Some kind words from former Scholars…

Cherry Hamilton, UK

My month at Vaughan Park was one of the best experiences I've ever had.  The director, John, picked me up from the airport, and from the very start he and his wonderful, friendly team of staff made me feel like a VIP.  The facilities at the centre are second to none - much more like a hotel than a retreat centre - with the scholar's studio being especially well equipped, and with a view of the sea!  The library where I worked is such a peaceful place, built into the side of a hill, with grass for a roof; like a state of the art hobbit cave.  The spectacular views and diverse selection of books helped me to feel inspired, and Joy the assistant priest was always on hand to provide wise guidance, a shoulder to cry on and a good chat with a cup of tea.

The food at Vaughan Park was second to none.  As well as the healthy meals mentioned on the website, there are also plenty of indulgent treats and no need ever to go hungry!  I met several other guests from all around the world over the course of my stay, all with interesting stories to tell.  And the setting of the centre - right next to a stunning unspoilt beach and nature reserve made the whole experience feel like a taste of paradise.

Although I came to Vaughan Park to study and write, the atmosphere was very much one of no pressure.  This gave me the freedom to really think about where my writing was going, and to make necessary changes.  In fact, this was even encouraged! 

I simply couldn't recommend Vaughan Park enough, whether to a scholar, or anyone else looking for a place of rest and inspiration.  Vaughan Park is not just about a stunning venue, but the kind and fascinating people.  It will always be a part of me and I hope to maintain close links and perhaps to return one day.

Professor Nicola Slee, UK

I was fortunate enough to be awarded a research scholarship at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, Long Bay, one of the lovely beach suburbs of Auckland.  I owe a very special debt to all the staff at Vaughan Park, and most particularly to John Fairbrother, the Director, and his wife Margaret, for their generous Kiwi hospitality.  Vaughan Park is not only a beautiful place to set down for a while, with the beach and parkland right on one's doorstep, but a place of wide and inclusive welcome, of liberality of mind and heart, renewal, healing and vitality, where I was encouraged to relish my freedom and inhabit the space in whatever way was good for me.  I was nourished and held by a rhythm of daily prayer and regular eucharistic worship from the New Zealand Prayer Book, as well as by excellent food and free-flowing New Zealand wines, and above all, by the loving friendship I received from the community.  I enjoyed many stimulating conversations about the project - and much more besides - with John and Margaret and others, and had a number of opportunities for trying out some of the poems in this book with the worshipping community.

Pat Marsh, UK

...One of the things that I think I am learning is that it's better to travel simply with openness to God, rather than with expectations, which always come from limited viewpoints anyway.

I had this image in my head that I would wander along the beautiful beach, return to deep peace and stillness and simply let the words pour out of me.  And, for a variety of reasons, it hasn't happened quite like that.  There has been a far richer variety of people to meet and have conversations with than I could possibly have imagined, and those conversations have enriched and influenced my time here in very positive ways that will, without a doubt, impact my future ministry.  The stillness that I had anticipated has been punctuated by 'Godly encounters' that have seemed to be more important.

 Vaughan Park has far surpassed my expectations.  It' superb facilities, amazing location, wonderful hospitality, caring and friendly staff, and deeply important underpinning prayer are a combination that every retreat leader dreams of. 

The use of 'space' and the sensitive development of this site are true models for how a retreat house can 'be'; offering superb hospitality to secular guests whilst retaining intimacy, privacy and a rhythm of prayer for its more conventional retreat guests.  The two co-exist happily together at Vaughan Park.  These aspects are further enhanced by the high quality of the facilities at Vaughan Park and the attention to detail in the non-intrusive hospitality of the staff.  I will certainly be recommending Vaughan Park to others.

Through the unconditional gift of its scholarship programme, Vaughan Park and its team have really modelled Christ to me.  Retreats should come with a health warning though: beware, retreats can change your life!



FEBRUARY – Rev. Dr. Deo Vistar (Blenheim, New Zealand)

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APRIL – Adrienne Wood (Auckland, New Zealand)

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MAY – Rev. Dr. Mark Harris (Waikanae, New Zealand)

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JUNE – Rev. Dr. Joohong Kim (Christchurch, New Zealand)

I worked for the Korean government for eighteen years and came to New Zealand in 2000. Nine years later, I started ordained ministry at a suburban parish in Christchurch, which incorporates Shirley-Richmond Methodist and North Avon Presbyterian. Having been hit by the earthquakes, the combined congregation became homeless and on the move for ten years. In 2020, we completed a multilateral partnership project among Alpine Presbytery, South Island Methodist Synod, North Avon Baptist Church, and Delta Community Support Trust. Thanks to the Vaughan Park Residential Scholarship, I finished a draft version of Transcultural Leadership based on my doctoral project, which presents a new leadership model for church leaders who are engaged in cross-cultural ministry. Another book is in progress, which includes three parts—Two Traditions and One Church, Responding to the Earthquakes, and the Multilateral Partnership Project. The scholarship offered me valuable experiences, for which I give thanks to the Governance Board, Director Lesley Snyman, and the service team. I miss the excellent skills and hospitality of the chefs, the professional and kind services of the staff, my prayer time in the chapel, beach walks at Long Bay, and Vaughan Park as a quiet, refreshing, and inspiring place.


JULY – Elisabeth Price (Auckland, New Zealand)

Kia ora, my name is Elisabeth Price. I am a doctoral student at the University of Auckland. I am a primary school teacher. I have taught in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and here in Aotearoa New Zealand for the past twenty-five years. Prior to embarking on my PhD journey, I was the deputy principal of an Auckland primary school. Through weaving together the model of te whare tapa whā and the four dimensions of death education, my research is aiming to identify what the current situation is in terms of talking about death within Aotearoa New Zealand primary classrooms. More specifically, the study will examine the knowledge and perspectives of teachers, Māori kaumātua, and key informants on preparing primary aged students for future experiences with death. In addition, this research will investigate the current approaches that are available to support and assist children in coming to terms with death and bereavement. Death is certain for all and it is also inevitable that as we progress through life we will be faced with the death of someone close to us. Yet for certain societies and cultures, death continues to be a taboo subject that is not openly and comfortably discussed. Much has been written about how to support those who have been bereaved, but less has been written about preparing children for future encounters with death. My research interests include preparing primary aged students to be successful citizens, holistic education, and ensuring that students are equipped for future experiences with death. I sincerely thank the Governance Board for this amazing opportunity to be looked after, to enjoy this very special location, and to be able to focus solely and wholly on my research study.


OCTOBER – Rev. Frank Nelson (Dargaville, New Zealand)

I retired in February 2024 after forty-five years of full-time ordained ministry much of it spent in Cathedrals, including nearly 17 years as Dean of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide respectively. For over thirty years the insights of Benedictine Spirituality have informed and nurtured me, so I plan to spend my time at Vaughan Park in October 2024 in reflection building on my thesis submitted for the Otago M Min in 2010: Benedict, Balance and the Deans: The Benedictine concept of balance offers a way for a dean to survive and thrive in an Anglican cathedral today. Since the 6th century the Rule of Benedict has been the foundation for monastic communities. The Anglican Church throughout the world has inherited much from this tradition based on the three principles of Obedience (listening primarily to God), Stability (in seeking to follow the Way of Jesus Christ) and openness to Continual Conversion (through the promptings of the Holy Spirit). My hope is not only to reflect on the many years of active ministry and changes to society and the church over that time but to add material to the already extensive and well-used corpus of retreat material as a possible way of continuing to be of service to Our Lord into the future.


FEBRUARY – Professor Deborah Swinglehurst (England)

I am a Professor of Primary Care at Queen Mary University of London. I combine this role with clinical work as a General Practitioner in Suffolk, UK. In my academic role I lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers ( conducting qualitative research which addresses complex contemporary challenges in health care. Our research explores the interfaces of medicine, social science and linguistics, using a range of methodologies which include ethnographic, narrative and visual approaches. In all our projects we investigate health care as a human practice, illuminating the ‘work’ that patients, carers and clinicians engage in, and paying attention to its moral dimensions. This is important given the rising tide of bureaucratisation, marketization and standardisation which together threaten to reduce medicine and health care to a set of technical skills. I lead several projects which focus on the care of people affected by multiple long-term conditions who are prescribed many medicines (polypharmacy). My research in this area began in 2016 with an NIHR-funded project, APOLLO-MM (Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People with Multimorbidity) and several of our ongoing projects extend this work. We aim is to improve the care of these patients by producing ‘practice based’ evidence to inform a person-centred approach to care. I will spend my time at Vaughan Park engaged in data analysis, writing publications for academic and clinical audiences, and preparing public engagement resources to disseminate the findings of this research.


MARCH – Diane Robinson (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand) 

Kia ora, my name is Diane Robinson and I live in Auckland. My childhood ambition was to write novels. Somehow, I wound up as a Chartered Accountant! I make my living specialising in auditing the financial statements of churches, clubs and other not for profit organisations. In 2021 I published my first novel Hive of Lies. It’s about an auditor who uncovers fraud in a honey company. A murder mystery set-in modern-day Auckland. It is exceedingly rare to see an accountant or auditor feature in fiction. So, by making my main character an auditor I am doing ‘write what you know’ and hopefully challenging the boring stereotypical image my profession suffers from. While at Vaughan Park I will be writing a follow up set in a landmark building in my local community. In November 2022 I published a children’s novel Nikolai’s Quest aimed at 10-12 years old. It’s full of the things I enjoyed at that age; exotic location (Russia), map showing a secret tunnel, mystery, adventure and children outwitting adults! I am actively involved in my local community through my church and the PTA of my local school. Nikolai’s Quest was launched in the school hall with the local book shop in attendance. I’ve stayed at Vaughan Park a number of times with church retreat groups and am really looking forward to my month as the scholar in residence. If you see someone zooming down the drive on a fold up orange Ebike, its probably me!


JULY – Elisabeth Price (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)

Elisabeth Price is a doctoral student at the University of Auckland. She has been a primary school teacher in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and here in Aotearoa New Zealand for over twenty years. Prior to embarking on her PhD journey, Elisabeth was the deputy principal of an Auckland primary school. The title of Elisabeth’s research is ‘Classroom conversations about death – the knowledge and perspectives of Aotearoa New Zealand teachers on preparing primary aged students for encounters with death’. Death is certain for all and it is also inevitable that as we progress through life we will be faced with the death of someone close to us. Yet for certain societies and cultures, death continues to be a taboo subject that is not openly and comfortably discussed. Much has been written about how to support those who have been bereaved, but less has been written about preparing children for future encounters with death. Through weaving together the model of te whare tapa whā and the four dimensions of education about death, this research aims to identify what the current situation is in terms of talking about death within Aotearoa New Zealand primary classrooms. The study also seeks to explore how the teachers within these settings feel about preparing their students for future experiences with death. In addition, this research will investigate the current approaches that are available to support and assist children in coming to terms with death and bereavement.


AUGUST – Rev’d Dr. Jione Havea (Melbourne, Australia) 

Jione Havea is a native pastor (Methodist) from Tonga who is research fellow with Trinity Methodist Theological College (Aotearoa) and with Centre for Religion, Ethics and Society (Charles Sturt University, Australia). Jione is based in Melbourne where partner Monica works, and Diya Lākai keeps them on their feet. Jione’s time at Vaugh Park will be spent writing an article with the working title, “Snakes and Lads: A Youthly Reading of Num 21:4–9.” There are two aims of this article: first, to offer a youthly reading of the text (about the bronze serpent to which people bitten by serpents look and are saved). And second, to add to the development of youth hermeneutics -- read scriptural texts with the world(view)s and interests of youth. This article will follow up Jione’s previous reflection on youth hermeneutics: “Boring reading, forgotten readers.” Uniting Church Studies 10.2 (August 2004): 22–36.


SEPTEMBER – Dr. Juliet Boon-Nanai (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)

Talofa lava and Warm Pacific Greetings. I made Aotearoa, New Zealand my home since 2008. We migrated because of health reasons. My eldest son, of six children, had a heart murmur. From then on, we stayed. I am of Samoan, Chinese, and German heritage. It is exactly thirty years since I have worked in education. It began with a few years in secondary school, then the Teacher’s Training College, proceeded onto the Faculty of Education, and now I am an Equity Academic for Pasifika staff and students within the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences of the Auckland University of Technology (Akoranga North Shore campus). I find this a vocational role as it helps our students understand how our worldview is aligned with others so they can better navigate the spaces, wherever they end up living. In a holistic way we are part of nature, spiritually, economically, environmentally, and culturally. Harmoniously, we try to live in such a way. However, there are always challenges. Sustainable development is a fashionable term, but it is always dictated from the bigger powers. How our local people conceptualise sustainable development is knowledge I wish to bring forth. I want Samoan people to voice their perception of what they want to sustain, and how they define it. Mo le manuia lautele, that is, for the wellbeing of ALL. I want to unpack this as a resident scholar of Vaughan Park. I am most grateful for the opportunity to pursue this endeavour. 


