Conference 2017 Speakers

We are privileged to have exceptional speakers joining us for our upcoming conference, Beside Still Waters.

Judge Andrew BecroftJudge Andrew Becroft

New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner and previous Principal Youth Court Judge

Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed the Children’s Commissioner for New Zealand for a two year period from June 2016. Prior to that he was the Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand from 2001 to 2016; and a District Court Judge from 1996. 

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Andrew was educated in Wellington and graduated from Auckland University in 1981. He practised in Auckland until 1986 when he then assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre and worked there until 1993. He then worked as a criminal barrister in Otahuhu, South Auckland until his appointment to the District Court bench, sitting in Whanganui, from 1996. 

Andrew was involved on the Council of both the Auckland the New Zealand Law Societies. He is the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc., which assists those with various forms of speech impediment, and is the Chairperson of the Board of the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (NZ) Inc. 

He is married to Philippa, also a lawyer and learning adviser at Victoria University. They have three children, aged 21 (Sam), 20 (Anna) and 16 (Isaac). Andrew is a keen sports watcher, (obsessive Hurricanes and Black Caps Fan) but he confesses, only an average (but enthusiastic) participant. 

As Principal Youth Court Judge he was strongly committed to a specialist approach to dealing with youth and child offenders, and brings to the Commissioners’ role a particular focus on teenagers and adolescent development generally. Andrew is both privileged and challenged to be the advocate for New Zealand’s 1.12 million under 18-year-olds – nearly 25% of New Zealand’s population. 

Topic: Living, working and serving in a pluralistic society: some reflections on the life of Daniel

The challenge of living as Christians with busy professional lives in a pluralistic community is constantly demanding and difficult, for doctors (and lawyers). But it is not a new one. The same challenges and dilemmas faced those who followed God at least 2,500 years ago. Andrew will reflect on those enduring challenges based on Daniel – chapters five and six – focusing on some pivotal years at the end of Daniel’s life. Are there lessons in his example for us in the 21st century that we can reflect on together? How might these lessons refresh us in God’s service? Might they even provide a basis for us to rejoice as, with God’s help and guidance, we put these lessons into practice in our local communities?

Di WoodsChaplain Di Woods

Chaplain for the Royal New Zealand Airforce

Di currently finds herself living in Wellington serving as an Air Force Chaplain with New Zealand Defence. Originally from the United Kingdom, she fell in love with Hawkes Bay on her overseas experience and ended up training for ministry at the Bible College of New Zealand, as it was back then. She has moved between parish ministry and defence chaplaincy over the years, visiting Tauranga, Taradale and Remuera with the former, and East Timor and Crete with the latter. Di is also a spiritual director and an aged hockey player.

Di will lead a series of devotions focusing on what it can mean to reflect, rejoice and refresh.

Steve TrippDr Steve Tripp

Missionary, activist and medical teaching fellow

Steve works as a medical teaching fellow at the Otago Medical School. After graduating from Otago in 2002 Steve worked as a house surgeon and general practice locum before moving to Cambodia with his family in early 2007 where they worked with Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor in health and community development. In 2010 Steve helped set up Justees, a social enterprise printing justice t-shirts, which aimed to support teenage boys in urban poor communities to continue their education and learn life skills. From 2011 to 2013 Steve was the Servants Cambodia team leader and also ran the Christians for Social Justice group in Phnom Penh that sought to empower Christians in social and environmental activism while also supporting activists from human rights NGOs and grassroots associations. During this time Steve was active as a human rights monitor supporting groups involved in land rights and garment factory workers rights. He also taught active nonviolence and nonviolent communication.

Through his work in activism and nonviolence Steve became interested in the deep human need for shalom, a state of wholistic peace in which our faith is integrated with our daily lives, in work and play. With this in mind Steve has trained as a Spiritual Director with a special interest in finding God in activism.

Since returning to New Zealand at the end of 2013 Steve has lived in Dunedin and is active in community groups, in particular, the Valley Project, a community led development project aiming to build community and care for the local environment of North East Valley, Dunedin.

Steve has also taken up trail running and enjoys running up mountains while listening to thoughtful podcasts in his spare time. He’s married to Wendy, a counsellor, and has two children, Isaac (22) and Niam (16).

Topic: Finding God in the workplace

We live busy lives. Shift work, long hours, feelings of powerlessness and failure, relentless paperwork and unrealistic expectations are common in our profession. It can be easy to fall into a dualistic trap of seeing God out there, outside of the workplace, but not in here. However, realistically we don’t have the time or energy for a dualistic worldview. To be consistent and in harmony in our whole life and with the biblical worldview we need to integrate our faith with our lives and our work. We need to experience and know God in the midst of our busyness and stress not just as an alternative to it.

In this talk Steve will discuss a biblical theology of work as God intended it. Drawing from his experience in medicine, community development and human rights he will go on to show ways that this understanding can help us to find opportunities to know and experience God in our work place - in the highs and the lows.

Steve WithingtonDr Steve Withington

Consultant physician with an interest in infectious diseases, Rural Hospital Specialist, pastor and missionary

Steve hails from Christchurch, is married to Juan, a Korean, and has four adult children. Steve is a Consultant Physician with an interest in infectious disease and a Rural Hospital Specialist, currently working part time in Ashburton Hospital, and for the University of Otago Rural Postgraduate Training Programme which provides training for rural registrars.

Steve has also completed a Masters in Theology from Laidlaw College with a thesis on intentional missional community in Australasia, and serves part time on the pastoral team at South West (previously Spreydon) Baptist Church.

Steve has worked in senior health management roles in Bangladesh for many years, most recently from 2013 to 2015 as the Chief Executive of LAMB, a Christian health NGO which employs around 1000 staff and runs a 150 bed rural hospital, nursing training institute, English Medium School, Health Research unit, and delivers and support mainly women and children-centered health services in north Bangladesh for a huge population. Steve previously worked eight years for the Leprosy Mission in Bangladesh, and was Chair of Programmes for the Leprosy Mission New Zealand Board for several years until 2012.

Steve has recently joined the Board of Stepping Stone Trust, a Christ-centered mental health provider in Christchurch.

Steve loves reading and tennis and has a passion for Christian community development.

Topic: Sabbath as refreshment and resistance

One key challenge of Christians in medicine is retaining our distinctive flavour and energy and enthusiasm for life and faith and family and vocation and Christian community in an integrated way that doesn’t get overwhelmed by the busy-ness of life and work, and/or the homogenizing effects of our consumerist, materialist, increasingly digital, 24/7 Western culture. The 4th Commandment – to keep Sabbath – is a pivot point of the Law, linking love for God and love for neighbour, and providing a much-needed path and platform to sustain both. Steve will tease out some of the principles of Sabbath for the 21st Century that help us remain refreshed in our life and mission and relationships, and resistant to the forces which seek to dull our faith edge.


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