Scholars take to catwalk in inaugural Cathedral event

Scholars take to catwalk in inaugural Cathedral event

On the 18th of August, Wellington Cathedral of St Paul will host its inaugural Morph event – a TED-style symposium on theology designed for everyone in the Diocese. Rev Dr Joe McGarry, Cathedral Deacon, says that the Cathedral is a place of worship, hospitality and education – and it’s this role in education through which Joe hopes to serve the Diocese by hosting an event focussed on the discipleship of the mind.  Scholars from all over New Zealand will join Joe to teach on topics from church history, to missiology, to theology – and it’s set to be a fun affair.  It just so happens that the Cathedral’s sustainable fashion show is the night after, so Morph will use the same catwalk set up.  Joe tells us: “over this past season, I often asked myself, ‘How can our teachers serve our church? And how can we have fun doing it?’ We have joined with that team to take advantage of their setup in order to see the kind of conversation we’d be able to have in that space. I wanted the event to be something done from within the church, and done in a way that shows theology is anything but boring.”

Joe developed the event for two reasons. Firstly, because there is a “widespread misperception that theology isn’t practical, or – even worse – isn’t even valuable because it gets in the way of doing ‘real’ ministry. Somehow, we can believe that minds shaped after God not only lose touch with the world of soccer coaching, dirty nappies, and 40 hour work weeks that turn into 50, but actually get in the way of ministry there.”  He says that he wanted to debunk those myths, and reveal how theology strengthens the church in very practical ways.  “At the same time, I wanted to create a space so that those who have been theologically formed can contribute to the life of our church. John Calvin emphasised how essential teachers are for a healthy church. I wanted to build a space for the teachers to serve our diocesan family.”

The event’s name, Morph, comes from Romans 12:2 which says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Joe tells us that the Greek root translated as “transformed” is the same root of the English word “metamorphosis,” so it was apt to use “Morph” to highlight the relationship between changing the way we think about God and changing the way we live faithfully to God.

The evening’s speakers include Dr Rosemary Dewerse, Dr John Dennison, Dr Bruce Hamill, Dr Kate Dugdale, Dr Derek Woodard–Lehman, and Rev Dr Joe McGarry.  It will run on Friday 18 August, from 7 – 9 pm, with free admission. For further information, please email

More about the event