How does spirituality inspire us to weave stories of our own? How can speculative fiction and invented worlds give us insights into the role of science in our universe? How do we make meaning of chance events and meetings that can change the course of our life’s narrative?

As part of Sinai and Synapses’ series “More Light, Less Heat,” Rev. Dr. Ruth Shaver and author William D. Richards discuss what inspires them to create and educate.

The Reverend Doctor Ruth E. Shaver is the Interim Senior Pastor of First Church of Christ, Congregational, United Church of Christ, in North Conway, New Hampshire. In addition to her pastoral role, she is actively involved in ministerial education and formation as a course facilitator and secretary of the board of directors for PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., in Atlanta, Georgia. She previously served churches in central and eastern Massachusetts and in western Pennsylvania. Shaver completed her Doctor of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2016 with a dissertation project titled, “I Wonder: Scientific Exploration and Experimentation as a Practice of Christian Faith.” She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Soviet and East European Studies from the College of Liberal Arts (now College of Arts and Sciences) and a Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Boston University. Her love of science was fostered by her parents, who encouraged her to watch every episode of NOVA on PBS from its debut in 1976 until she went off to college, and by her grandfathers, who were both curious men with fascinations for dinosaurs, reptiles, space, and all things mechanical. Her first linkage of science and faith came at a very young age when she would pray for the safety of “her astronauts” on the Apollo moon missions. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a Sinai and Synapses Fellow and looks forward to the opportunities ahead to help people of all faiths become scientifically knowledgeable and curious.

Science Fiction and Fantasy author and native New Englander William D. Richards describes himself as “A writer of tales, rider of motorcycles, paddler of kayaks.” He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His fascination with all things scientific, such as watching the space program put the first men on the moon; his interest in the natural world; and his love of telling stories drove him to become a writer of Science Fiction. When taking time off writing, Richards enjoys panning for gold, which combines scientific study of geology and materials with an enjoyment of nature. “Plus,” he says, “it makes a really great excuse for a grown man to play in the mud all day.”

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