RD104: CONTEMPORARY BELIEF & PRACTICE – SELECTED TOPICS (Te Awamutu)
Offered: throughout 2022. Due to recent Covid restrictions in the Waikato, our 2021 Term 4 course was delayed and we were only able to hold 3 sessions instead of our usual four. We’ll compensate for this by holding 5 class sessions in 2022 Term 1. This class continues to meet biweekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm. Our first Term 1 class meets on Wednesday 16 February 2022 with subsequent sessions on 2 March, 16 March, 30 March and 6 April 2022.
Location: St John’s Anglican Church, 162 Arawata Street, Te Awamutu.
Distance Learning: Please note that this course does not have an on-line distance learning component and is in-person only.
The course, part of our Discovering Religious Diversity series, focuses on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involves a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.
Throughout the four Terms of this course we look at a wide variety of selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class. In each session we cover how the different faith traditions approach the particular topic of the evening. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the numerous similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences.
Term 1 topics to be covered: Rites of Passage: Marriage; Asceticism, Monasticism and Renunciation; Sacred Music
Subsequent topics in Future Terms (2022): Sacred Journeys and Pilgrimage; Going Beyond: Esoteric Traditions & Mystical Experiences; Ethical Ideologies; Rites of Passage: Death and Bereavement; Interfaith Perspectives on the Golden Rule.
Previous Topics covered in 2021 were: Image and Iconography; Sacred Time: Cosmology & Creation; Sacred Time: Calendars, Holy Days & Festivals; Sacred Spaces; Prayer and Worship; Sacred Clothing; Food and Ritual; and Rites of Passage: Birth & Coming of Age Ceremonies.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course and new learners are welcomed to join at any time.
All of our Religious Diversity courses are taught by Todd Nachowitz, PhD. Todd was previously a lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato where he taught introductory courses on Comparative Religion; Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism; Religion in Secular Society; and Islam.
Todd has a Masters Degree in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University in upstate New York (1991) and a PhD from the University of Waikato (2015) in Political Science and Public Policy where he completed his thesis on diversity governance and the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.
Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent 11 years in South Asia as the Academic Director for university study-abroad programmes in Varanasi, India (for the University of Wisconsin-Madison); Lahore, Pakistan (for the University of California-Berkeley); and Kathmandu, Nepal (for School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) that focused on language, culture and religion. Todd speaks Hindi and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. He also currently teaches all of our Hindi and Urdu language courses at EarthDiverse.
Todd’s most recent research and publications involve religious diversity, the Indian diaspora, and the history and development of multiculturalism in New Zealand. He was a founding Trustee and former Centre Coordinator of the Religious Diversity Centre, based in Auckland, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council. Todd is also the Founder and Executive Director of EarthDiverse.
This Te Awamutu-based course has no distance-learning or on-line component. All classes are on-person only.
- All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions.
- Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion. There are no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (4 class sessions):
- Waged: $65 (includes GST + online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $55 (includes GST + online registration fee)
LOCATION: This Religious Diversity course is held at St John’s Anglican Church, 162 Arawata Street, Te Awamutu. Class sessions are held in the Meeting Room located behind the main church. The car park can be accessed around the corner on George Street. There is plenty of free parking available in the carpark just outside the classroom.
“I have really enjoyed Todd’s RD101 & RD102 courses and found them informative. I have loved the sessions which are geared to group participation, questions and discussion.” —Hilary Nobes, Te Awamutu (January 2021)
“I just want to thank you so much for all the great work you are doing through EarthDiverse. Bringing people together and helping us to understand each other offers such hope for the future of society.” —Stephanie Owen, Te Awamutu (December 2021)