Research Colloquium – 5th June

Dear All,

The next Research Colloquium will be held this Friday 5 June by Zoom starting at 1.30pm. The link to the Zoom meeting is: If there are any questions or concerns regarding the connection, please feel free to contact Mike Mawson on We are not sure of the arrangements for the following Research Colloquium scheduled for 7 August. It is hoped that we might be able to hold that in person at UTC but we will advise closer to the date.

TimePresenterPresentation TypeTitle
1.30pm – 2.15pmDr Geoff Troughton (Victoria University of Wellington)Guest PresentationMethodist Mission and the Embrace of Colonialism in Mid-Nineteenth Century New Zealand
2.15pm – 3.00pmRev Dr Ockert MeyerFaculty PresentationPreaching the Truth and the truth of Preaching: Jewish lessons for Christian Preaching
3.00pm – 3.45pmMr John BruntonPhD PresentationDo Christian Beliefs Influence the Actions of Christians in their Occupation?

Dr Geoff Troughton                                                                        Methodist Mission and the Embrace of Colonialism in Mid-Nineteenth Century New Zealand

The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMS) mission to New Zealand was established in 1822. Together with the much larger Church Missionary Society (CMS), which arrived nearly a decade earlier, it lent a decidedly evangelical character to early mission among New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people prior in 1838. Like the CMS, WMS missionaries promoted pacifistic Christianity and were both cautious and deeply implicated in the processes of British annexation of New Zealand and subsequent colonization. This paper analyses the various factors that led Methodists to abandon this caution and effectively embrace colonialism from the late 1850s, with catastrophic consequences for their Church’s mission among Māori.

Rev Dr Ockert Meyer                                                                     Preaching the Truth and the truth of Preaching: Jewish lessons for Christian Preaching

In colloquial language people often refer to the truth as ‘plain and simple’. There is little doubt that in a so-called ‘post-truth world’ truth has become rather obscured and complicated. At the heart of this era of fake news lies the simple disconnect between what is claimed and what is real, between truth and reality.

However, for the church and for the preacher in particular, perhaps a more pressing problem is the nebulous nature of the word itself. Truth has not only become disconnected from reality but its meaning has also become adrift from its theological and biblical mooring.

In and from this context three questions are raised: questions about the preaching of the truth, the role of the truth-preacher and about the truth of preaching itself.

In the Jewish tradition the ancient rabbis have already pointed out that the Hebrew word for truth (emet) contains three letters, respectively the first, middle and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This led the rabbis to say that truth spans all of reality.          

There are few other (Jewish or other) philosophers that have thought so deeply and profoundly about the relation of truth and reality than Franz Rosenzweig in his opus magnum, Der Stern der Erlösung. Together with some of his contemporaries (Martin Buber among others) they direct us to an understanding of truth and reality that is deeply rooted in the Torah. They show us that the real disconnect is between truth as an idea and truth as an experience or encounter, that truth is not abstract and general, but concrete and particular. Therefore Rosenzweig begins his quest for truth with reality, taking us on a journey through life and it is here, in reality, where truth is finally, not so much discovered, but revealed.

Finally Rosenzweig teaches us that preaching does not supply an apology for the truth, but guides both preacher and congregation in their encounter with one another, with God in and through reality, to ‘confirm’ the truth of the Gospel: in the contingencies of life.

Mr John Brunton                                                                              Do Christian Beliefs Influence the Actions of Christians in their Occupation?                          

Some Christians state that their beliefs are private and do not influence their decisions and how they act in their occupation. For others, there is a close alignment between their beliefs and their vocation. This presentation examines whether the Christian faith of town planners influences their actions and decisions. The findings of a survey of Christian planners will be delivered. The survey found Christian beliefs influence the decisions of a majority of participants when they experience conflict between their beliefs and a planning issue. Most consider spirituality should be recognised in planning processes, even though governments insist planning is secular.

HDR Students are reminded that their participation in the Research Colloquiums is a COMPULSORY component of their candidature and that apologies should be sent to me at

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