglican Church to our research into extrasensory and other ‘paranormal’ phenomena to show them how these can be investigated scientifically. We enjoyed an interesting debate about the interface between scientific evidence and personal religious faith. We look forward to welcoming them back again in the future to carry on the conversation.”

The Revd Canon Dr Tim Bull, the St Albans Director of Ministry commented: “Do people really have premonitions of the future? Can we make contact with the dead? If so, is there any scientific evidence for such things? These were some of the questions that a group of us from St Albans Diocese were thinking about on our latest visit for ’Take Your Vicar to the Lab’, promoting better dialogue between clergy and scientists.

“It was an astonishing, fascinating day which we all thoroughly enjoyed. But in the end, it left us with as many questions as answers. How might we relate these supposedly paranormal experiences to Christian belief? After all, surely God is at work in ways that science has yet to fully understand.”

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