WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Exploring contemporary theology


Margaret and Bill Orange

12 August 2008

XploratioNZ is a small group of ecumenical and interfaith Wairarapa people who meet on a regular basis for study, discussion and occasional liturgical worship. Members include Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baha’is and some who claim no particular denominational allegiance.

The group began on an informal basis at St Luke’s Union Church in Masterton and was led by Professor Jim Veitch, lecturer in religious studies at Victoria University, and the late Rev John Currie.

Theological discussion and study of the history of the bible with emphasis on the gospels attracted a group of about 40 members.

In 2006 it was decided to establish a more formal arrangement. A constitution was drawn up and the name changed to XploratioNZ. The group now meets regularly on most Sunday afternoons for 1½ hours. Occasional social events are held throughout the year and many new friendships have been made.

The committee has been instrumental in hosting visits from Lloyd Geering and Bishop John Spong and have plans to invite other speakers to the Wairarapa who are renowned for their approach to modern Christianity and to spirituality. Representatives of non-Christian faiths have shared something of their background and beliefs and have been very well received. Recently, several members enjoyed participating in talks at St Mary’s, Carterton, by Fr Jim Dooley SM on “Living Our Truth.”

Emphasis this year is on environmental and conservationist issues and our responsibility to our planet and Creation. The group has listened to local speakers on these subjects and has joined in lively discussion and debate. Currently, a programme called “Living the Questions,” using DVDs and written material for discussion is providing thought-provoking sessions.

Although the XploratioNZ Committee is led by St Luke’s Union Church minister, Rev Geraldine Coats, and meets in the prayer room at St Luke’s Church, it is thoroughly ecumenical. This provides a relaxed and informal atmosphere for those who are from other faiths or from no particular faith. The common bond is a desire to grow in knowledge and spirituality in the framework of a liberal, tolerant and stimulating group of ordinary New Zealanders who are concerned about their own faith and the future of the church in the 21st century.

For more details, contact Daphne Pratt, c/- St Luke’s Union Church, P O Box 789 Masterton.