FEBRUARY – Emma Barker-Clarke (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)

Emma is of British Caribbean descent. Her dual heritage is rooted in the twinned Islands of Nevis & St Kitts and Manchester, England, which was Emma’s childhood home before she emigrated to Aotearoa in 2010.  
In the UK, Emma was a youth justice practitioner/manager. In this role, she supported young people and their whānau to navigate a range of challenges. As a result of this work, she developed a focus on supporting young people who were victims and/or perpetrators of teenage relationship abuse and violence. Subsequently, this motivated Emma to design a youth-centred intervention programme. Emma built on this topic, in 2014, as a research interest for her MSc in Criminology & Criminal Psychology, which also revealed cyberbullying was an emerging area for research consideration. Emma was awarded a Merit for her MSc, and a first for her dissertation. Since moving to Aotearoa, Emma has continued to practice and conduct research about interconnected offline/online violence and violence prevention. She is an educator, a board member for Rape Prevention Education, and currently a final year PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. Having noticed that there was a shortage of research developed in Aotearoa which is co-constructed and piloted with the views of rangatahi, Emma designed this current project with students who attended alternative education before the roll out to mainstream schools. Her research explores how youth peer-to-peer sexualised and gendered cyberbullying is shaped by young people’s developing perceptions of gender, alongside exploring the safety strategies young people utilise to manage these situations.


MARCH – Jenni Tupu (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand) 

Tēnā koutou katoa, I am from Te Tai Tokerau and the Pacific with iwi connections to Ngāpuhi, Te Aupōuri and Samoa and am currently a doctoral candidate with the University of Otago. I am nearing the completion of a PhD that investigates the identity journeys of Māori and their children where a closed adoption occurred in Aotearoa. I work as the Programme Director for the Bachelor of Design at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and work to support and improve the experiences and environments that students encounter in their educational journeys within tertiary education. Engaging in this research over the last 6 years has led to work in other fields including contributing to the Whāngai and the Adoption of Māori research project as an Associate Investigator, hosted by Te Wānanga o Raukawa with support from a Marsden grant. I have also been awarded the Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Graduate award as a Visiting Student Researcher for study in the USA, which will occur in 2022 while nearing the completion of the PhD. My objective in life and in this doctoral work has been to improve capability and capacity in identity development from an indigenous perspective and practice. I believe that to change the current social landscape, we must change our practice of adoption and the placement and care of tamariki to embed a stronger understanding of Māori values and to restore mana to our whānau in the care of our tamariki and mokopuna.


APRIL – Siaosi George Gavet (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)
PhD candidate, Australian National University, Department of Pacific Affairs, Canberra, ACT Australia.

Thesis title: Exploring the experiences of young Pacific rugby league players who have relocated from New Zealand to an NRL club in Australia.
The National Rugby League (NRL) competition attracts Polynesian (Pacific and Māori) players from Aotearoa New Zealand, however for many of them, their journey across the Tasman to Australia often comes at a cost. They are hopeful that their move eventually lands them a lucrative playing contract, or at the very least an arrangement with a club that helps them to support their family. The reality, however, is that most aspiring players do not debut as a first-grade player. They are instead resigned to the large pool of rugby league players who tried but did not make it. My research looks at the of global sports labour migration phenomenon, and the impact on Pacific players and communities. Since the early 2000’s, the new wave of athletes has been subjected to gender, and masculinity influences in the neoliberal age. Pacific players are prominent in commodification discourse due to their physical prowess, mental (st)abilities, and natural temperament for contact sports. Their journey though comes with a high risk of failure and are invariably accompanied by mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing challenges. The ultimate outcome is that my research influences the NRL’s policy on relocation, not just for international migrants but also internally, within Australia where athletes are required to change their postcode in order to pursue their NRL dream. 

MAY – Raina Ferris (Hawke’s Bay, Aotearoa New Zealand) 
Ko Te Awaputahi te maunga

Ko Taurekaitai te awa

Ko Rongomaraeroa te marae
Ko Te Poho o Kahungunu te 

Ko Ngāti Kere te hapū
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi
Ko LaBassee Sciascia rāua ko Maymorn Stirling oku maatua
Ko Te Raina Ferris toku ingoa
I also whakapapa to Tainui waka, Ngāti Raukawa te iwi, to Kai Tahu iwi.
I am a wahine Māori, 69 years matured, I have 4 children, 17 mokopuna, 6 great grand mokopuna and have been happily married to Romaine/Doc Ferris for 52 years. I grew up in Porangahau and have been actively involved all my life on our marae here and continue to happily serve my hapū and iwi throughout Aotearoa. I am a senior academic, having taught at Te Wānanga o Raukawa for 14 years in Mātauranga Māori studies, also at Porirua Polytechnic, in Māori Performing Arts programs. I am currently running our whanau business here in Porangahau where we teach Mātauranga Māori courses for wahine and tane, building the capacity of Kaikaranga and Kaikōrero on our marae throughout Aotearoa. We have been doing this mahi for 22 years and finally found our way back to Porangahau, where we have established our own teaching site. My focus for the future is to write books. I am currently working on my first major book about Karanga and the empowerment of wahine. I use our Māori world view korero to teach tikanga and kawa and te reo to those who come here to learn. Building the capacity of home people on our marae throughout Aotearoa is my focus, it will take time and effort, of which I have been doing for 22 years thus far. It’s a continual journey and one of which I am only sewing precious seeds in the minds of our people. I wish to complete my book this year and continue to write other books that are awaiting my time and energy. It has been extremely difficult finding time to focus on my writing kaupapa. I so look forward to coming to Vaughan Park to help me complete my book. I have not decided on the name of the book at this stage, but feel it is not far away. 


JUNE – Suzette Jackson (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)

Suzette Jackson is a Pākehā and Māori woman born and raised in Taranaki. She whakapapa’s to Te Ātiawa and has recently started on her Te Reo learning journey. She has an adult daughter and an eight-year-old moko (grandson). Suzette Jackson has a Master of Social Work and is a full-time student currently in her first year of PhD study at The University of Auckland – Philosophy of Social Work. Her research project is on women’s experiences navigating Te Whare Taonga (The Treasured House), a six-month pilot drug and alcohol treatment programme tailored to support women who are or with children under three. The results from this project aim to provide insight into the cultural, spiritual, and therapeutic elements within the programme to best support women on their recovery journeys. It will also help the women narrate and document their stories as they navigated mothering while in addiction and now as they move into parenting while in recovery from addiction.
Suzette has lived experience of addiction and is nearly nine years into her sobriety. Her recovery journey is hugely significant and is a central factor in choosing the focus of her research topic. She works part-time as a Community Counsellor in an alcohol and drug residential programme in West Auckland. She is thrilled to undertake the Vaughan Park scholarship as it provides a space to work on writing chapters and articles for her PhD. 


FEBRUARY - Soana Muimuiheata (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Soana was born in Tongan and is one of the few Polynesian people listed in the New Zealand Registered Dietitian (NZRD) Board. She is on the final stage of her Doctoral thesis in Health Science with the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and welcomes the Residential Scholarship as perfect timing for her thesis. Soana’s research is based on food and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). It draws on conversation/talanoa with Tongan leaders (church, community and professionals) addressing issues around health; in particular the impact of diabetes on our lifestyle, as well as the challenges of being diagnosed with T2DM. Soana will spend her time at Vaughan Park working on her research which aims to shed light on food practices and finding out how we can best minimise the development of T2DM in Pacific communities. The results from this study will hopefully help inform government policy and services, and develop framework that will improve diabetes management in New Zealand. Soana says; “I would like a framework, which will incorporate a holistic approach to obtain total wellbeing in body, mind and spirit to offer our body as a living sacrifice to God”. Malo Aupito.


MAY - Ana Sjardin-Killick (Dargaville, Aotearoa New Zealand) – combined scholarship

Ana is 40 years old and has recently moved Northland to Dargaville from Tauranga. For her, it is an absolute privilege getting to work with the youth and being in a place to support them. Her area of interest is spoken word (sort of a mix between rap and poetry) and it’s her desire to encourage other people through this medium. Ana’s background is in English and foreign languages, and is also a teacher. But Ana has not been able to work much due to an illness she has had since she was 17. Much of her time at Vaughan Park will be dedicated to completing her book ‘Giants’. Ana states; “one thing is for sure; God creates diamonds in the dark. And this book is, I hope, will be a diamond of sorts”.


MAY - Andrew Killick (Dargaville, Aotearoa New Zealand) - combined scholarship

Andrew Holds an MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Auckland (UOA) and is the publishing manager at Castle Publishing where he has assisted many New Zealand Christians in the publishing of their books. Born and raised in Auckland, but now lives in Northland with his wife Ana. He has been actively involved in art, music, design, photography, video, poetry, prose and publishing for over 25 years. Andrew carries out his solo creative work under the moniker Safe Little World and is now working on a series of publications incorporating his visual art and writing, exploring various themes through a (theo)poetic lens and incorporating threads of his interest in the contemplative life. The first of these Safe Little World Monographs, Islands, was published in 2019 by his Shadow Press imprint, with at least two more to follow in 2020. He will use his time at Vaughan Park to further his work on this series. He blogs about the contemplative life at, some of his visual work can be found at and his publishing imprint at 

JUNE - Siaosi Vaili (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Siaosi was born and raised in the village of Fasito’otai, Samoa. In 1994, he was awarded a rugby scholarship to play at secondary school in New Zealand and has stayed ever since. He is married to Katie (a Kiwi-born Tongan), and they have two children aged 13 and 14. Siaosi is a full-time student currently in his third year of PhD study at The University of Auckland (UOA) – Philosophy of Education. His research project is on senior Samoan students at secondary school, their parents, and their teachers – exploring key factors of their education. These factors include: students’ self-efficacy (self-belief); students’ aspirations; teachers’ expectations; parents’ expectations; and students’ achievement. The results from this project will hopefully address a number of gaps in the current literature, as well as contributing to the existing body of research on improving Pasifika student outcomes in secondary schools. Furthermore, this project could provide a model to better understand how Samoan students, their teachers, and their parents can work effectively together to increase success and achievement in senior secondary school. “In this season I believe that God has opened the door for me to study full time, and He has given me the grace and wisdom to finish this PhD for His purpose. I am excited to spend time at Vaughan park not only to study, write, and share my research, but more importantly, to seek God’s Will for the next season of my life”.


OCTOBER & NOVEMBER - Deb Cole (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Nō wai ahau? Nō Patu Koraha, nō Ngati Kahu, nō Ngati Hine ahau, ko Deb Cole ahau.
As part of Deb’s employment for Te Pīhopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau in the position of Kaituitui o Kāhui Wāhine o Te Tai Tokerau, she has been tasked with gathering the faith stories of wāhine from Te Tai Tokerau and collating these into a book: “Hikoi Whakapono”. In setting out to interview our kuia, in researching for this, Deb has discovered that the voice of wāhine in Te Haahi Mihingare o Te Tai Tokerau is almost silent. There appears to be no research that offers, through narrative, a window into the faith and involvement of our whaea tūpuna. And yet these kuia speak about their nannies, aunts, mothers and the roles they played in their lives, in the development of their faith journeys. Deb says; “As kuia are the backbone of Te Haahi, and in fact the backbone of our communities, it is important to gather their stories now. This book is to celebrate their lives, their faith and how their faith is lived out in their lives”.
In the light of the silence that exists, this book is a first; it is an important strand in the story of the growth of Te Haahi Mihingare o Te Tai Tokerau. It is Deb’s hope, that the voices of these kuia will not only karanga to young wāhine of today but to those wāhine who are yet to come... that these stories will inspire and encourage whilst providing a wonderful snapshot of a way of life that is all but disappeared. Haere mai whaea.


