Our theme for 2014 is

Choices 2014 resized

Life is full of choices: politicians, partners, work ... everything! Are we the sum of our choices? How do we make wise choices?


Coming up



***  DECEMBER  ***

Tuesday 2 December, 12:15 at St Andrew's

Islamic Sacred Art

Chris Longhurst, previously Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Vatican, introduces us to the richness of Islamic sacred art.

Dr Chris LonghurstDr. Christopher Longhurst originally hails from Napier, Hawke’s Bay. For the past two years he has been living and working in Morocco as Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Islamic Studies Program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. He also works as a docent (operatore didattico) at the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy, leading tours, lecturing, and conducting seminars. His field of study is theological aesthetics or the interdisciplinary study of religion and art. Besides pushing the boundaries of what is considered “sacred pictorial art” by presenting abstract expressionist artworks as a theological locus, Longhurst’s secondary research interest explores manifestations of beauty in Islam. His work in this field has produced several publications among which are “Mihrab: Symbol of Unity and Masterpiece of Islamic Art and Architecture” (Lonaard, 2013), “Theology of a Mosque: The Sacred Inspiring Form, Function and Design in Islamic Architecture,” (Lonaard, 2012), and “Beautiful Holiness of Kalām Allāh: On the Transmission of the Divine Word in Islam through Art” (Encounter, PISAI, 2011). Longhurst also writes on religion and art for L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Holding a Ph.D. in Theology from the Angelicum, Rome, 2009, his talk today: Sacred Art in Islam: Meaning and Language, looks at Islām’s aesthetic theory and how Islām manifests itself through sounds and letters based on Qur’ānic injunctions.


Full bio from Al Akhawayn

An Islāmic aesthetic‪
Islāmic abstraction, tawḥīd and the arabesque
Recitation and calligraphy
The question of images
Common language of Islamic art

Tuesday 9 December, 12:15 at St Andrew's

Samual Marsden: Our Earliest 'Religion and Society'

Richard RandersonThe Rt Rev Richard Randerson, In Conversation with Noel Cheer, will discuss the event of Christmas Day 1814 in which Bishop Samuel Marsden preached to Maori in Northland. He wrote in his journal it being Christmas Day, I preached from the second chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, and tenth verse: 'Behold! I bring you glad tidings of great joy."