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New lectureship from Church-University partnership

A unique partnership between an inner city Wellington Presbyterian church and Victoria University's Religious Studies programme will see a new senior lectureship in Christian theology established.

St John’s in the City is contributing $200,000 over three years through the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation to establish the position that will see Victoria join Otago and Auckland Universities in offering specialist study of Christian Theology. The University will cover all other expenses relating to the position.

Rev Dr Graham Redding of St John’s said the congregation wanted to establish Christian theology as a specialist discipline at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. They also hoped there would be a lively engagement between theology and issues of public interest in Wellington.

“We’re hoping the person appointed will offer regular public lectures and commentary on subjects like the relationship between theology and genetic engineering or science,” Dr Redding said.

Paul Morris, Professor of Religious Studies, said the partnership was an exciting first for the University. “Although we have taught Christianity in a Religious Studies context for more than 30 years at Victoria, it is one of the most challenging areas in our teaching”, he said.

“Despite New Zealand society being founded on broadly Christian principles, students are often unfamiliar with them and unaware of the real significance of much of this tradition. We anticipate that the lecturer will enhance our existing courses in the area of Christianity”, he said.

“Christianity is important in contemporary Aotearoa-New Zealand because it links Maori and Pakeha and is a unifying factor for Pacific people. The Christian focus in discussion of contemporary ethical issues will be very valuable.”

The St John’s senior lectureship in Christian Theology will be a fixed-term three-year contract, although the University and St John's hope it will become a long-term appointment. The position will be advertised nationally and internationally and initial courses will be offered from 2004.

For further information contact:

Rev Dr Graham Redding: Ph 04 385 1546 (office), mob 021 441 905
Associate Professor James Veitch, Programme Director (Religious Studies): Ph 04 463 5394 (office), email:
Media Liaison: Presbyterian Church, Mary Macpherson, Ph 04 381 8284, mob 021 353 020 or Victoria University, Antony Paltridge, 04 463 5873 or 029 463 5873

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