FEBRUARY- Abigail McLutchie (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Brought up in Manurewa, South Auckland, I am working towards a PhD part-time at the Management and International Business Department of the University of Auckland Business School. I also work at the University of Auckland in the Te Fale Pouāwhina team as a Learning Adviser. In that role I engage Māori and Pacific students in academic literacy, leadership competencies, and postgraduate success in the Te Wheke Postgraduate Programme and Leadership through Learning programmes. My PhD research is interested in Māori entrepreneurship and seeks to understand the cultural values, practices, and activities that lead to the realisation of tino rangatiratanga, collective benefits and holistic well-being in both historical and contemporary Māori contexts. The title of my thesis is: Navigating mahi rangatira in an entrepreneurial context: A Kaupapa Māori approach to Māori entrepreneurial endeavour past and present. My research interests are in Kaupapa Māori, entrepreneuring, rangatiratanga, business education, and teaching and learning practices and pedagogy that empower Māori and Pacific students’ leadership and learning success alongside the entrepreneurial spirit. A life-long learner, traveller, lover of te reo Māori me ona tikanga, believer of edu-action and transformative activism to realise rangatiratanga, I trust that Indigenous and global leaders can work together to create a world where we enjoy real peace, sustainability and happiness.


MARCH & APRIL - Dr. Bex Lewis (United Kingdom)

I am passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where I have more than 20 years’ experience. I am a Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, where I was previously employed to research faith in a digital age, and aid with digital literacy in the church. I have a particular interest in digital culture and the third sector, especially faith organisations, having worked with most national UK churches and a number of Christian charities. I have written widely on discipleship in a digital age, and my 2017 breast cancer diagnosis has led to added research around social media and cancer. My treatment made physical engagement with church challenging, so the online space has literally been a Godsend. I can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl, often with #waitingroomfeet and #busylivingwithmets. In 2014, Raising Children in a Digital Age (, was published. The Financial Times described it as ‘sensible’ in a sea of scare stories, and youth leaders have said that my work has shaped youth ministry around digital over the past few years. I plan to work on developing the second edition at Vaughan Park, with the research also feeding into an academic article. With introductions from Stephen Garder (Laidlaw College) I am also looking forward to the opportunity to explore faith and media in the bicultural and multicultural contexts of New Zealand.  


JULY - The Rev. Pennie Vaione Togiatama-Otto (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am a Kiwi-born Niuean with roots from Avatele Oneonepata and Makefu Falekahoatua. I am married to a native Samoan, Togia Tavita who hails from Vailuutai and Vaiala. Together we have four children - aged 8, 9,19 and 25 and one mokopuna aged 5. (She is of Niue-Samoa-Cook Island-Kiribas and Tahitian descent). An ordained Presbyterian Minister of Niue Takanini PIPC, I am currently serving as the Deputy Principal of Kelston Girls College. In 2020, I will be working closer to home as Deputy Principal of Manurewa High School and I am also due to submit my Doctoral Thesis on Niueans and Doctoral Success. My research focuses on Niuean Indigeneity and Niuean cultural factors that influence and support doctoral success. When I started my doctoral research in 2014 there were five Niuean academic doctors in the world! Now that I am completing my thesis, there will be 12 academic doctors of Niuean the world! I am excited to share a Niuean methodology – Tia Lili Methodology -  that has come from my research and I am looking forward to spending my scholarship time on the final touches. Fakaaue lahi.


AUGUST - Annie Short (Aotearoa New Zealand)

During my 45 year career, I have worked in many fields, including primary teaching in South Auckland, in the Fraud Department of American Express Cards and in Export Co-ordination in the fishing industry.  In every situation I find myself in, my fascination for what makes people tick and the events that have influenced their lives rise to meet me. My father, Ron Bacon, was a very big influence in my life and because he was a primary teacher he influenced many young lives. By far his greatest influence, though, came from his writing. He had more than 100 books published and is seen as most influential in his pioneering of revitalising Maori Legends in the 1970’s.  In 2017 I became inspired to honour his contribution to healthy community values by writing his biography and thus began a journey of surprises and new understandings. In early 2019 I visited Vaughan Park for the first time. I live in Nelson and, while visiting Auckland, my closest friend took me to the Park to experience the tranquillity of the chapel. While passing through their reception area I saw the notice about Scholarships. I was amazed at the serendipity of this as we had just been discussing how I would benefit from time and space to gather my thoughts and feelings around my writing. My journey to collect all the different strands of information and stories of my father’s life has led to an understanding  of the healing that can happen through story telling and collecting all the “sides” to those stories. Although these are my personal family stories, I feel there is much that is recognisable by others, in the same way that parables link our revelations and thereby our opportunity for forgiveness. The trick appears to be to trust the process and not to mind when I reach a cul-de-sac and to not get in the way when things seem to be going well even though I don’t know where they are heading. The opportunity  to live at Vaughan Park for a month in 2020 is part of that trust in the process. To be able to sit quietly and reflect, while surrounded by the support and beauty of nature, is a gift.


SEPTEMBER - Lincoln Jaques (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I hold an MA and a Master of Creative Writing. My poetry and fiction has been published in New Zealand, the US and Ireland, most recently in a fine line (NZ Poetry Society), Mayhem, Fast Fibres, The Blue Nib, Fresh Ink 2, Flash Frontiers and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook (Massey University Press). I was a finalist and ‘Highly Commended’ in the 2018 NZ Emerging Poets. I live in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. My project is a sequence of poems exploring senses of identity through themes of dis-attachment, love, loss, death, isolation, violence and the effects of war leading to the disconnection of ourselves from our spiritual selves, all set within urban landscapes around the globe to which I have travelled. I wish to approach each city from a unique point of view – not as a tourist trying to write a tourist guide, but as an observer peeling away the top layers and looking deeper into the social, cultural and spiritual fluidity of a place. My influences are the sharp descriptive passages of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities; the minimalist style of Alessandro Baricco; the acute observation of life and nature from Mary Oliver, Zbigniew Herbert and Raymond Carver; and the religious reflectional writings of Julian of Norwich and the early Desert Fathers and Mothers. 


FEBRUARY - Yvonne Ualesi (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am a New Zealand born Pasifika doctoral scholar at The University of Auckland. I am of Samoan, Tokelauan and Fijian descent, married and we have four teenage children. I am a primary trained teacher and also a voluntary youth mentoring programmer in my local community of South Auckland.   Central to my practice in both teaching and youth mentoring, is my faith in God and sense of connectedness and relatedness to my aiga/family and building community connections. I believe that the metaphorical ‘village’ that both raises and mentors a child is made up of a multi-faceted, inter-generational collective of relationships and experts that possess both traditional, indigenous and contemporary cultural knowledge bases. My project is called Culturally Sustaining and Responsive Youth Mentoring Practice in Aotearoa: Towards a Framework. My aspirations include drawing from the rich knowledge baskets of our ancestors and contributing to the wider education and youth development discourse from a strengths-based lens underpinned by indigenous references and knowledge systems. My interest lies in what youth and their wider aiga/wh?nau/families and community might determine as important to sustaining their cultural identities within the youth mentoring context. My PhD research utilizes the Campus Connections Aotearoa youth mentoring programme to explore key elements for culturally sustaining and responsive practice in the youth mentoring context. I have investigated how the cultural adaptation of a multi-level structured therapeutic youth mentoring programme originally developed in the US might/might not engage, acknowledge and validate the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of youth in alternative education with complex needs in Aotearoa. My methodology is underpinned by Pasifika and Kaupapa Maori theories, knowledge systems and well-established indigenous models of well-being that reflect common but important holistic values. The residency at Vaughan Park will allow me to make sustained progress on editing four studies that include the narratives of both youth and cultural experts, youth themselves including their aiga/whanau/families and tutors and observations.


MARCH & APRIL - Dr. Anne Shave (Aotearoa New Zealand 

I have lived for most of my life in Christchurch. For over 20 years I worked as a secondary school teacher, After the Christchurch earthquakes I worked part-time in a Catholic girls’ school, Marian College, supporting staff and working with students with disabilities. I now tutor adults at Hohepa Canterbury, a part-time role I love. In 2018 I graduated with a PhD in Theology from The University of Otago. I focused on the spiritual and pastoral needs of people in midlife and explored some of the gaps that currently exist in attending to the complex issues that arise for many people in the middle decades of life. My research also identified a range of ways in which clergy and congregations could provide more intentional support to midlife members. While at Vaughan Park I intend to complete a book based on my research, which I hope may be a useful resource for New Zealand church leaders and for Christians in midlife. I am grateful for all I have learned from my involvement in churches of different denominations. I am a member of Cashmere Hills Presbyterian Church, but I also attend Evensong at St Barnabas Anglican Church and I have been a member of a home group there for many years. I have sung and travelled with the Roman Catholic Cathedral choir since 1990. Spiritual direction and retreats have also played a formative role in my Christian experience. I enjoy walking, especially on the beautiful Port Hills of Christchurch. I am looking forward to exploring the walks around Vaughan Park.


MAY - Ben Johnson-Frow (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am an ordained priest, with 25 years’ experience in ministry and leadership in the Anglican Church spanning local, national and international contexts. I have been writing, recording, and arranging music for 30 years, developing other musicians for ministry, and my songs are used in worship in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Europe, America, and the Pacific Islands. I am currently the Vicar at St John’s in Johnsonville, Wellington, but during a recent sabbatical felt a calling to set aside time to write new songs which led me to apply for the artist in residence scholarship at Vaughan Park. The gift of time and space to pray, read, reflect, and write songs in an inspiring place greatly appeals.  The vision at this stage is to start by setting aside the time for God… and allow creativity to flow.  There is a desire in this sense of call to write songs for worship in community, but it also feels like there is something else bubbling away in my heart for songs that are a vulnerable and personal reflection of life and faith and ministry.


JUNE & JULY - Jennifer Lewis (United States)

Though I grew up in southern New Jersey, my time in places beyond the state is enough to make “home” an amorphous place. In the last ten years, I have lived in five states, two countries, and spent six months by backpack in other parts of the globe. I currently reside in Boston with my husband, where I am a PhD student in Practical Theology at Boston University. Ironically, however, none of the places I have lived feel as much like “home” as one you may not expect: New Zealand. In fact, I learned of Vaughan Park, when I spent three wonderful years living in Taupo serving the local Anglican Church. It was there that I was introduced to a tradition and people that has left a permanent mark on my soul: indeed, I was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand  by full immersion in Lake Taupo, no less!  I am now seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church of the United States. My PhD research focuses on how aesthetic pedagogies and creative Christian practices can contribute to personal and social healing, as well as efforts of justice and peace. During my time at Vaughan Park, I plan to explore these ideas more closely by investigating how one practice – that of imaginative prayer –might serve as a resource for healing trauma in individuals and communities. In a world that walks with many wounds, such healing is desperately needed. My hope in researching imaginative prayer’s healing potential, is to help Christian communities draw on the resources of the faith so that they can not only respond to trauma in deliberate, organic, and life-restoring ways but also help people to once again, “have life and have it to the full.”


AUGUST - Marie Preston (Aotearoa)

I have a story to write. I hope it will be an authentic, readable and accessible memoir and an accompaniment for many people in their professional and personal lives. As a Registered Nurse and Midwife and before that, a Plunket Nurse, my working life has been full, varied and people-related. I am a mother and grandmother and am an active leader in my local church and community. My previous work in the church, in a diversity of roles, has always been undergirded by a strong sense of God’s leading and the support and encouragement of others. The focus of my story will be the encouragement of health, healing and wholeness. The experience and influence of my ancestors have shaped my being and thinking. I have lived for 25 years with the diagnosis and the many challenges of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma. There are many celebrations and blessings that also need to be shared. Although each life story is unique, there is much that is universal to us all. Now is the time for me to companion and inspire others in their journeys of life and faith. To be given the opportunity to think, reflect, write and complete my book in the quiet space of Vaughan Park is like a dream come true.


SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER - Mary Jane Miller (South America)

I am an icon painter and teacher, living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. For the past 25 years, my reverence for creation and prayer has led me to study the ancient iconography egg tempera technique. This sacred art form integrates past and present, earth and divine, flesh and spirit. Combined, they expose a sense of awe and eternity. Egg tempera is a recipe combining egg yolk – symbolizing the raw potential for life – with million-year old dirt – symbolic of eternity. Mixing life’s potential with eternity creates human portraits for spiritual awe. The practice resonates with me personally and spiritually, illustrating my love of nature, life and God. At Vaughan Park I am hoping to design and paint four of a series of 12 icons called “On Holy Ground”, exploring Christ’s teaching to love and care for what we have been gifted and expressing the beauty of creation in a style which diverts from traditional icon imagery.  I am also looking forward to the possibility of offering an iconography workshop while I am at there.I am currently an active member and on the vestry of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in San Miguel de Allende.


