Introduction to Lloyd Geering’s final lecture

Today’s event has been arranged by St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society. The purpose of the Trust is to provide learning opportunities for people in Wellington – and beyond – to engage in critiquing and valuing developments in religion, spirituality, arts and sciences, during changing economic and political times.

The Trust operates independently of the church and if you’re not already a member please ask Carmen at the back of the church for a membership form or sign up online at satrs.org.nz/join. We really do need your support to put on events like today’s, both as an active member of the Trust as well as the all important financial support that members provide.

Today we will hear a lecture by Professor Lloyd Geering, the topic of which is ‘The Evolving City’. In a sense, it will be the culmination both of his 2012 series, ‘Evolution, the True Genesis,’ and his 2013 lecture series, ‘From the Big Bang to God’. This lecture, Professor Geering tells us, will be his last one for the Trust. Having offered more than a hundred lectures over the past thirty years, he feels he has done his bit.

I have no doubt that most of you here, today, won’t need me to tell you about Professor Geering. As this event is being recorded, however, and the recording will be available both as a DVD and viewable online through the Trust website at satrs.org.nz, I am going to say a little about Professor Geering for those of you, particularly overseas, who are watching this online or on a DVD.

Born in Rangiora in February 1918, Lloyd Geering embraced Christianity in 1937. He holds honours degrees in Mathematics and Old Testament Studies, and became a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

58 years ago, in 1956, he started teaching. He taught theology in Dunedin and Brisbane before being appointed Foundation Chair of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

Since retiring from Vic thirty years ago in 1984, Lloyd has offered a steady stream of lectures through the St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society, of which he has been the Principal Lecturer and, of course, a founding member. There’s no coincidence I’m sure that the Trust was founded in 1984.

In all these years of teaching and lecturing, he has been a provocative commentator on issues theological, telling us that we must put aside the medieval world and instead allow ourselves to be guided by evidence, and reason. Lloyd Geering is without doubt one of this country’s leading public intellectuals. He is not just New Zealand’s greatest theologian but – more importantly, in my view – our greatest post-theologian.

Sir Lloyd Geering has quite possibly more decorations than Kirkcaldie and Stains. He was made a Companion of the Order of the British Empire in the 1988 new year honours list, and a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 – changed eight years later to Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He also holds New Zealand’s highest honour, having been admitted to the Order of New Zealand in 2007.

These honours are a recognition of a great mind. Please show your appreciation for Professor Lloyd Geering.

Posted on 06/05/2014 by Ramsey Margolis

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