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The Wellington Cathedral of St Paul is hosting a new lunchtime lecture series on important contemporary issues. Entitled ‘Dangerous Conversations’, the series focuses on four of the critical challenges facing New Zealand – the housing crisis, low wages, gender inequality, and the limitations of traditional models of charity in meeting social needs.

The Dean of Wellington, The Very Reverend Digby Wilkinson, says he is delighted that the Cathedral can host this series. “New Zealand confronts many serious issues. In grappling with these problems, we need places for informed discussion and reasoned debate – open forums where people are free to interrogate established approaches and advance new ideas – even dangerous ones.”

“In so doing”, he adds, “it is imperative to reflect on the social and political implications of the Gospel. The Christian tradition provides a rich source of values, as well as profound insights into the human condition. We need to dig deep within this valuable resource as we face our current societal dilemmas.”

One of the organisers of the lecture series, Dr Joe McGarry (a Chaplain at the Cathedral), highlights the ideal setting of the Cathedral for civil engagement and community dialogue on the big issues of the day: “Our building resides in the heart of the capital, next door to Parliament and the Beehive. Moreover, it is an open space where everyone is welcome – and people of different faiths and world views can reason together respectfully, honestly, yet passionately”.

The four speakers contributing to the ‘Dangerous Conversations’ series are all ‘movers and shakers’ in their respective fields of expertise. The Dean of Auckland Cathedral, Jo Kelly Moore, will reflect on how New Zealand can revitalise the quest for gender equality (Wednesday 3 August). Scottie Reeve, a Wellington social entrepreneur, will discuss new models for meeting social needs (Wednesday 10 August). Alan Johnson, a leading social policy expert, will suggest ways to help solve New Zealand’s housing crisis (Wednesday 17 August) and researcher Charles Waldegrave, who heads the Family Centre in Lower Hutt, will confront the challenge of low pay (Wednesday 24 August).

The lectures will be held each Wednesday during August (except the last) from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. There is no charge. All are welcome. Full information is available on the cathedral website