NOVEMBER - Nicola Hoggard-Creegan (Aotearoa)

I am a theologian and graduate from Drew University, New Jersey, USA. I married a fellow graduate student and we taught and lived in North Carolina for 12 years before returning to Aotearoa New Zealand with our two children. I am an active member of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Ponsonby, Auckland, where I am on the vestry, a liturgist and a bell ringer. I taught theology for 17 years and directed TANSA, (Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa). I am now co-directing New Zealand Christians in Science (funded for three years by the Templeton Foundation), and am an honorary chaplain at Maclaurin Chapel at The University of Auckland. I have taken part in many science and theology seminars in the UK and USA and in 2012-13 I was a member of the Center for Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA. My research has always involved the multiple interactions between systematic theology and science, especially evolutionary theory. This has taken me into eco-theology and the theology of healing as well as the problem of evil and free will. I published Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil with Oxford University Press, 2013 and co-edited (with Andrew Shepherd) Creation and Hope: Reflections on Anticipation and Action from Aotearoa, New Zealand in 2018. I completed my PhD dissertation on free will (and compatibilism) in Jonathan Edwards and Friedrich Schleiermacher in 1990. I am nearing the completion of a book project on free will and will greatly benefit from a period of quiet and concentration at Vaughan Park to bring this project to its conclusion.


MARCH - MAY - Daniel Leatherman (Hawaii) 

I was born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands and remained active in the Episcopal Church throughout primary and secondary school all the way through university where in my 3rd year of university that I began a discernment to ordained ministry. Ordained an Episcopal priest, I have served in parishes and schools in Oklahoma, California, and Hawaii. Currently, I am the Upper School Chaplain serving Intermediate and Secondary grades at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, HawaiÊ»i. Ê»Iolani, Hawaiian for "heavenly hawk" refers to King Kamehameha IV who brought Anglicanism to Hawaii and helped to found the school I also serve as a chaplain in the reserves of the United States military. My wife Charmaine is also an educator in the Hawaii Public Schools and we have one daughter, age 11. Although I am not native Hawaiian by blood, the Hawaiian spirit speaks deeply to my soul and I have come to know and understand that as a child of Hawaii, I am connected to the land, the sky, and the sea all the same. It has been a dream to travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand and I am grateful to the Board for this opportunity. While at Vaughan Park, I am taking advantage of a much-needed sabbatical leave from my school and look forward to rest, renewal, blogging, and time to write my thesis as I pursue a Doctor of Ministry in Educational Leadership from the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA. Exploring the intersection of faith, history, and indigenous culture is of great interest to me and I hope to discover the ways that Anglican schools in Aotearoa/New Zealand have wrestled with these same issues in their own worship life and spiritual formation process. Though I take great delight in being a “ballet dad” and the taxi driver to gymnastics for my daughter, I also look forward to reconnecting with God through my other loves that include amateur astronomy, photography, hiking and the ocean. 

ʻIolani School:

My personal blog, “Versicle” can be found


JUNE - Clare Amos (Switzerland)

Dr Clare Amos recently retired from her position as Programme Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches, Geneva, where she has worked for the last six years. Prior to coming to Geneva Clare worked for 10 years at the Anglican Communion Office as Director for Theological Studies, also holding responsibility for interfaith concerns. She was honoured to be recognized for her work by the award of a Lambeth DD in 2012. Clare’s background is as a biblical scholar and teacher, and in her past she lived in the Middle East for 10 years, both in Jerusalem and Lebanon, where she both studied and taught the Bible. A passion for the Middle East, its people, its mosaic of different religious traditions and its problems, has been part of her life ever since, and is partly what led her to work over the last 20 years in the field of interfaith engagement. Clare has published a considerable number of articles, features and short books in the fields of biblical studies, interreligious issues and spirituality. She hopes now that her retirement will offer her the opportunity to work intensively on the ‘big book’ she has long wanted to produce – on the theme of transfiguration as an integrating motif in Christian, and in particular Anglican, theology. She is grateful to Vaughan Park for the opportunity to write in such beautiful and peaceful surroundings. Clare is an Anglican laywoman with UK nationality: she is married to Canon Alan Amos an Anglican priest.


JULY - SEPTEMBER - Anne Aalbers (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am an Aucklander, educated by the Dominican Sisters in Henderson for my intermediate and high school years. It was from these Sisters that I learned a love of theology and languages, and a knowledge of the Bible. Hence my move, later in life, to Biblical Studies. I completed a Master of Theology at Laidlaw College in 2015. I am currently enrolled for a PhD in Theology with a New Testament emphasis, at Auckland University. It is one of those God-moments of life to think of myself, some decades ago, sitting in class, with my now-antique RSV Catholic Edition Bible open in front of me at John’s Gospel, asking myself, “Why would Jesus tell Mary Magdalene, ‘Do not touch me’?” (20:17). Now, by a story too long to tell, that is exactly what I am exploring: What did Jesus mean? In my PhD, I argue that John’s purpose was to show the humanity of Jesus. I am exploring first-century beliefs around male/female relationships; other contexts in which the verb haptomai (touch) was used; how Mary was seen in other ancient texts; and the practice of celibacy at that time. My thesis submission date is 2019. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming and bush walking, especially on Tiri Tiri Matangi at least once a year. I enjoy preaching occasionally at my local church, Albany Presbyterian. I also attend Huapai Catholic Church. My deepest joy is my family of four children, Rebecca, David, Mary and Jonathan, a family now expanded by three partners and the gift of a grandson, Malachi.


OCTOBER - Maren Tirabassi (United States)

A bi-vocational United Church of Christ pastor since 1980 in rural, seaport, urban and suburban United States, my focus now is writing, leading memoir, fiction and poetry workshops, and being a literacy educator with new immigrants and adults with developmental disabilities. I also lead interfaith programs on liturgical writing, creative worship, and congregational inclusivity and enjoy mentoring new authors to write and publish. The anthology, A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope is my twentieth book. I celebrate connecting creative people across national borders, as well as boundaries of race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and educational or economic background. In my recent books I discovered twenty-eight writers from Aotearoa New Zealand. I look forward to visiting them. Project: The heart of a journey – a reflection on travel. “I’m not at home here,” may mean fear or openness to new experience. “You’re just a tourist,” is often negative, but people learn by becoming stranger or guest, pilgrim or wanderer, immigrant or refugee. At Vaughan Retreat Centre where seasons reverse those I know and the date is “tomorrow,” I will reflect and write on journey in our emotional and spiritual lives. One resource developed for individuals will be a guided prayer and travel journal of daily spiritual writing invitations for sabbaticals, vacations, and journeys of many kinds. The “prompts” will invite poetry, prayer, reflection, flash fiction, sketching, watercolor, even “selfies.” This prototype journal can trace other travels – a journey with a parent in hospice, a first month at university or after an adoption or a divorce, the last month of a pregnancy, the path of chemotherapy, retirement or a new pastorate. A congregational resource will be outlines for a two-hour workshop and a daylong retreat based on journey imagery and the sharing of journeys appropriate during Lent.


NOVEMBER - Helen Calder (United Kingdom)

I am a British business graduate with 12 years’ experience in the glass and brewing industries, rising to senior management level. As part of a calling to use my business skills in the Christian sector I studied theology at St John’s College Nottingham. I was on the ministry team at All Souls Church, Langham Place as director of administration from 1991 to 1999. I worked for the UK Evangelical Alliance from 1999 to 2016 as executive director: finance and services. In these roles my responsibilities included finance, HR, facilities, IT, team management, programme management, risk management and governance. I have been a trustee of several Christian charities. I am currently a board member of the European Evangelical Alliance. I left Evangelical Alliance in 2016 to pursue a part time portfolio: Using 40 years’ experience to equip charities, churches and individuals. I have a growing Resource Index of over 50 potential resource sheets with a Christian ethos, based on my experience. Twelve are complete and in circulation. They are 400 to 1,500 words in length. They provide advice for charities and churches, leadership and management, end of life resources and personal skills. Some are already published on a secular website and three have been included as appendices in a Christian book about preparing for death. Project: Practical Resource Sheets with a Christian Ethos. A month’s research scholarship will give me opportunity to complete 20 more resource sheets and to research opportunities to share these resources with charities, churches and individuals in New Zealand, UK and Europe, including an online-presence. I hope to run a half or full day workshop at Vaughan Park on one of these topics. 


FEBRUARY - Frances Hancock (Aotearoa New Zealand)

My name is Frances Hancock. I am a Irish Pākehā and live in Māngere Bridge with my partner and son. My life, work and studies seek to intersect the ethics and politics of relational justice. My Irish ancestry, Catholic upbringing and childhood experiences led me to work for justice. My social work degree from Massey University and my theological studies at Harvard Divinity School nourished 25 years of organisational, policy and community development work with indigenous peoples here and in the USA and with other diverse communities. I am now finishing a doctorate in relational ethics at Te Puna Wānanga, The School of Māori Education, at the University of Auckland. In addition, I co-lead or support local community-led initiatives. For relaxation, I enjoy walking alongside our beautiful Manukau Harbour, gardening on Sunday afternoons, reading memoirs, and learning the clarinet. My Project  - Possibilities for relational justice in Maori - Pākehā relations. Activists, educators and philosophers argue that for those of us committed to social justice “problems are our work” (Solnit, 2006). The challenges and uncertainties we face, however, also create “the conditions through which justice can arise” (Hoskins, 2010). My doctorate explores relational qualities that enable engaging and productive Māori-Pākehā relations. It offers pedagogical portraits of Māori and Pākehā leaders who have worked together over many years. It explores the big ideas at work in the everyday blessings of their relationships and asks what can they and their relationships teach us about crafting a just life. Relational justice, I argue, requires an “openness to exchange” (Todd, 2009) that is at once deeply human, profoundly ethical, always political, inevitably pedagogical and also spiritual.


MARCH - MAY  Kathleen Rushton RSM

I am a member of Nga Whaea Atawhai Sisters of Mercy and live in Otautahi Christchurch where I have spent most of my adult life. My rural upbringing on a South Canterbury hill country farm in sight of the Southern Alps has influenced my life profoundly. I have worked as a secondary teacher and in youth ministry. In mid-life, I studied at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Brisbane College of Theology. I was awarded my PhD in John’s gospel by Griffith University in 2000. I teach Scripture for The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand contracted by the Christchurch Catholic Education Office. Previously, I tutored for the Ecumenical Institute of Distance Theological Studies. I companion people in spiritual direction, convene a diocesan committee forming teams for parish Retreats in Daily Life, participate in a Christian Life Community and am consultor for Te Wairua Mahi: Forming Spiritual Directors in the Ignatian Tradition. Since 2010, I have served as a trustee of Marralomeda, a Christian community for people with intellectual disabilities. The call of Sisters of Mercy nationally and internationally to integrate scripture and tradition with cosmology, ecology and science led to my research project on the Johannine Prologue as the 2011 Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar at Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge, UK. Since then, I have explored ways of using the eschatological cosmology of the Prologue as a framework to interpret the gospel which follows and the implications for spirituality and ecology today. I delight in making sound biblical scholarship accessible and linking this to everyday faith and spirituality. For example, I write a monthly reflection on the Sunday Lectionary gospels in Tui Motu InterIslands ( At Vaughan Park, I shall work on writing an accessible book in which I shall reshape my eschatological, cosmological framework to explore the interconnected biblical relationships which influenced Jesus’ relationship with God, with land and the people. These relationships resonate with the Maori understanding of whakawhanaungatanga/making right relationship happen with Atua/God, tangata/people and whenua/land. An article from Tui Motu website under Scripture written by Kathleen Rushton while on her Scholarship at Vaughan Park:


JUNE - The Rev. Josh Jones (Aotearoa)

I was born and raised in the city of Birmingham UK. At the age of 16, I fell in love with the Beatles, all things pop music and along with my 2 brothers, formed a band called the Quads. So began the exhilarating journey of over 25 years in the music business and a rich tapestry of experiences for the memory bank of life. These included a hit song in 1979 “There must be Thousands’ which much to our surprise, was revealed by the Guardian newspaper to be included in the late John Peels (BBC radio DJ) favourite 100 records of all time. 18 years ago, against all my anti-religious instincts, I began a suspicious and tentative journey into the Christian faith at St Martin’s church in the city centre of Birmingham UK. This has taken me on a journey I could never have envisaged, from Director of Music and Worship, to my current place as the Co-Vicar of St George’s Anglican Church Epsom Auckland arriving on these shores six years ago. My Project - The desire to bring together the 2 pathways of my life’s passions and endeavours in a collection of music worship recordings called ‘Songs of Lament, Grace and Hope’ alongside a short book with the working title of God, The Beatles & King Cyrus. I have always shared an intuitive desire to ‘reach’ the many people in society who have a deep spiritual curiosity and yearning but sadly ignore the path of mainstream Christianity to explore their spiritual quest. The songs will sing of an expansive God of all humanity and the presence of Christ in our daily struggles to find the ‘beauty in the brokenness’ of all our lives. My desire is to attempt a fusion of Maori and Taize spirituality with my own song writing style. The book will explore why music (probably more than any other art form) can transcend the barriers of language, culture, age and race, to connect, influence and shape the world and ask ‘where is the Creator God in all of this? If we are made in the image of our creator God then every human being carries the divine fingerprint of our Creator in their soul. Ever since humans became ‘beings’ they have found ways to make instruments and create musical frequencies by blowing, bowing, plucking and striking. We know that these ‘good vibrations’ have the power to mysteriously express and touch our humanity, moving us to cry, dance, feel happy and bring back a memory. Is this why music is the language of the soul and God is in the music? IF the ‘real’ good news of our faith, is that we are invited to participate in God’s mission to restore, reconcile and redeem all that’s hurt and broken in this world. How does the healing and revealing power of music fit into this?


