Vaughan Park Scholar in Residence
Linda was born in Northern Ireland in 1962 and grew up in “Loyalist West Belfast” in the midst of “The Troubles.” At 19 Linda spent a year in the USA working with the Church of the Brethren Volunteer Service. On return to Northern Island, Linda began exploring her call to ministry. She trained in Diaconate Ministry serving a congregation in Bangor N.I. for four years. Linda then moved to Scotland to serve with the Church of Scotland's Social Work department living and working with Young Offenders aged 14-18. During this time she was accepted to read Divinity at Glasgow University. Following graduation Linda was awarded the Peter Marshall Scholarship for Practical Theology by Princeton Theological Seminary. Two years were spent there studying for a Masters Degree in Christian Education and a Masters degree in Homiletics. Called to a congregation in NY for five years, Linda returned to the UK to serve, as a member of the resident staff, with the Iona Community on the isle of Iona. She moved to serve with the Mission and Discipleship Council of the Kirk as the Children's Ministry Specialist. In this role Linda came to own her passion for working with children: to think theologically about children, to ask questions of the rituals in our congregations, to explore the identity we impose (?) convey(?) explore(?) upon and with children and sought to discover how the bible and the Church portray children.
It is Linda's desire to reflect upon this latter statement regarding children. She hopes to offer thought which will lead to good practice for our discovering the gift of children in the Kingdom and the Church.
Originally from Auckland, Russell now lives in Nelson. He is a Lay Minister at the Nelson Cathedral actively involved in teaching and preaching. He is currently the Dean’s Warden, a member of the Cathedral Chapter along with other roles within the Nelson Diocese.
He was involved for many years in Christian youth ministry and then in the administration and management of several large non-profit organisations. In the 1990’s he joined the ministry team of a Nelson church as the Church Administrator and later became the Director of an NZQA approved Christian training programme run by the church. Recognising the need for further study he returned to Auckland where he completed a Bachelor of Applied Theology degree at Carey Baptist College He then joined join the pastoral staff of the Windsor Park Baptist Church in Mairangi Bay as the Church’s Administrator.
Over the years he has had a continued interest in Christian mission and has been involved in mission projects in Vanuatu and in North-East India and Bangladesh. He has also worked in mission promotion and education, particularly advancing the “Business as Mission” strategy.
Russell has a particular interest in the interaction of faith and the workplace and worked for many years as an Industrial Chaplain.
In 2009 he completed a Master of Theology degree in mission theology through Laidlaw College. His thesis entitled “The Place of the Market in Mission” researched the way that trade and commerce and Christian mission have interacted throughout the modern mission period. This provided a basis for a critical examination of the Business as Mission model and demonstrated that there were historical lessons that could be learnt if the Gospel is to be advanced through the practice of business activity.
Russell will be using his time at Vaughan Park to complete a post-graduate research project on the Life and Ministry of John Gare Butler in New Zealand. Butler, a missionary with the CMS from 1818, was the first clergy person to actually take up residence in New Zealand. The study will look particularly at the leadership dynamics of the fledging CMS mission within the context of the early settlement of New Zealand.