The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith

2012 Distinguished Academic Visitor

The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith

The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith describes herself as a theologian practitioner outside the academy.

Lynne was ordained in the Methodist Church in New Zealand Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa 30 years ago, and has held parish appointments in Dunedin, Pukekohe, and central Wellington. During this time she has held office as Synod Superintendent and is a past President of the church. Her current appointment is as Superintendent Minister of the Auckland Methodist Central Parish. She is also Tutor in Homiletics and Liturgy for Trinity Methodist Theological College, where she teaches courses in worship and liturgy, finding faith through the arts, and training programmes for worship leaders and lay preachers.

Throughout her ministry Lynne has sought to make liturgy that is poetic, contextual, and inclusive. Consequently,she has offered retreats and workshops for a wide range of church and other groups, with a particular emphasis on the written and spoken word and poetic language in liturgy and preaching.

In her doctoral thesis, An examination of the impact of the visit of Maude Royden to Aotearoa on those who heard her preach, Lynne examined the use of fiction as a tool for theological reflection, and presented her findings in the form of a novel.

Lynne has had a lifelong fascination with words and language and has been writing poetry, fiction, articles and essays since childhood, with her first publication at the age of 10.

More recent publications include Sleeping Out and Uncomfortable (The Auckland Methodist Vol 14,No 2, August 2011), The Identity and Character of Wisdom (daily study notes for Words for Today 2012. IBRA), Evening Prayer and Intercessions for Planet Earth (in Gifts With Open Hands. Pilgrim Press 2011) A View from the Top Table (in Talanoa Ripples: Across Borders, Cultures, Disciplines. Ed. Jione Havea. Pasifika@Massey 2010), A Fine and Beautiful Thing (poems) Epworth Books. Wellington. NZ. 1998.

Lynne will use the time at Vaughan Park to compile and edit a collection of seasonal liturgical resources for Aotearoa, from invited contributors. The collection is likely to include prayers, litanies, poems, and other resources from social justice and inclusive theological perspectives. The material will be ecumenical in style i.e. not conforming to any particular denominational practice.

Alongside this project, Lynne expects to continue to write poetry, and to explore ways in which poetry and other writing forms facilitate theological reflection and spiritual development.

 The Rev. Dr. Lynne Frith

Three months in residence at Vaughan Park – what a generous gift and a wonderful way to spend Long Leave.

The gentle encouragement of all the staff to let whatever will be to be enabled me to attend to some matters of personal health and wellbeing alongside my stated purpose of writing and research in contemporary liturgy. In spite of the best efforts of the chefs, I earned the dubious distinction of being one of the few scholars to lose rather than gain weight!

The comfortable studio provided as much solitude as I needed. The constant stream of interesting guests and visitors to Vaughan Park provided opportunities for fascinating conversations and insights into worlds as diverse as engineering decision making, fashion design, deep sea mineral mining, and peacebuilding in the Solomon Islands. I met up with old friends, and made some new ones.

I am indebted to all at Vaughan Park for giving me this opportunity for much needed reflection, refreshment, and the unencumbered time to pursue a personal project of collecting, editing and(hopefully) publishing liturgical material arising from the Aotearoa context.

The project continues as a “work in progress”.

The refreshment and renewal will sustain me for a long time to come.

Thank you to all who made this possible.