JULY - SEPTEMBER - The Revd. Dr. Catherine Laufer

I grew up in Sydney, the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. I was baptised as an infant as 'protection' against future genocide and came to my own Christian faith at an Anglican school. I studied psychology at university and worked with intellectually disabled and highly gifted children. I spent fourteen months living and working in Jerusalem before marrying my American husband in 1981. We lived in California for a year before moving to Melbourne where we planned to start a family. Sadly, this was not to be; we were unable to have children. I became a lecturer in psychology at Australian Catholic University where I worked for 15 years. My husband was killed in a road accident in October 1990. I had begun studying theology earlier that year and found class to be a place of refuge and strength in the midst of deep grief. My vocation to ordained ministry grew out of this experience. At Vaughan Park, I will be working on a book of narrative theology, that is, stories which explore theological truths. Narrative theology is far more than storytelling; it not only illustrates dogma but also teaches theological concepts. This is what Jesus did in his parables, using a story to communicate deep truths. Narrative theology is an alternative means of proclaiming the gospel in a medium that is accessible to all – clergy looking for sermon illustrations, Christians who do not read theological tomes, and the unchurched seeking to know something of faith. My long term goal is a collection of about twenty stories, each illustrating Christian doctrine. I hope that, in my three months at Vaughan Park, I will be able to complete half to two-thirds of the collection. Bishop Bosco Puthur, Eparch of the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Melbourne which covers all Australia and New Zealand. 
“Bp Bosco invited me to their liturgy.  It was stunning! – chanted in Malayalam.” 11th September 2017. The Syro Malabar Catholic Mission, NZ


OCTOBER - Sally Longley (Australia)

Sally Longley is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader based at the Canisius Centre for Ignatian Spirituality, Sydney and is also a Lay Reader in the Anglican Church. Previously Sally spent 14 years in South Africa first as a lecturer at Rhodes University, and then after completing degrees in Theology in the UK, Sally worked as a chaplain on Transvaal university campuses during the apartheid era. After returning to Australia, Sally lectured at the Australian Catholic University, before studying spiritual direction at the Anabaptist Seminary in USA. Sally is also a Supervisor,  a member of Companions (as a giver of the Ignatian Exercises), President of the Australian Network for Spiritual Direction, an Executive member of the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction, and a team leader on the training program of the Residential Program for Spiritual Directors. Sally has published a booklet and DVD: “Christian Meditation: 5 Ways to Pray”; and the book “Walking the Labyrinth as the Beloved in John’s Gospel”.  She is married with two adult children.


NOVEMBER - Rhonda Bliss (Aotearoa New Zealand)

My project is to create a series of spiritual retreats. The writing of these retreats will be integrating all my life experiences including being a teacher and a therapist, with my desire for people to experience God’s love.  My aim is to offer a welcoming and safe space for anyone who wishes to encounter the living God, recognising we are all on an individual but connected journey. I am a psychotherapist and work with individuals and couples from a wide range of backgrounds. I have been in private practice for twelve years and was part of Youthline’s Senior Counselling Team for some years. Prior to becoming a therapist I was a primary teacher, with the majority of my teaching at a Jewish Orthodox School.  I am a member of St Pauls Anglican Church, Symonds St, Auckland. The spiritual retreats I will be creating will be focusing on the meaning of the Jewish Holy Days. Each festival highlights particular aspects of our relationship with God and can enhance our Christian   journey. My intention is to take significant God inspired ideas from the festivals to reflect upon and to help us open our hearts to the voice of the Spirit. The creative or expressive arts will be used as a means of exploring our relationship with God. Creativity is a natural way to express spirituality and  recognizes that we have multiple ways of knowing, experiencing and healing. No artistic talent is required and anyone can use art media for opening up dialogue and deepening connection with God.  The creative process can become  at once a communication, a journey and a prayer.


MARCH - MAY - Miles Hadley

Born in England, Miles has been educated and has worked around the world. He read at History at the University of Aberdeen and graduated in 2003. The course included an internship in Washington D.C. at the US Naval Historical Centre. His dissertation focused on the Canadian War of 1812. Miles was also Secretary of the History and Whiskey Societies at University and briefly established and edited a Student Newspaper. Miles was also educated in Beijing and then went on to graduate in 2007 with an MSc in International Business at the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo, Zheijiang province. In 2010, Miles studied Human Resources Management at George Brown College, Toronto and then went on to work in the Banking sector. He has also worked and Volunteered for various charities in the UK and more recently has been a Historic Guide/ Helper at the Auckland Memorial Museum and Alberton Historic House while on a working holiday. Miles aspires to be a Creative Writer and is currently working on two Novel projects. The first focuses on Social disparity and division in the UK, a subject that he has been concerned about for a long time. He believes that while Economic problems in the UK have often been the priority, issues of Social division have not, hence the very violent riots of 2011 that spread from London to Birmingham, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol. He also believes that the recent lurch further to the left of the official opposition in the UK is perhaps a response to continued Social disparity. Miles hopes to highlight such divisions through an entertaining novel. The other novel project focuses on modern day dating. Miles also enjoys writing poetry. His topics range from History to Society and Nature. He has had one poem published in, “Haque” Magazine while a member of the Hackney Writers circle in London. This poem is entitled, “The Loch” and focuses on the loss of a close relation who was associated with a particular Scottish Loch. He is also currently working on setting two other poems to Music in the traditional folk genre for a female solo voice. One poem focuses on a hill in Scotland called, “Bennachie” This hill is often written and sung about traditionally in Scotland. The other is about a chance encounter with a Fox in a Woods associated with Miles’ family in England.


JUNE - Hinekura Lisa Smith (Aotearoa New Zealand)

My name is Hinekura Lisa Smith. I have been a teacher for almost 20 years, 15 years as a te reo Māori teacher in mainstream secondary schools, working with a wide range of youth, their whanau and communities to empower them to achieve to their potential. I am passionate about education and believe that education and learning happens all around us, and is not isolated to a classroom. My doctoral research explores the rich and complex idea of Māori Aspirations to live ‘as Māori’. Māori aspirations do not exist in a cultural vacuum. Instead they are the culmination of complex, interwoven histories, experiences and ‘choices.’ My PhD research celebrates whatu kākahu (feathered cloaks) as richly storied text(tiles) that embody and (re)present Māori aspirations through the stories of 8 Māori women and the aspirations they hold for their children and grandchildren to live ‘as Māori.’ This research is important as Māori identities continue to grow and evolve. Typically, Māori voices in education are often not heard and the notion of educational ‘success’ for Māori is reduced to ‘getting good grades’. Taking in to account the historical assimilatory intentions of the Aotearoa New Zealand education system and the impact that colonisation has had on Māori peoples identity, this research offers another way for education to hear, see and most importantly feel how this group of women express the aspirations they hold for their children to live as Māori.


JULY - SEPTEMBER - The Rev. Anastasia Webster-Hawes

I am married to Donald, and am the mother of eight children and Rector of the Parish of Blayney, which has seven widely-flung churches in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, part of the Diocese of Bathurst. I plan to complete a dissertation on the First Letter of Peter. The working title is 'Christlike Suffering? A Feminist Theological Perspective on the First Letter of Peter'. Although some commentators have found 1 Peter 'one of the most eloquent and theologically rich' texts in the New Testament, feminist theologians, on the other hand,  have found it 'one of the most dangerous texts in the New Testament.' In his call to imitate Christ and endure unjust suffering, the writer of Peter calls for obedient subordination, which can be pernicious for women, especially those who are in situations of abuse. From a faith perspective, but employing a hermeneutic of suspicion,I plan to question the received interpretation, and examine questions of how we deal with, and make sense of suffering.


OCTOBER - Chris Grantham (New Zealand)

Chris Grantham is a born-and-bred Kiwi (of English and Swiss stock) whose speaking and writing and the occasional stand-up comedy have seen him out and about plenty. Chris is the author of the best-seller The Kiwi Bible (published by Penguin in two volumes) and The Chocolate Seller on Broadway and his kids. He has worked for several mission agencies (including Interserve, NZ Church Missionary Society and World Vision) and now directs the interdenominational Arrow Leadership programme which provides in-service leadership development for young clergy/pastors and other Christian leaders. Chris holds degrees in accounting (B.Com) and theology (BD), and in previous lives was an accountant and a school teacher. He and his wife Jocelyn have two grown-up kids and three grandchildren. Chris’s Vaughan Park project is to record a series of conversations on contemporary and life-related issues recorded over a 48-hour live-in eat-converse-debate-laugh-pray with Bishop Justin Duckworth of Wellington, journalist Tapu Misa, and historian Professor Peter Lineham. These conversations will be transcribed, edited and published, supplemented with something of the stories of the three contributors.


NOVEMBER - The Rev. Alfred Damu (Malaysia)

I was working in the Oil and Gas industry for 12 years before going into full time ministry. My first degree is in Chemical Engineering. I took my theological studies (Master in Divinity from 2003-2006) in Seminary Theologi Malaysia (STM) in Seremban. Currently, doing the Doctorate in Ministry Programme  in STM. Married to Shirley Gren and have two sons, Daniel (15years old) and Samuel (12years old). The church I am currently pastoring in for the past 8 years is St. Columba's Anglican Church in Miri city.  The church membership is about 4,000 members from about 800 households. There are three language based congregational groups, i.e. English, Iban and Mandarin. I serve in both The Parochial Church Council (PCC) which oversees the various departments in the parish and the Spiritual Growth Taskforce (SGTF) which oversees the various ministries in the church, i.e. Women ministry, Youth ministry, Children ministry, Senior Citizen ministry, Choir and Server Ministry, Home Fellowship and Bible study ministry, mission school , army   and hospital chaplaincy work. I am assigned to minister mainly to the Iban and English congregation.  The ministries that I am involved in are the youth fellowship, hospital, school and army camp chaplaincy work, church resource centre and library. I also conduct discipleship training programmes such as Alpha Course for new church members, apologetic workshops and leadership training programmes for the lay leaders in the parish. I am the coordinator for the Theological Education by Extension Course in English and Bahasa Malaysia in St. Columba. Apart from ministering at St Columba's Parish I assist in conducting services at one of St Columba's mission centre in a semi-urban area and also in Brunei parishes. I also conduct Youth Leaders and Lay Leaders training for other parishes in the Diocese as well. Context of Study Currently, I am in my third year doing the Doctorate in Ministry module with Seminari Theologi Malaysia.  I have completed 6 out of 8 modules (Study of Job, Advanced Hermeneutics and Homiletics, Church Management, Pastoral Theology, Urban Mission, The Book of Revelations). The thesis topic that I will be working on  is “Developing and Evaluating a programme for Holistic Urban Mission in the Local Church” which is a mixture of church growth, mission and church leadership. Below is the outline of the purpose of the study. Purpose of study This research aims to study three areas of challenges experienced in St Columba's church. Firstly, the plateauing church attendance (250-300) in the morning service in in the last 10 years despite the admission of new members into the church via the confirmation or catechism classes. The attendance would swell by about 30-40% during the Easter and Christmas services. The bulk of the church members do not attend the church services on a regular basis. This trend is observed in many urban Anglican churches in Sarawak in recent years. Secondly, is the sluggish church growth in the local parish. There is a lack of adult conversions, particularly in the English and Chinese services. There is not much of a deliberate effort to conduct urban mission activities (evangelism and social involvement) within the local parish. Church members lack exposure to urban mission. Thirdly, despite having a registered membership of about 4000 members, approximately 800 families only a small number are involved in the church ministries and out of this only a handful are actually involved in pastoral ministry or evangelism work. Quite often lay leaders experience “burn out” in ministry. It is believed that these three areas are inter-related and the common factor that links them together is the lack of mission or urban mission to be specific. They are not discrete and isolated areas issues in discipleship, evangelism or leadership. The root cause of the three observable unhealthy trends in the local church is due to the inadequate understanding and involvement in urban mission. Therefore, this study is carried out based on the hypothesis that an adequate understanding and involvement in urban mission will help maintain regular church attendance among members, spur more adult conversions and awaken the laity to serve in the church and beyond. If this hypothesis is indeed true, it has an important connotation for the Diocese of Kuching, which has often been likened to a “sleeping giant”. Firstly, it is the key towards a deeper spiritual life and secondly it provides the impetus towards a greater mobilization of the lay people for service within the Diocese. Aligning the church ministries around urban mission will help the church shift away from maintenance mode (merely running church departments and organizing events) towards effectively executing the Great Commission.


