Flourish Conference

18-19 July 2022

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Flourish: The Good News of Science-Engaged Theology

Whether we have thought long and hard about it or not, everyone cares about flourishing. What does it mean to live well? What do the “good news” and the “good life” share in common? At this conference, we pulled from a variety of resources from the Christian tradition and the social sciences to think together on these questions.

The conference was part of a Sir John Templeton research grant and hosted through Carey Baptist College.


Day 1 Conference: Monday 18 July Day 2 Conference: Tueday 19 July
8.45am Registration
9.00am Coffee/Tea/Pastry 9.00am Coffee/Tea/Pastry
9.15am Welcome 9.30am Flourishing and Neurodiversity:
Dr Pamela Ebstyne King* and Dr Joanna Leidenhag
9.30am Flourishing and Human Need:
Dr Christa McKirland
10.20am Religion in NZ since 2009:
Insights from the NZ Attitudes and Values Survey
Dr Joseph Bulbulia
10.20am Let Justice Roll Down:
Dr Andrew Picard and Jordyn Rapana
11.15am Morning Tea
11.15am Morning Tea 11.45am Paper Break out Sessions
11.45am Paper Break out Sessions 1.15pm Lunch
1.15pm Lunch 2.00pm Freedom and Flourishing in Community:
Dr Nicola Hoggard Creegan
2.00pm Women Flourishing in Theological Academy and Church:
Panel with Jordyn Rapana, Maja Whitaker, Joanna Leidenhag
2.45pm Small Group Discussion
2.45pm Accountability and Human Flourishing:
Dr Andrew Torrance
3.20pm Closing Remarks and Acknowledgments
3.40pm Afternoon Tea 3.40pm Afternoon Tea
4.00pm End of Day One 4.00pm End of Conference

*Dr Pamela Ebstyne King will be speaking via Zoom

What attendees thought about the conference

The talks invited me to think broadly and bravely about my humanity, my faith, and the communities I am part of, and how those aspects interact with each other, and build capacity for the kin-dom of God to grow in my own life and the world.

It felt like my sweet spot to get to hear a whole bunch of smart, thoughtful people share their meaningful and valuable research. I love learning, especially about the integration of theology and psychology. So I feel like this particular conference (and paper) was designed specifically for me. The research and the conference has also helped bring me closer to God, which is a huge bonus.

Most “science engaged theology” conferences/talks mostly only talk about natural sciences/evolution. I LOVED the chance to think academically with others about human oriented sciences and theology. It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a long time but have found few places to engage where other people have done more thinking than I have.

International Key Note Speakers

Dr Pamela Ebstyne King

Dr Pamela Ebstyne King*

Pamela Ebstyne King is the Executive Director of the Thrive Center of Human Development and the Peter L. Benson Chair of Applied Developmental Science in the School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

At this conference she spoke about talking on a theology of flourishing for neurodiversity.

Dr Joanna Leidenhag

Dr Joanna Leidenhag

Joanna Leidenhag (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is lecturer in Liberal Arts and Theology at the University of Leeds, UK. She studied at the University of St Andrews and Princeton Theological Seminar, before completing her PhD in Systematic Theology at the University of Edinburgh in 2018.  She serves on Logia International Board of Advisors.

At this conference she spoke about talking on a theology of flourishing for neurodiversity.

Dr Andrew Torrance

Dr Andrew Torrance

Andrew Torrance (PhD, University of Otago) is senior lecturer in theology, School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK. He studied at the University of Otago, NZ completing his PhD in Systematic Theology.

At this conference he spoke about talking on “Accountability and Human Flourishing”.

Local Key Note Speakers

Dr Joseph Bulbulia

Dr Joseph Bulbulia

Joseph Bulbulia (PhD, Princeton University) is a professor of psychology at Victoria University, where he serves as Director of the Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research. Joseph is also a researcher for the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (University of Auckland), a longitudinal study with over 35,000 New Zealanders currently participating.

At this conference he spoke about features of religious stability and change within New Zealanders during the past 12 years.

Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Dr Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Nicola Hoggard Creegan (PHD, Drew University, New Jersey) is a theologian living in Auckland. She is co-director of New Zealand Christians in Science, and the author of Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil (OUP, 2013) and co-editor (with Andrew Shepherd) of Creation and Hope (Wipf & Stock, 2018).

At this conference she spoke about “Freedom and Flourishing in Community”.

Dr Christa McKirland

Dr Christa McKirland

Christa L. McKirland (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is lecturer in systematic theology at Carey Baptist College in Auckland, New Zealand. She is the founder and executive director of Logia International, which seeks to support women across the divinity disciplines for the sake of the academy and the church.

At this conference she spoke about the benefits of looking at basic human needs theory and what light that may shed upon divine to human and human to human interactions.

Dr Andrew Picard

Dr Andrew Picard

Andrew Picard (PhD, University of Otago) is a lecturer and director of the Carey Graduate School in Auckland, New Zealand. Andrew has a passion for justice, and he teaches, researches, publishes, and supervises in systematic theology and public theology to serve the church in its service of the gospel.

At this conference he spoke about “‘Let Justice Roll Down’: Decolonising Theological Education for Human Flourishing”.

Staff_Jordyn Morgan_300x300

Jordyn Rapana

Jordyn Rapana (BApplTheo, Carey Baptist College) is a lecturer at Carey Baptist College. She has over ten years ministry service and experience.  She is fluent in Te Reo Māori. She joined Carey in 2021 where her role is to support and advocate for Māori students to enable them to thrive in their experience and studies at Carey.

At this conference she spoke about “‘Let Justice Roll Down’: Decolonising Theological Education for Human Flourishing”.

Flourish Conference Photos

Check out these photos taken on the second day of the conference!

“At Carey we believe that the God of mission is at work in the world by the Spirit to renew people and places in Christ. Our calling is to equip Christian leaders with the convictions, competencies, and capacity to participate in that mission, bringing gospel renewal in churches and communities across Aotearoa and around the world.”

– John Tucker, Principal