Some of the perks
The Fellowship is organised into four modules, which hold together different curriculum elements, including residential life, classroom teaching, Venn Summer Conference, field trips and haerenga, work placements, and time for rest and reflection.
In Module I, incoming Fellows are introduced to the goals and big questions of the programme, welcomed into the rhythms of residential life, and inducted into the learning context. New friendships are formed around the dinner table and in the classroom as the new learning community is established. In these early weeks, the four initial teaching streams address the Christian faith, historic understandings of personhood and community, Aotearoa’s story, and Christian rhythms and practices. These work together to unearth key questions and concerns in pursuit of the wise life.
Beginning with Venn Summer Conference, Module II builds on the learning of Module I by considering the person and work of Jesus Christ, the nature and wellbeing of the political community, and further reflection on the rhythms and practices of the Christian life. In addition, Fellows continue to grow their understanding of Aotearoa’s story by visiting significant sites and considering what this means for our future.
During Module III, each Fellow spends nine weeks on a work placement, either on a project or within an organisation. This module provides Fellows with an opportunity to reflect on their learning from Modules I and II, develop an area of interest or explore a particular field, and develop their capacity for service. Once a week, Fellows gather in the classroom to explore a theology of work and what it means for their lives.
In Module IV, Fellows return to the classroom to grapple with what it means to live wisely within their families, workplaces, churches, and communities. Fellows are encouraged to reflect on the whole learning journey, how they have grown, and what this means for serving and leading in life beyond the Residential Fellowship.
The classroom teaching consists of different streams within the four modules. Within the different teaching streams, Fellows engage with the disciplines of theology, biblical studies, history, political philosophy, public policy, literature, and the arts.
The teaching programme is nested within the wider setting of residential life and the rhythms and practices of the Venn community. Learning and personal formation happens within a highly relational context. The small classes of up to twelve Fellows allow for free enquiry, discussion, and creative expression. Learning is active. Fellows are encouraged to interact with teaching staff and with one another to form their own views.
The various curriculum elements help Fellows develop their own answer to the big question: How do I live wisely in twenty-first century Aotearoa, New Zealand?
Director of the Residential Fellowship
Donald is deeply interested in the intersection of art and faith, and is passionate about cultivating creative contexts in which theology can be fruitfully explored.
He started his working life in Civil Engineering, before taking up a pastoral role at his local church and serving there for 16 years in the areas of worship, the arts, and communication. This tenure was temporarily interrupted in 2012 when Donald and his wife, Janaya, moved their family to Vancouver, Canada to study towards a Master of Arts in Theology at Regent College.
They returned to Hamilton at the close of 2013 and Donald resumed his involvement with the local church and worship initiatives. In late 2018, Donald took up the Director of the Residential Fellowship position at Venn Foundation. He and Janaya, along with their four children, now call Auckland home.
The Revd Dr Nathan McLellan
Venn CEO & Senior Teaching Fellow
Nathan is motivated by a deep desire to see people encounter the depth and richness of the Christian faith and to live this out.
Nathan worked as an economist at the New Zealand Treasury, before moving to Vancouver with his wife Bronwyn to study theology at Regent College. During his time at Regent, Nathan joined the Marketplace Institute, where he started and led a residential internship and contributed to the development of other programmes, including ReFrame – a course designed to help people integrate their Christian faith and life. This was followed by further study at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he earned a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics.
Nathan and Bronwyn live in Auckland with their two energetic boys, Jonathan and Caleb. Nathan is also an ordained Anglican minister and worships at St Paul’s Symonds Street.
Dr Luke Fenwick
Senior Teaching Fellow
Luke is committed to a life of learning and inquiry as a teacher and as a student. He is currently writing about resistance and conformity in Nazi Germany, and how we might think about them theologically and existentially.
Luke grew up in Christchurch and completed his undergraduate degree in Classics and History at the University of Canterbury. He went on to read German history at University College, Oxford, where he took a doctorate in 2011. Since then, Luke has worked with policy and tertiary institutions in London, Washington D.C., Moscow, and Auckland. Throughout this time Luke played more than 20 years of competitive rugby. Sport remains an interest, as do classical music and foreign movies. He is married to Olivia and together they live in Auckland.
Dr Sam and Julia Bloore
Sam is passionate about the intersection of faith and culture, in particular how individuals establish and enhance a personal spirituality that is sustaining and sustainable. After graduating from medicine and bioethics at Otago University, Sam worked as a doctor for five years in Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry. In 2002, he began a gradual career change, and over the next few years joined the staff of his local church and completed a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology. He is now working towards a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Julia spent her childhood in Mosgiel and Christchurch and developed a love for acting and communication. After completing a degree in Film and Television Studies, she was selected as one of the founding hosts for TV3’s new afternoon kids show – Sticky TV. Five years later, Julia moved on to create and host two further shows, and in 2010 she started a network for those working in media to help them integrate their life, faith, and vocation. Sam and Julia are committed to developing the conversations and community practices that provide opportunities for growth. They have three young children: Eden, Benjamin, and Sophia.
– Fellow, 2018/19
The Residential Fellowship begins on Sunday, 13 November 2022 and runs through to 30 June 2023.
The programme is full-time and fully residential—Fellows live together, participating wholly in the day-to-day running of the homes. The programme consists of four modules plus Venn Summer Conference. Classes run from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. In addition, Monday and Thursday nights at the residences are reserved for hosting and evening discussions.
Several trips are also built into the Fellowship, including a retreat at the start of the programme, Summer Conference in early January, a haerenga to Waitangi, and a weekend retreat during Module III.
Our modular approach allows for some flexibility. While we strongly encourage applicants to do the full Fellowship—and we give preference to those who apply for the full eight-month programme—candidates who are unable to commit to the complete programme can apply to do Modules I and II only.
Please note, Module III placements are decided through a process of discussion with you and placement providers.
The cost per Fellow is $30,000 for the seven and a half months, and $20,000 for Modules I and II. This includes accommodation and food. As a charity, all of our costs must be raised by donations and fees. We are committed to covering 50% of the cost for each Fellow through our own donor networks. We ask Fellows to contribute the other 50% through personal finance, as well as donations from friends and family.
Our commitment is that finance not be a barrier to attendance. Please contact us before allowing a lack of funds to discourage you from applying.
*Please note this contribution structure applies to Australasian applicants only. If you are an international applicant, please contact us for cost details.
Aotearoa, New Zealand
The application has three stages. The first stage is a written application. The second stage is an interview.
We recognise that some applicants require early notice of their acceptance in order to apply for leave from work or study. To meet this need, we have a two-round application deadline and a rolling admission.