FEBRUARY - Stephanie McIntyre (New Zealand),

My current working title is: “A bi-cultural practice for Aotearoa New Zealand”. Working in the community sector in the capital city of Aotearoa New Zealand, impacts of our colonial past are apparent.  Although Maori make up about 12% of the Wellington population, they are the largest group of people who come to DCM, because as with other colonised countries our indigenous people are the most likely to be poor and marginalised. I see that my role as director of DCM is to ensure that the people we engage with receive the best possible assistance.  Key to this is to make certain that people feel ‘at home’; something that goes beyond being respected or even being culturally acknowledged.  In New Zealand, this is often referred to as ‘cultural safety’ but that somewhat clinical term fails to convey the warmth, for example, of ensuring people experience a sense of being whanau, for this is the gesture we need to provide to ensure ‘a culturally appropriate experience’. There are numerous ways that our small, dedicated, bi-cultural team work to achieve this standard.  One of those ways is to find a new language that draws on Maori concepts, that goes beyond corporately influenced ‘western speak’.  Another is to provide programmes that reflect the interests, identity and needs of people who are Maori.  That is why the most recent addition to DCM’s offering of services has been to pilot a cultural connections programme ‘Tuku Atu Tuku Mai’.  Above all we want our practice to be real, authentic, integrated into our lives and not just some tacked-on tokenism.  Sadly there are many examples of organisations paying lip service to this significant issue.


APRIL - Mark Johnston (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am seeking to address, how we develop and train leaders of missional change for Presbyterian contexts and conditions shaped by church centric imagination and practices. In the midst of performance pressures to maintain the internal status quo, or alleviate disruption, or grow church numbers, ministers struggle to transcend the functional demands of shoring up congregations. Anxious congregations easily sideline leadership attempts to address deeper adaptive work of the church’s vocation and change. These circumstances suggest the leadership habits and classical capacities of Presbyterian ministers are insufficient for acting on this challenge. The skills and imagination required to cultivate and sustain God shaped mission and lead culture change are not easily deployed. So this project will examine the learning needs of ordained leaders in cultivating missional change in Presbyterian contexts, and use this understanding to generate adaptive questions for training.


JUNE - The Rev. Leo Te Kira (Aotearoa New Zealand)

I am using the month to reflect on my ministry as a Christian and as a Maori. Studying at Victoria University of Wellington for a BA in Maori Studies in the 1980s to contribute towards my training for High School teaching, I encountered many Maori students with other understandings of spirituality and wairuatanga. Coming myself from a strong Anglican upbringing I encountered Roman Catholic, Wesleyan, Ringatu, Ratana and agnostic students: as well as a significant number of both Maori students and lecturers who were convinced that in order to remain true to their own Maori selves they had to forgo an Israeli God and pursue the various Atua-spiritual forces known both across Aotearoa and in individual iwi-tribes. Although I ultimately did not ascribe to these arguments to return to a pre-Christian wairuatanga I listened to these assertions with a strong intent and respect. I also feel deeply compelled to take my faith in God that I have found over the last 20 years and revisit the arguments I heard at Victoria that Maori needed to return to their former wairuatanga in order to remain authentic to their Maori identity. I want to reflect quietly on the personhood of God that I have seen through Jesus – and what it has to offer Maori. I also want to further explore the belief that Maori should return to the Atua-forces, and some significant hesitations I have towards this. It is my hope that I would come away from Vaughan Park in June 2015 with the beginnings of a book or at least an essay to offer both Maori and others.


SEPTEMBER - Bronwyn Oakley-Browne (Aotearoa New Zealand)

My chosen area of further research and writing, and the focus of my dissertation, is in the area of Māori language learning. I have studied te reo Māori for 4 years. As a classroom teacher in te Tai Tokerau, I have a strong desire to uncover how learning and using te reo Māori impacts on Māori students in mainstream school settings and how my own choice to continue learning te reo Māori, may make a positive difference for all my students, Māori and Pakeha. I am a Pakeha. My commitment to learning te reo Māori is a deep personal desire to influence, in some small way, a higher level of understanding of and between Māori and Pakeha in Aotearoa, to acknowledge the rich diversity of our nation, to encourage us to work together in celebration of our differences, to care for and respect one another and generate a positive way forward together as two founding peoples – amongst many peoples – in one land. My dissertation is the final body of work to complete my Bachelor of Education (Honours) programme. I intend to use the time to read, write and think about the topic of language learning in building relationship between Māori and Pakeha in modern New Zealand education. 


OCTOBER - Jodie Porter

Many Iwi are actively and strategically working towards the greater development and advancement of their people.  There is a great urgency for iwi to be able to monitor progress in a way that aligns with iwi aspirations.  Iwi are required to act innovatively and resourcefully in order to effectively align their efforts towards the realisation of iwi vitality.  Central to the concept of iwi vitality is the notion that iwi are able to actively determine what matters to them and in turn, that outcomes of iwi vitality such as a secure iwi identity, intergenerational sustainability, collective cohesion, environmental stewardship, self-determination, economic prosperity, and whānau health and wellbeing are vibrantly expressed. r54Limited work has been carried out by iwi themselves that explores what constitutes iwi vitality and how this might be meaningfully measured in order to effectively plan for the future.  This research aims to develop and assess Ngai Tai vitality indicators and measures, and test their usefulness within an applied case study, utilising a Ngai Tai vitality outcomes monitoring framework.  Testing the application of the framework within four key Ngai Tai entities aims to reflect the contemporary Ngai Tai landscape and also provides a collective lens that acknowledges both the individual and shared interests and contributions of these stakeholders.  It will also demonstrate its potential contribution towards decision-making, planning, prioritisation, resource allocation and action to meet shared outcome goals in terms relevant to Ngai Tai in particular and more generally to other iwi and local level Māori communities.



JANUARY - Dr. Stella Rock (England)

Stell Rock has been travelling to and writing about Russia for years,Stella_Rock_Vaughan_park_shot.jpg mostly focusing on the Orthodox Christianity she first encountered on an ecumenical pilgrimage to Kiev, Leningrad and Moscow in 1988. Her doctoral and post-doctoral work has focused on the academic study of 'popular' Russian Orthodox Christianity, the related topic of the dynamic relationship between prescribed/proscribed Christianity and Christianity as it is lived, and the relationship between Christianity, prejudice and identity. A much-expanded version of her doctoral research was published in 2007 (paperback 2009) as Popular Religion in Russia: 'Double-belief' and the Making of an Academic Myth (Routledge: Abingdon and New York) and most recently she hascontributed chapters on pilgrimage to Catherine Wanner (ed.), State Secularism and Lived Religion in Soviet Russia and Ukraine (Oxford University Press: Oxford, anticipated publication date 2012) and Vera Shevzov's and Amy Adams' forthcoming volume on Marian veneration in modern Russia . She has also written numerous articles for academic journals and publications such as History Today, Russian Life and the online Open Democracy. Currently Stella is working on a monograph about the revival of Orthodox Christian pilgrimage in post-Soviet Russia, within the broader context of a pan-European increase in pilgrimage and heritage tourism. The scholarship at Vaughan Park will allow her to devote some much needed thinking and writing time to chapters exploring pilgrims' motivations for seeking out the sacred in specific physical locations.


FEBRUARY - The Rev. Colin Patterson (Durham)

The Rev. Colin Patterson is Assistant Director of Bridge Builders, a British organisation that helps churches to handle conflict constructively ( Colin started his working life as a secondary school chemistry teacher in the West of England, before offering for ordination in the Anglican Church. After serving in parishes in Blackburn and Darlington, he was a full-time lay training officer in the Diocese of Durham for twelve years, at a time when the Diocese was trying to develop new patterns of ministry. It was a job that frequently required him to be a facilitator and mediator as well as a trainer. He now plays those roles throughout Britain, leading ecumenical training courses for people in positions of church leadership, and working for healing and reconciliation in local churches. Colin has a special interest in how human beings learn. His focus at the moment is the learning of wisdom, which he sees as undervalued in an information-saturated society. Hence he offers training that tries to inculcate a habit of learning by reflecting on personal experience. The challenging goal – for himself and for those he trains – is to act with the peace of God and manage oneself carefully, in circumstances where emotions run high. For some time, Colin has been researching how the New Testament presents Jesus as a model for facing conflict.   During the month of residence at Vaughan Park, Colin will begin to write a book based on his study of the four gospels. The book will explore what it meant for Jesus to learn obedience through what he suffered: how, when experiencing typical human emotions, he chose to respond constructively in each new circumstance. Colin hopes to produce a book for pastors that will provide fresh light on the person of Jesus, along with a practical framework for growing in wisdom. February at Vaughan Park will be part of a three-month sabbatical, and Colin is looking forward to renewal and refreshment as well as study and writing. He is particularly pleased to be able to spend time in New Zealand, because it is the country where his wife, Rosie, grew up. The two of them will be touring New Zealand together during January 2013.


JUNE - Professor Richard Hartwig

Being an academic is an adventure.   After getting over the first hurdles, you can study, write and often teach whatever you want.   You get paid to read and write books and articles and get rewarded for foreign travel.   What a great gig!   I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend nine years of my life living, studying and teaching in Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Australia—plus shorter periods in the Portuguese Azores, Spain, Turkey and now New Zealand! I studied German and Government as an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University and concentrated on Latin American Politics as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   I worked on a Master's thesis in Argentina and carried out my dissertation research in Colombia.    After teaching at a number of universities in the United States, I moved to Monterrey, Mexico--first as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Monterrey and then as a professor at Monterrey Technological Institute (ITESM).   I remember the shock of getting my first batch of term papers from the students and realizing that I was supposed to correct their Spanish!   In the Fall of 1993, I moved to the safer and more predictable environment of Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). While writing my doctoral thesis, I became a fan of a philosopher of the social sciences named Paul Diesing.    My book Roads to Reason:   Transportation, Administration and Rationality in Colombia is organized around   Diesing's five/six types of rationality.     I continue to use Diesing's framework of analysis in the Technology & Society class I teach at TAMUK.    During my years as an academic gypsy, I taught American Government, Latin American Politics, Public Administration, Public Policy and International Relations.   My newest class is “Drugs, Violence and Politics in Mexico and Colombia”. All American academics want to save the world.   My modest contribution is a plan to reform the United Nations Security Council called the Regional/Economic Proposal (REP).   The proposal originally appeared in an article entitled “Squaring the Circle:   A Regional/Economic Proposal for Reform of the United Nations Security Council”, in the May 2008 issue of Critical Currents, the on-line journal of the Swedish Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.   While at Vaughan Park, I will be writing on this topic and trying to interest the government of New Zealand in the idea.


OCTOBER - The Rev. Canon Mark Pryce

Canon Mark Pryce is Bishop's Adviser for Clergy Continuing Ministerial Development in Birmingham diocese, UK. Mark grew up in Wales and rural Shropshire , and was ordained in Lichfield Cathedral in 1987 , close to Bishop Selwyn's tomb! Before his work in the professional development of clergy Mark served in two inner-urban parishes in the West Midlands, and was for twelve years fellow and Dean of Chapel at Corpus Christi College Cambridge. He has published and taught extensively in the areas of Christian spirituality, gender and poetry, and is currently researching the role of poetry in reflective practice among clergy. His Literary Companion to the Lectionary and Literary Companion for Festivals offer poems to accompany the liturgical cycle of the church, and during his stay he will be continuing to work on poems and creative writing as a way of unfolding Scripture, published in a series co-authored with James Woodward and Paula Gooder: Journeying with Mark, Journeying with Luke, and Journeying with Matthew.


