15 July 2021
Laidlaw Winter Sessions 2021
“I loved being in such an inspiring environment”.
“The speakers were all really good”.
“Everything was so well done”.
- Attendee feedback
We were delighted to have a full house at this year’s Winter Sessions, and an appreciative audience! It was an engaging and informative day as Laidlaw faculty addressed some of the issues Christians face in this nation today.
National Principal Dr Roshan Allpress started the day by tracing how Christian institutions and communities have changed, with the western church in the 21st Century facing significant structural breakdowns to the model Christians have built over the last few centuries. He raised some ideas for a way forward, using lessons we can learn from church renewals in the past.
Dr John de Jong spoke on new geopolitical challenges and the role of the church. He used Myanmar as an illustration of a country where aspirations of western style democracy clash with non-western social, cultural and political patterns and values. He noted that our approach to church and mission is profoundly influenced by our own cultural assumptions, and encouraged those present to actively learn from Christians in other cultures.
Laidlaw’s Practical Theologian, Dr Maja Whitaker, explored the topic of conspiracy theories – an interest which arises out of her own pastoral work. She spoke of the real-world consequences to such theories, and suggested ways we can respond, theologically and pastorally.
The issue of identity and how it is defined was discussed by theologian Dr Myk Habets and Head of Counselling Lisa Spriggens. What does identity mean in Christ? How does the church respond in a climate where identity is something young people are encouraged to construct for themselves?
Due to the ill-health of our scheduled speaker, Lorraine Taogaga, we didn’t have the opportunity to hear her story and build a picture of what reconciliation might look like for us as the body of Christ in Aotearoa. A topic for another day!
It was a stimulating day, and the start of an ongoing conversation for many of us as we grapple with how we as Christians respond to the challenges and questions facing our society, our Church, and our world.