November 10 & 12, 2015, 12:15 – 1:00 p.m. – Michelangelo’s Last Judgment and Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura – each followed by 20 mins. Q&A

Dr Christopher Evan Longhurst

The next two SATRS lectures look again at the extraordinary encounter between art and religion.

Lecture 1 (10 November 2015)—WHEN HEAVEN MEETS HELL IN ART AND HISTORY examines Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, and Lecture 2 (12 November 2015)—ON THE UNITY OF BEING explores Raphael’s super-synthesis in the Stanza della Segnatura.


Reflections on Michelangelo’s Last Judgment

St. Andrew’s on The Terrace - 10 November 2015 12:15pm plus 20 mins for Q & A

Sistine Chapel The Last Judgement

This lecture reflects on the artistic and historical significances of the world’s most famous depiction of The Last Judgment painted on the Sistine Chapel’s altar wall by Michelangelo between 1536 and 1541. As speaker Dr Longhurst unravels the eschatological vision of the artist’s intensely personal work, we will discover how Christian history and the contemporary situation came together to inspire this unique version of the end of the world. We will see how the Florentine master has rendered one of the most complex religious subjects in his distinctive humanistic manner at a time when Rome was in turmoil.


Subject Matter

  • Article Seven of The Apostles Creed: “From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
  • Matthew 25:31-46—The Sheep and the Goats
  • Theodicy and Eschatology
  • Apocalypse and Parousia
  • The Myth of Er


  • Mannerism and the end of the Renaissance
  • Bi-dimensional sculpture
  • The stimulus of Classicism
  • Evaluation and critical response: Nudity “[fit] for the public baths and taverns”


  • The “why” this fresco was painted
  • Reformation and Pontificate of Clement VIII (1523-34)
  • Catholic Counter-Reformation
  • Copernican Heliocentricity


Raphael’s Super-Synthesis in Stanza della Segnatura

St. Andrew’s on The Terrace - 12 November 2015 12:15pm plus 20 minutes for Q & A

Raphaels Stanza della Segnatura

This lecture looks at Raphael’s iconographic programme which synthesizes the qualities of being true, good, and beautiful, portrayed in scenes representing Theology and Philosophy, Jurisprudence and Art. Dr Longhurst explains the rich ontological content on each wall along with the associated allegorical figures in the roundels overhead and the rectangular fields connecting them. The entire ensemble will be seen to represent “the unity of being” in a quest for knowledge and goodness through the arts and sciences.


Disputation over the Most Holy Sacrament

  • Supernatural Truth illustrated in the Disputation of the Most Holy Sacrament (Theology)

School of Athens

  • Rational Truth illustrated in the School of Athens (Philosophy).

Cardinal and Theological Virtues and the Law

  • Goodness expressed in the Cardinal and Theological Virtues, and in Church Law and Civil Law (Jurisprudence).


  • Beauty represented in the Parnassus with Apollo and the Muses (Art).


  • Allegorical figures in the ceiling roundels represent the virtue overruling each branch of knowledge, while scenes in the adjacent rectangular fields connect those branches of knowledge.



October 2015


Friday Lunchtime 12:15 - 1:00 pm, 23rd October,   St Andrew's on The Terrace

Saying 'Yes!' to life: being human together

Where should we take advice on how to live from? What should I aspire to become? What would count as a fulfilling and dignified life? What kind of community is suitable for both human and spiritual growth? Come and hear Australian secular Buddhist teacher Winton Higgins in conversation with Noel Cheer as they discuss what it means to be human and in community with others.

Winton Higgins began meditating and practising the dharma in 1987. He took up teaching (mainly insight) meditation in 1995, in city classes and in silent residential retreats in rural venues in Australia. Since that time Winton's meditation teaching has developed towards non-formulaic insight practice based on the Buddha's original teachings, while he inclines towards a secular approach to Buddhism. He fosters interest in the original teachings and their affinity with modern streams of thought and progressive social commitments. While in Wellington, Winton will also be running a weekend workshop, information on which can be found HERE

Noel-Cheer.pngWinton Higgins


Public Good Seminar Banner graphic

Conference: Information, Ethics and the Public Good

Mini-Conference at St Andrews on the Terrace – Conference Friday 9 /Saturday 10 October

Save the date for a fascinating, involving conference and workshop. You can book and pay for the conference using Eventbrite registration Eventbrite - Information, ethics and the public good. Who can we trust?