NOVEMBER - Claire Anstice

People's Warden at St Michael and All Angels Christchurch.   Claire is studying spiritual direction with Spiritual Growth Ministries Aotearoa New Zealand.


Dr. Julie Thorpe

Julie received her PhD in History from the University of Adelaide in 2007 and from 2007-2009 held visiting research and teaching positions at the Australian National University and University of Konstanz, Germany; Julie was awarded an ARC Discovery Grant for a study of World War One refugees in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the role of the international community in responding to the empire's displaced populations. She also has an interest in Catholic pilgrimage in Central Europe in the twentieth century. Julie's project explores the role of silence in traumatic histories, drawing on the interdisciplinary work of scholars of pilgrimage, war and memory. The specific focus is an ethnographic collection of textiles embroidered by wartime refugees in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War that were sold to the Austrian Museum for Folk Culture after the war. The objects will be exhibited in Vienna in 2014 as part of the centenary commemorations of the war. Julie's role in working with the museum is to place the collection in its historical context, and to write (or stitch) silence into the history of these lost threads of war. The role of silence in traumatic histories relates more broadly to a liberal tradition that removes religion to the private realm, but allows the return of the sacred into the state through mourning and commemorative practices. Yet there is a specific connection between the sacred and stories of dispossession in the etymological relationship between 'hospitality' and 'hostility'. This connotation of the sacred as something that is untouchable, and associated with both hosting and hating, has resonance with traumatic histories. If silence can be framed in the context of the sacred, and not just the politics of repression and essentialist debates about who has the right to speak, then declaring stories of dispossession sacred by making them accessible in the present through the absences of the past, will also require empathic responses that disrupt and displace conventional narratives about the past.


Dr. Robert Myles

Robert recently completed his PhD in Theology at the University of Auckland, receiving a place on the Dean of Graduate Studies List for excellence in doctoral research. A revised version of his thesis is due to be published in 2014 by Sheffield Phoenix Press, entitled The Homeless Jesus in the Gospel of MatthewRobert's research focuses on the interaction between the Bible and contemporary culture and politics. His current research project,The Bible and Class Struggle, draws on Marxist criticism to investigate the extent to which social class has been engaged by recent configurations of feminist, minority, postcolonial, and ecological approaches to the Bible. During his time at Vaughan Park, he will work on a section dealing with ecological approaches to the Bible in light of class and capitalism. How, for example, is climate change refracted through global capital to accentuate its underlying logics of inequality? While some eco-theologians and biblical scholars have called for a shift from liberation theology's "preferential option for the poor" to a more inclusive "preferential option for the Earth", Robert intends to determine whether this shift ends up displacing the concept of class struggle from its scope of analysis, and the relevance of class to ecological interpretations of the Bible.



Linda Pollock

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.



Russell Smith

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.


Traceyanne Herewini

Traceyanne Herewini is proudly of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, Ngaati Kahungunu, Rangitane, English, Irish,   Scottish and Scandinavian descent. Initially, she worked as a primary teacher in mainstream and Maaori education. Then, she worked in various roles and services, clinically and culturally within the mental health sector. Currently, she is a Facilitator of the Incredible Years (IY) Parenting Programme. Concurrently, she has been a part time Psychology student of Massey University for 17 years. She wishes to thank the Whangaroa Maaori Pastorate Vestry and staff of Massey University who have supported her application to Vaughan Park.   As, she intends to use her time at Vaughan Park starting her Doctorate thesis and weaving her diverse heritage, skills, interests and commitment for personal strength and development. In order to continue working with whaanau (family) who experience complex issues, to provide hope in moving towards whaanau ora (family wellbeing). As well as continuing to make a positive contribution locally, nationally and internationally. This Doctorate study   intends to be an exploration of the cultural responsiveness of the IY programme for Maaori, Aboriginal, Native American, Mexican and Inuit populations who participate in the IY programme. By utilising quantitative and qualitative data collected from these sets IY groups, to honour role of parenting has been acknowledged as one of the most challenging jobs one may face. In particular, consider indigenous and or holistic health principles that can contribute to increasing family wellbeing. Embedding cultural considerations within service delivery is important when working within evolving groups and societies. It is anticipated that this project will provide some useful positive parenting frameworks that work for, by, with and within their own indigenous communities. As well as offering a vehicle of a strengths approach, celebrating similarities and differences of individuals and collectives inclusively. As well as adding to the body of western IY research that exists. Ruia te kakano o te tumanako   ki roto i te maara o te hinengaro. Plant the seed of hope in the garden of the mind.


The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith

The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith describes herself as a theologian practitioner outside the academy. Lynne was ordained in the Methodist Church in New Zealand Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa 30 years ago, and has held parish appointments in Dunedin, Pukekohe, and central Wellington. During this time she has held office as Synod Superintendent and is a past President of the church. Her current appointment is as Superintendent Minister of the Auckland Methodist Central Parish. She is also Tutor in Homiletics and Liturgy for Trinity Methodist Theological College, where she teaches courses in worship and liturgy, finding faith through the arts, and training programmes for worship leaders and lay preachers. Throughout her ministry Lynne has sought to make liturgy that is poetic, contextual, and inclusive. Consequently,she has offered retreats and workshops for a wide range of church and other groups, with a particular emphasis on the written and spoken word and poetic language in liturgy and preaching. In her doctoral thesis, An examination of the impact of the visit of Maude Royden to Aotearoa on those who heard her preach, Lynne examined the use of fiction as a tool for theological reflection, and presented her findings in the form of a novel. Lynne has had a lifelong fascination with words and language and has been writing poetry, fiction, articles and essays since childhood, with her first publication at the age of 10. More recent publications include Sleeping Out and Uncomfortable (The Auckland Methodist Vol 14,No 2, August 2011), The Identity and Character of Wisdom (daily study notes for Words for Today 2012. IBRA), Evening Prayer and Intercessions for Planet Earth (in Gifts With Open Hands. Pilgrim Press 2011) A View from the Top Table (in Talanoa Ripples: Across Borders, Cultures, Disciplines. Ed. Jione Havea. Pasifika@Massey 2010), A Fine and Beautiful Thing (poems) Epworth Books. Wellington. NZ. 1998. Lynne will use the time at Vaughan Park to compile and edit a collection of seasonal liturgical resources for Aotearoa, from invited contributors. The collection is likely to include prayers, litanies, poems, and other resources from social justice and inclusive theological perspectives. The material will be ecumenical in style i.e. not conforming to any particular denominational practice. Alongside this project, Lynne expects to continue to write poetry, and to explore ways in which poetry and other writing forms facilitate theological reflection and spiritual development.Three months in residence at Vaughan Park – what a generous gift and a wonderful way to spend Long Leave. The gentle encouragement of all the staff to let whatever will be to be enabled me to attend to some matters of personal health and wellbeing alongside my stated purpose of writing and research in contemporary liturgy. In spite of the best efforts of the chefs, I earned the dubious distinction of being one of the few scholars to lose rather than gain weight! The comfortable studio provided as much solitude as I needed. The constant stream of interesting guests and visitors to Vaughan Park provided opportunities for fascinating conversations and insights into worlds as diverse as engineering decision making, fashion design, deep sea mineral mining, and peacebuilding in the Solomon Islands. I met up with old friends, and made some new ones. I am indebted to all at Vaughan Park for giving me this opportunity for much needed reflection, refreshment, and the unencumbered time to pursue a personal project of collecting, editing and(hopefully) publishing liturgical material arising from the Aotearoa context. The project continues as a “work in progress”. The refreshment and renewal will sustain me for a long time to come. Thank you to all who made this possible.


APRIL - The Rev. Sylvia 'Akau'ola Tongotongo 

The Rev. Sylvia 'Akau'ola Tongotongois an ordained minister of the Methodist Church of New Zealand. She is currently the Chaplain at Wesley College, the only Methodist Church affiliated Secondary School in New Zealand. Sylvia intends to use her time at Vaughan Park completing her research and writing on the topic: 'The Church Culture of Hospitality and its impact on the wellbeing of New Zealand born Tongans.'   Hearing an increasing societal concern about the negative impact of church practices on young people's educational achievement, health, basic life skills, behaviour and attitude, Sylvia believes it is worth exploring the validity of such claims as well as reclaiming the church culture of hospitality as a treasure for present and future generations. Sylvia's research will be presented in the form of a Thesis as partial fulfilment of her Doctor of Ministry Studies Programme with Melbourne College of Divinity, Australia. It has been a great honour and privilege for me to be in residence for three months at the Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat and Conference Centre, Long Bay, North Shore City.   I am humbled by the whole experience and am grateful to the Director, The Rev. John Fairbrother, all the staff and the Vaughan Park Board of Governance for this opportunity through your scholarship ministry. This is when I find 'thank you' is not enough, for your generosity for me is beyond words. My being at Vaughan Park gave me not only the opportunity of focused study time, personal renewal and an experience of some form of monasticism, but also a chance to witness Vaughan Park's expression of Christian ministry offered through hospitality, worship, awesome food and inspirational conversations. The welcoming hospitality extended to me, the smiling and warm greetings from the staff and my being embraced as one of the community, made me feel at-home right from day one.   I thought I was an 'outsider within' this community – the first from the Methodist Church of New Zealand, and the first Pacific Islander Residential Scholar living in this Anglican community. The reality was, I was accepted, respected and treated equally as one of them. I often shared that this place was both my inspiration and distraction at the same time.   On one hand, I asked myself, how can I not work in a place that is so peaceful and spiritually uplifting? On the other hand, I asked, how can I work when the backyard is the whole beach?   The truth is, every moment in this place is a blessing.


The Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor

The Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor is senior lecturer in the department of theology at Flinders University, South Australia. He teaches in New Testament, and specifically in the gospels and Pauline writings. Michael's particular research angle comes from his interest to intersect archaeology and cultural studies with an appreciation of the early households of Jesus discernible in the pages of the New Testament. This focus has enabled him to work with colleagues and researchers locally and in Turkey to begin a process that would eventually lead to the archaeological interpretation of the site of ancient Colossae, one of the few remaining unexcavated sites linked to the Pauline households and evident in the letter to the Colossians. The other dimension to Michael's teaching , writing and research come out of his current pastoral involvement in the life of one of the larger Catholic communities in Adelaide. As a Catholic priest, he has been responsible for the pastoral care of the Catholic parish of Elizabeth where he worked with a pastoral team dovetailing NT scholarship, insights into early Christian households, and the contemporary need to renew parish life. Both aspects of his teaching and pastoral ministry are evident in his writings which include: The Quest for Home: The Household in Mark's Gospel (2001), Journeying: A Beginner's Guide to the Bible (2005), Journeying with the Christ: An ecumenical resource from the Gospel of Mark (2005, co-authored by Merrill Kitchen), Epaphras: Paul's Educator at Colossae (2008), and About Angels: Companions in our Quest for God (2009). In 2007 Michael was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to education, theology and archaeology. Study Project Michael's focus has been to explore ways that enable the insights of New Testament communities address some of the pertinent pastoral, ministerial and theological issues that have surfaced in recent decades. This focus will shape the two aspects of the study project he will engage while at Vaughan Park. The first concerns an exploration of the various forms of ministerial expressions evident amongst the first generations of Jesus followers. These expressions are especially evident in the Pauline and Gospel communities and are expressed in the activities associated with diakonia (ministry), leitourgia (worship), kerygma (proclamation), didache (teaching) and koinonia (communion).   Several scholars have explored these various ministerial expressions, but none has looked at these in the light of their implications for the growth and mission of NT communities/ households and their relevance for today's faith communities. Such a contemporary exploration is needed, given the recent emphasis in Roman Catholic circles of the pastoral leadership of the baptized in the light of the growing decline in numbers of ordained. This particular study project will buttress this recent emphasis and give NT support for what might appear a new stress. In fact this study remains firmly rooted with the Christian tradition from the earliest years, and has important implications for ecumenical ministerial theology. The second area of interest surrounds the pastoral issues of sexual abuse that many Christian churches are addressing. Michael will focus on the four gospel passion narratives from the perspective of the abuse of Jesus, finding the possibility of hearing these narratives in terms of Jesus' abuse. The intended monograph that will flow out of this will show how these gospel stories can offer fresh insights into our own experience. Such a hermeneutical approach could also present a fresh theology and Christology pertinent to people concerned about this area in their churches.


