St John’s in the City has recognised the significant opportunities to share the Gospel of Christ in New Zealand by partnering with the University of Otago to foster critical theological engagement.
The Otago Lectureship is an extension of the University’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues and will interact with various networks in Wellington. It is based at St John’s with office and teaching space on site.
Derek has come most recently from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics. He received his PhD in 2014 from Princeton Theology Seminary on ‘Freedom and Authority: The Ethics of Revelation in Karl Barth’. Derek has experience across a decade of teaching undergraduates, seminarians, and doctoral students at Messiah College, Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Lutheran Theological College. He has had leadership experience in academic administration and teaching.
We support Derek in exploring the many and varied ways Christian theology can engage New Zealanders and the context we live in. This vision began ten years ago and has been become an important and exciting part of St John’s mission, as well as a credible Christian witness in a context increasingly devoid of meaningful faith perspectives. We hope you will support this vision into the future as we see what God will do with the opportunities we are pioneering.
St John’s in the City has partnered with universities for over a decade, recognising the possibilities an academic theological focus can contribute to society. This intentional approach enriches the church and wider community, and was something we wanted to continue to be committed to. In 2015, the Outreach Committee brought a recommendation to the St John’s Session to pursue a partnership with the University of Otago. They have a substantial Theology and Religious Studies programme, and are very interested in having a lecturer based in Wellington.
As well as strengthening theological teaching and expanding the availability for theological study in Wellington, a position based here would provide opportunities to further the work of The Centre of Theology and Public Issues.
The Centre of Theology and Public Issues was founded in 2009 and is the first research centre in New Zealand to examine political, social and economic issues from a theological perspective. The university of Otago wanted to base some of its activity in Wellington – as the seat of government and a city with vibrant Christian networks and public figures.
A partnership between the University and St John’s will make this happen. St John’s will:
Additional financial support has been secured from third-party sources, which allows a full-time lectureship position to be established for an initial three-year period. Numerous applications were received from within New Zealand and from overseas. St John’s was represented on the appointment panel and took part in a robust appointment process. This resulted in choosing Derek Woodard-Lehman as the Lecturer.
For more information, please contact Rev Allister Lane