Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth: 'It's not hard to go and meet your neighbour'

Justin Duckworth has been the Anglican Bishop of Wellington since 2012.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Justin Duckworth has been the Anglican Bishop of Wellington since 2012.

Justin Duckworth is a bishop without a bible. The leader of Wellington's Anglican Church uses a smartphone app instead.

But before God's word went digital, Duckworth owned a treasured tome, inscribed with years of musings of a young theology student on a path to ordination. 

Decades ago, a light fingered youth uplifted the bag in which Duckworth had stashed his Good Book. The thief biffed the lot in the Hutt River. Duckworth chuckles at the memory.

"They had no idea of the value. They just threw it away to get rid of it. But for me it was like, "You've got to be kidding me. Couldn't you have just left it, or put it somewhere else?'"

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Before being enthroned, Duckworth led a modern monastic order called Urban Vision, based in Akatarawa Valley, on the ...
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Before being enthroned, Duckworth led a modern monastic order called Urban Vision, based in Akatarawa Valley, on the Kapiti Coast. He and his wife Jenny returned to live in Wellington city two and a half years ago.

 
 

He didn't take the incident personally, though. He has bigger concerns. For more than 30 years, Duckworth and his wife Jenny have been in the business of serving those whom go mostly ignored.

While he voted in Wellington's local body elections, he's not one to wait for the government to sort out society's problems. Some do require legislative action. Others, he says, can be solved with a plate of scones. 

"I think we have abdicated too much responsibility to our leaders. We sort of say, 'Oh can you guys solve climate change, and refugees? Can you solve homelessness? Well actually, why don't we fill up our spare bedrooms first, while we're saying that? Why don't we offset our carbon as a family, why don't we offer support to refugee families that we know now?"

Hospitality has always been central to the Duckworths' brand of evangelism. 

"It's not hard to go and meet your neighbour, to knock on the door and say, 'Hey! I've brought some scones over.'

"Some things are complex, I get it. But there are a lot of things which aren't, which we can actually solve. 

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"I think, let's sort those things out first of all. They're the easy wins."

 - Sunday Magazine

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