Members of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) and the National Council of Churches (NCC) in the United States met recently to lay the groundwork for an international biotechnology conference in 2007 that will gather church delegates from around the world with expertise in the area of biotechnology. Biotechnology is the industrial use of microorganisms or biological substances. Churches around the world have raised ethical and moral concerns around some aspects of biotechnology, including the patenting of living organisms and cloning. Members of the CCC’s biotechnology reference group and the NCC’s human biotechnology policy development committee met Jan. 17 to 18 in Niagara Falls, Ont. The churches are bringing a “stained glass voice” to the biotechnology arena, and will be “exploring the realities of science, exploring the realities of theology and speaking to the world of the faithful relationship between the two,” the CCC and the NCC said in a joint communiqua. “Their awareness of their particular global contexts, their awareness of the growing complexities and advances in current scientific practices and research, their awareness of God as the creator, lead them to the recognition that the human, ethical consequences of biotechnology must be addressed.” In May, biotechnology professionals from the Middle East Council of Churches and the Latin America Council of Churches will join the Canadian and American panels to continue planning the conference.