At last year’s conference Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good participants identified the lack of access to good quality information to support our role as citizens to be a major issue impacting democracy. This year’s conference is intended to identify what we as citizens can do to improve that situation. The conference is a joint effort of the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good

How can we get better access to government information?

While a lot concern was focussed on the failings of the news media in NZ, other issues included problems for us to take part as citizens using government information. While services like Parliamentary Services, Stats NZ and the National Library provide excellent public services other parts of the public sector are not working so well. Trade deals that will have incredible impacts on our sovereignty are being negotiated in secret. The Official Information Act (OIA) service is open to abuse. In other instances information that used to be collected has been cut or is missing. Often the public are poorly equipped to use the information that is available for citizenship because of confusing or late presentation.

How can we improve the NZ media landscape?

Our NZ media appears to be selling us short. Apart from Radio New Zealand there is a lack of sector expertise in journalism and much of the coverage is reactive infotainment, press releases that are topped and tailed with journalistic opinion & comment often reporting on trivia rather than investigation and reportage. The opportunity for broadcasting and newspaper standards to be modernised was passed up by the government in favour of cosmetic changes that are an unsatisfactory cludge that does not hold media owners to account. There is no minimum standard for our broadcasters to meet whether private or government owned and, given that the news publishing models are acknowledged by all parties to be broken, no solution in sight for funding public good news and journalism outside Radio New Zealand, Maori TV and Parliament TV. Some huge issues get little coverage.

If you would you like the opportunity to participate in this discussion save the dates and follow on Twitter, our RSS feed, Facebook page or email contact list to hear how the conference is shaping up. We’ll have news about confirmed speakers shortly.

Where St Andrews on the Terrace

When October 9 7.00 – 9.30 pm (free) & 10 October 9.00am – 4.30 pm

$40.00 waged and concessions

Eventbrite - Information, ethics and the public good. Who can we trust?



September 2015

8, 10, 15 & 17 12:15 - 1pm at St Andrew's on The Terrace

"Reformation, Resurrection, Eternity, Destiny" - The Articles by Lloyd Geering that sparked the 1969 "Heresy" trial.

Format: Lloyd Geering will read one of the articles listed (about 25 minutes) then Noel Cheer will conduct a 20 minute interview with Lloyd, teasing out some of the ideas in the lecture.

The articles:Lloyd-Geering.jpg

1) Is a New Reformation Possible? Published in Outlook (The Presbyterian weekly) on 25 September 1965 to mark Reformation Sunday 31 October 1965.

2) What does the Resurrection mean? Published in Outlook 2/4/1966 (also appears in Wrestling with God as Appendix one.

3) The Eternity in Man;s Mind was delivered at the Inaugural Service of the Victoria University of Wellington 12/3/1967. (also appears in Wrestling with God as Appendix 2).  This address included the inflammatory statement "Man has no immortal soul"

4) Humankind's Ultimate Destiny was an address to Students given at the University of Canterbury, on April 24, 1967.  It appears in the small book A Trial for Heresy published by the Presbyterian Church in 1968.

Publication:  The Magazine of the Westar Institute "The Fourth R" will reprint the four articles in its next issue.  They will be on sale at St Andrew's by the end of the the series of lunchtime events.

August 2015

18 August, 12:15 pm, St Andrew's on The Terrace

Accounting's role in poverty, ecological and financial crisis: a spiritual reflection - Dr Pala Molisa