Donna J. Dinsmore

Donna J. Dinsmore has come from a career in choral music education in the United States to worship facilitation and education at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to earning a Masters of Christian Studies, she served as the worship coordinator for the College, responsible for over 700 different worship events. Donna continues to lead unusually diverse communities, ranging from mainline to free churches in North America and New Zealand. She knows how to pass on the best of a culture's worship and music practices to future generations by giving them the experience and understanding to make the tradition their own. It is this richness of “enlightened cherishing” that Donna brings to Vaughan Park. Donna will be compiling various materials from the graduate courses she has taught in the areas of worship, music and spirituality and integrating them with data from her varied experiences of worship facilitation. Her project, an interactive, multi-voiced book provisionally entitled “Exploring the Aliveness,” will utilize the insights of Canadian Jesuit Bernard Lonergan in exploring the dynamism between God and lovers of God. In addition, Donna will weave together conversation with voices as diverse as Eugene Peterson, Mark Strom, former and present students, and the hundreds of fellow pilgrims who have participated in Worship Matters Conversations with her over the years. Because of her commitment to communal learning, Donna anticipates that connections with friends old and new in New Zealand will both inform this project and hopefully contribute to the continued development of Christian spirituality and worship in New Zealand and beyond.


The Ven. Dr. Ellen Clark-King

Ellen Clark-King is currently the Archdeacon of Burrard and Priest Associate at Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of New Westminster, Vancouver, Canada. She is the author of Theology by Heart: Women, the Church and God (Epworth, 2004) and has a PhD in Feminist Theology/Spirituality. Ellen intends to use her time at Vaughan Park working on a new book, provisionally entitled Hope for Your Fear: A Spiritual Journey into Peace. This will explore the inter-relationship between anxiety and spirituality, both in the lives of individuals and also within congregations. She will look at how, especially in the light of the current ecological crisis, we can live into the biblical calling of ‘do not be afraid.’ Ellen also hopes to find space for her own refreshment and renewal while at Vaughan Park, including making time for a personal retreat. She is delighted to have this opportunity to get to know a beautiful part of the world and to encounter another branch of the Anglican Communion. 


Pat Marsh

Pat Marsh is a Christian Writer from Stafford, UK, and has trained in Retreat Leading, Pastoral Listening, Prayer Ministry, and the Healing Ministry. A well respected retreat leader in the UK, Pat lives by faith and has a passion and a gifting for developing biblically based contemplative meditations that bring scripture alive in fresh ways and enable hurting people to connect their life stories with the healing message of the gospels. She has authored five books in the last six years and won many awards, including the Christian Broadcasting Council’s Gold Award for the Best Christian Poetry Book of 2005. Twice nominated for the International Poet of the Year award, her work has been widely anthologised, used in training materials and broadcast on radio and television. Her current titles are Whispers of Love (Foundery Press, 2003), Silent Strength (Inspire, 2005) and The Gift of a Cross (Inspire, 2005), and she has two other manuscripts in the process of publication. Pat also publishes some of her writing online at With her deep interest and belief in the power of poetry and meditations to engage with the emotions and to lead to healing, Pat will use her time at Vaughan Park to develop contemporary holistic liturgies that facilitate healing and growth within ecumenical retreat groups. As an outcome of the study, she aims to produce two books: a book of liturgies and an accompanying leader’s handbook. As a by-product of her residency, Pat hopes to spend time alongside a Certified Poetry and Journal Facilitator, in order to develop her own skills as a facilitator of healing through the process of writing. 

Interview with Pat Marsh

"Has the centre been up to your expectations? In many ways, yes: in other ways, not quite.  Actually, one of the things I think I am learning is that it's better to travel simply with openness to God, rather than with expectations, which always come from limited viewpoints anyway. I had this image in my head that I would wander along the beautiful beach, return to deep peace and stillness and simply let the words pour out of me.  And, for a variety of reasons, it hasn't happened quite like that.  There has been a far richer variety of people to meet and have conversations with than I could possibly have imagined, and those conversations have enriched and influenced my time here in very positive ways that will, without a doubt, impact my future ministry.  The stillness that I had anticipated has been punctuated by 'Godly encounters' that have seemed to be more important. In other ways, Vaughan Park has far surpassed my expectations.  It's superb facilities, amazing location, wonderful hospitality, caring and friendly staff, and deeply important underpinning prayer are a combination that every retreat leader dreams of.

Would you recommend this centre to others? Wholeheartedly, yes!  The use of 'space' and the sensitive development of this site are true models for how a retreat house can 'be'; offering superb hospitality to secular guests whilst retaining intimacy, privacy and a rhythm of prayer for its more conventional retreat guests.  The two co-exist happily together at Vaughan Park.  These aspects are further enhanced by the high quality of the facilities at Vaughan Park and the attention to detail in the non-intrusive hospitality of the staff.  I will certainly be recommending Vaughan Park to others. Through the unconditional gift of its scholarship programme, Vaughan Park and its team have really modelled Christ to me.  Retreats should come with a health warning though: beware, retreats can change your life!" 

Anglican magazine June 2010


The Rev. Geoff New

The Rev. Geoff New is the minister of Papakura East & Hunua Presbyterian church and has been there since 1997. Geoff is married to Ruth. They have three children, Rebekah, Josiah and Luke. Before ordained ministry, Geoff worked for the Dept of Labour and Housing Corporation in employment and HR. He studied for a Bachelor of Ministries at the Bible College of NZ (now Laidlaw) and then for two years at Knox College (Dunedin) for ordination studies. He served as a Police chaplain for five years in the Counties-Manukau Police district and lectured in preaching at the Bible College of NZ for several years. Geoff’s passion in ministry is preaching and is currently studying for a Doctor of Ministry with preaching as the focus. He has been especially influenced by the writings of Henri Nouwen and Eugene Peterson. He enjoys movies, indoor rowing, silent retreats, connecting with God on a beach and blobbing with his family. Geoff is enrolled in the Australian College of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry programme. His sponsoring college is Laidlaw-Carey Post-graduate School. Having completed the course work, his proposal for the major thesis was approved at the beginning of 2009. In response to contemporary challenges facing preaching, including a longstanding and widespread call for the use of the imagination in preaching – Geoff is exploring the place of two ancient approaches to reading Scripture and praying. These two approaches are lectio divina and Ignatian Gospel meditation. Both approaches invite deep engagement with the Scriptures and reliance on the Spirit. They also stand with the best of historical-grammatical exegesis. As part of the research, a small group of preachers will utilise lectio divina and Ignatian Gospel meditation as a regular part of their preparation for the text at hand. It is hoped that this will enhance a sense of personal authenticity in preaching; a prophetic edge to sermon content; an increased reliance on the work of the Spirit during sermon preparation; and the development of imagination in this ministry. The main potential significance is that preachers might experience a new sense of God’s enablement and creativity in their preaching. The following is an extract from Geoff's list acknowledgments at the front of his completed thesis. Rev John Fairbrother, the board and staff of Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre - your gift of three months residency to study was literally life changing.  The space you created, nurtured and protected was profound.  The discernment and sensitivity accorded to me during my stay was Christlike.  Few things in life exceed expectations - but your scholarship programme is out of this world and a foretaste of heaven!


The Rev. Sarah Harris

Currently, Sarah is a Priest Assistant to the Bishop of Auckland and a fulltime doctoral student with Otago University. While at Vaughan Park, she researched how Luke 19:10 functions in the Third Gospel, and asked why the author has chosen to attach this saying to the Zacchaeus pericope. “Gospel narratives form the heart of who we are as Christians, and I believe that the Third Gospel is particularly relevant to the Western Church.   The Western church needs to learn to read this Gospel in particular with care and attention, as its message will help us transform unjust structures of society and show us how to respond to the needs of others with compassion.   We show remarkable similarities to Theophilus, the Gospel’s original recipient, and we need to heed the call of how we live and worship in light of our privileged position.”   


Dr. Nicola Slee

Distinguished Academic Visitor Dr. Nicola Slee is Research Fellow and Team Leader for the MA in Applied Theological Studies at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK. She is well-known as a feminist theologian and poet, and has authored and edited many articles and books since the early 1980s, including Faith and Feminism: An Introduction to Christian Feminist Theology (DLT, 2003), Women’s Faith Development: Patterns and Processes (Ashgate, 2004), Praying Like a Woman (SPCK, 2004) and The Book of Mary (SPCK, 2007). While at Vaughan Park Nicola worked on two book projects: first, she continued working on a series of poems and prose reflections entitled In Search of the Risen Christa, focused around the figure of the female Christ (a recurring motif in recent feminist theologies); second, Nicola did background research and reading for a text on feminist theology that she has been commissioned to write for the SCM series of Core Texts, with an accompanying Reader. Nicola used the time at Vaughan Park for her own spiritual refreshment and to stand back from her personal and professional life and seek a new perspective to nourish her for the next phase of life and ministry.

Preface from Seeking the Risen CHRISTA
New release, available from I was fortunate enough to be awarded a research scholarship at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, Long Bay, one of the lovely beach suburbs of Auckland.  I owe a very special debt to all the staff at Vaughan Park, and most particularly to John Fairbrother, the Director, and his wife Margaret, for their generous Kiwi hospitality. Vaughan Park is not only a beautiful place to set down for a while, with the beach and parkland right on one's doorstep, but a place of wide and inclusive welcome, of liberality of mind and heart, renewal, healing and vitality, where I was encouraged to relish my freedom and inhabit the space in whatever way was good for me. I was nourished and held by a rhythm of daily prayer and regular eucharistic worship from the New Zealand Prayer Book, as well as by excellent food and free-flowing New Zealand wines, and above all, by the loving friendship I received from the community.  I enjoyed many stimulating conversations about the project - and much more besides - with John and Margaret and others, and had a number of opportunities for trying out some of the poems in this book with the worshipping community. 


Distinguished Academic Visitors

Dr. Heidi Campbell  

Dr. Heidi Campbell is Assistant Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University where she teaches in Media Studies. She has a PhD in Practical Theology and Computer-mediated Communication from the University of Edinburgh-Scotland. Since 1997 she has studied the rise of religion on the internet and what impact new media technologies are having on religious communities. Heidi has written on a variety of topics including Christianity online, new media ethics and religious community’s response to mass media and she is author of Exploring Religious Community Online (Peter Lang, 2005) and co-editor of A Science and Religion Primer (Baker Academic, forthcoming 2009). She is also completing training with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas Formation in Direction (F.I.N.D) School to become a spiritual director. Her time at Vaughan Park will be spent working on a book project on how new media technologies raises important theological and ethical issues focusing how different categories of religious authority are being re-shaped and influenced by use of the Internet, especially within the Anglican tradition.  Specifically she will explore the emergence of the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life, a virtual church online has sought from its beginning to build a relationship with the offline Anglican Church.


Féy Cotter

Féy Cotter has a BMin from the Bible College of New Zealand, and is currently working on her thesis for a Masters of Theology through the Laidlaw-Carey Graduate School. Her area of interest is justice and non-retaliation in Matthew’s gospel. She is actively involved at All Saints Church, Nelson where her husband Murray is an assistant priest. Féy works full time as the Personal Assistant to the bishop and is a member of the Bishop’s Ministry Team in the Anglican Diocese of Nelson. From 1996-2002, she served as missionary with her husband and family in an isolated area of Albania and was involved in Church Planting and discipleship, development of an English Language School and refugee support while home-schooling her four children who are all now adults.


The Ven. Te Waaka Sonny Melbourne

The Ven. Te Waaka Sonny Melbourne is a tutor and Director of Māori Language and Māori Cultural and NZ Church History at Taapapa Rotorua. Sonny will apply his three months at the Centre to complete his doctoral studies, examining Māori spirituality, cultural resurgence and Māori contribution to the values of society and its importance to global awareness of interdependence in stewardship of Creation.


The Rev. Canon Dr. Jim McPherson

Distinguished Academic Visitor

The Rev. Canon Dr. Jim McPherson recently returned to the Diocese of Brisbane after nine years in Sydney Diocese. His study at Vaughan Park will be focussed toward writing a book exploring the conceptual relationships of the Lord's Prayer with the Psalms drawing liturgical and devotional implications for "thoughtful and prayerful Anglicans".


The Rev. Joy MacCormick

The Rev. Joy MacCormick, a spiritual director, from Waiapu has been granted a residency to undertake research in order to assist those who seek a deeper understanding of God, but struggle with the institutional church.


Dr. Ann Gilroy

The Rt. Rev. Bruce Gilberd


Christine Jenkins


The Rev. Dr. Jeff Whittaker