"We live today in a world that is beset by multiple, cascading forms of social and ecological crises from child poverty and deepening inequality to global financial crises and catastrophic climate change. In such a context, the challenge we collectively face if we're to address these crises is to confront all the ways in which our current way of life, our social and economic systems, are producing and deepening these crises. Given the depth of crises, all social practices, all fields, all disciplines, will need to be honestly scrutinized, and we will need to make use of all the resources our knowledge traditions provide for insight and inspiration .
In this lecture, I will argue that accounting is one such practice that ought to be receiving more critical attention than is currently the case for its role perpetuating and exacerbating these crises. And I would also argue that an important way of critiquing accounting, and any other social practice, is by using the insights from our spiritual traditions which historically have been the cultural repositories of humanity's collective wisdom.
Accounting is typically portrayed as technical, apolitical reporting practice that serves "the public interest" by rendering organizations more transparent by objectively portraying the economic facts of business activity. If viewed through a more critical and spiritual lens, however, accounting is much more than that. Not only is it a politically structured social practice that is a central driver of many of the social and ecological problems that we face today, but it is also imbued with those values that are at the heart of humanity's spiritual crisis."

Pala MolisaDr Pala Molisa is an accounting academic who lectures at Victoria University Business School's School of Accounting and Commercial Law. His research concerns center on the role of accounting in facilitating political-economic processes that produce the class-, race- and gender-based inequalities and ecologically destructive consequences that we collectively face today.




July 2015

21 & 28 Art Lectures

The new St Peter's Basilica Complex, Rome 1506 -1667
What the human spirit is capable of achieving!

by Dr Christopher Evan Longhurst

St Peters BasilicaSt. Peter’s Basilica, Rome – “new”?  In fact one might say “ever new.” This two-part lecture explores the sixteenth century High Renaissance basilica, its construction, art and architecture, along with its Baroque piazza and subterranean infrastructure. The lectures present this complex as new not only insofar as the present building replaced the old fourth century basilica of Constantine the Great, or because its architects are considered by Romans as “modern” amidst the history of their ancient city, but also because of its revered commitment to new “epiphanies” of beauty in modern times.

From the High Renaissance to the High Baroque; from Julius II (r.1503-13) to Alexander VII (r.1655-67); from Bramante’s classic floor plan to Michelangelo’s colossal dome, from Maderno’s imposing facade to Bernini’s captivating piazza, from imperial Roman architecture to modern abstract sculpture, these lectures unfold the history, art and architecture of the present-day St. Peter’s basilica complex as tribute to what constitutes a spiritual, cultural, and political coalition, sometimes peaceful, other times turbulent, between rival popes and artists who produced, arguably, the greatest human achievement ever—Basilica Sancti Petri in Urbe.

A must for connoisseurs of fine culture, art history, religion and the arts, or anyone who has visited or wants to visit this remarkable, unique and influential site.

Click HERE to explore some of the basilica's features and the floor plan.

JUNE 2015

Sunday June 14th and Tuesday June 16th

Radical Religion: John Macfarlane and the Politics of Advocacy in Mission.
Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Moderator Te Aka Puaho (Maori Synod) will give the reflection at St Andrews on Sunday 14th (10am service) and a lecture on Tuesday 16th at 12.15pm to mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of St Andrews Presbyterian Church.

Rev John MacfarlaneThe Rev John Macfarlane arrived at Petone on 20th Feb 1840, on the Bengal Merchant,bringing with him the founding members of what would become St Andrew's in Wellington. The terms of his appointment from the Church of Scotland were originally to minister to the Scottish settlers in Wellingtonbut by his own authority he extended these to include developing a mission to Maori saying in a letter to the Church of Scotland that "I have not limited my ministrations to any class or denomination of people".


May 2015

All are invited to a service in the year of the 60th anniversary of the NZ Presbyterian Church’s decision to ordain women as elders and the 50th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman Minister, Rev Margaret Reid Martin in St Andrew’s on The Terrace, May 1965. This Service to celebrate women’s ministry of all kinds will be held in St Andrew’s on The Terrace at 2.30pm, Sunday May 17th, 2015.
Light refreshments will follow in the Hall at 4pm where there will be time to greet each other and tell our stories. Please RSVP to or PO Box 5032 Wellington

In the week prior, two St Andrew’s Trust Lectures will mark the milestones -  one entitled “What did Leonardo and Michelangelo really think of women? - Renaissance pictorial radicalism acclaims the feminine.  (Dr Chris Longhurst)12.15pm Tuesday May 12th and one looking critically at ordination of women ministers. “Women ministers?: Religion Licenses The Feminine” (Rev Dr Susan Jones) 12.15pm Thursday May 14th
both at St Andrew’s on The Terrace.

C. E. Longhurst webDr Christopher Longhurst, previously Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Vatican, introduces us to the richness of some of the Vatican Art.  Dr. 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 worked 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.


Rev Dr Susan JonesAs minister at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Rev Dr Susan Jones is well placed to speak on the intersection of The Feminine and ordination. First, she will present historical background to the ordination in St Andrew’s 50 years ago this month of Rev Margaret Reid Martin, the first New Zealand Presbyterian woman minister. She will introduce research which analyses the symbolic nature of women’s ordination and leadership in institutions like church. She will also employ dualisms to explore why The Feminine is not valued in church and society and speculate as to how that might change.



 April 28 & 30, 12:15 - 1pm - The Sistine Chapel: Divine and Human interaction in Art History's Crowning Glory

Dr Christopher Evan Longhurst


These two SATRS presentations comprise a sequential talk which takes us back inside the Sistine Chapel first to look in-depth at Michelangelo’s frescos—Creation, Last Judgment, and prophetic figures, and then again to explore the biblical narratives on the Chapel’s side walls.


Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Part One (April 28) focuses on Michelangelo’s masterworks: the ceiling fresco—the “nec plus ultra” of art history—that which could never be equalled, and the Chapel’s altar wall—an epic depiction revealing his version of the Last Judgment. At the ceiling we learn about how the Renaissance master gives new meaning to the biblical creation story, and why he synthesises Jewish and Pagan prophesies in his gigantic images of Israel’s Prophets and the Classical World’s Sibyls. At the altar wall we discover how he cunningly unfolds an apocalyptic vision portraying the situation in which Rome found itself at the time.

1e. Moses and the Curse of Korah Botticelli

Part Two (April 30) looks at the frescos on the chapel’s side walls, a parallel series by masters Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio Pietro Perugino, Cosimo Rosselli, and Luca Signorelli depicting biblical stories in the life of Moses and the life of Jesus. While absorbing the theological and artistic details of each fresco, we learn how these paintings harmonise Jewish and Christian salvation history images, and why the artists trap biblical themes in contemporary situations thereby achieving the essence of all great pictorial artwork—timelessness.
Both talks will capture the stylistic homogeneity of the entire Chapel and reveal how it all contributes to a clear message regarding the authority of the Pope over the Church, no doubt a result of the fact that the power of the papacy was constantly being questioned at the time.

 For in-depth panoramic pictures follow this link


March 3, 12:15 in the Church at St. Andrew's on The Terrace.


David RutherfordMr David Rutherford, Chief Human Rights Commissioner will be holding an in-depth conversation on Free Speech.

The recent massacre of staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has reminded us of the wide range of standards applied to the question of how free can free speech be, especially in the context of satire.

In an attempt to offer a balanced view, we have invited our Chief Human Rights commissioner, David Rutherford, to clarify for us the standards required by the law in New Zealand.

The Human Rights Commissioner helps New Zealanders to know and realise the human rights of themselves and others. The first of its two main functions is to advocate and promote respect for human rights, of which freedom of expression is commonly seen to be one. The second function is to encourage harmonious relations between diverse people in New Zealand society.

Having established the New Zealand position, the Conversation will look at overseas conditions which include recent tragic events and to ask whether there can be reconciliation between human rights in general and free speech in particular.

Noel-Cheer.pngThe interviewer, Noel Cheer, is a long-term member of the Board of The St Andrew's Trust for the study of Religion and Society. He has recently completed a seven-year series of half-hour interviews on Auckland's Triangle Television. For enquiries about this event call him on 0274 483 805




March 10, 12:15 in the church at St Andrew's on The Terrace.

THEOLOGY IN PAINTING: Illustrated walk through and theology behind the Vatican's master artworks. Featuring Sistine Chapel, Stanze di Raffaello and Raphael's Transfiguration.

Dr Chris LonghurstDr Christopher Longhurst, works as a lecturer (operatore didattico) at the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy, leading tours, lecturing, and conducting seminars. He will introduce us to the richness of some of the Vatican's art.

Dr. 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. His field of study is theological aesthetics or the interdisciplinary study of religion and art.