January 2021  |  St Peter’s School, Cambridge

The Christian faith is deep, alive, and worth living well.
Join 100 students, young professionals, and creatives from around Aotearoa, New Zealand for seven days as we explore this rich, transforming faith and what it means for our lives.


What’s it all about?

The Christian faith is deep, alive, and worth living well. It speaks of our world as filled with beauty and meaning, created by a good God with good purpose. It calls us to live lives marked by wonder, imagination, deep thought, rich feeling, love, courage, and service. This faith has transformed the lives of men and women for generations: given new energy and meaning to the student at her desk, the worker in his office, the athlete with her team, the writer with his pen, the scientist in her lab.


Venn Summer Conference is an opportunity to explore this vision of God, ourselves, and the world, and how it affects all parts of life. Over seven days of learning, conversation, good food, and fun, you’ll come to see the truth, beauty, and challenge of the Christian life.

What can I expect?

The week-long conference is challenging, life-giving, and creative; it’s for young adults 18-30 years old, is fully residential, and is held in the beautiful Waikato. The conference is dynamic and creative. Across the week, you will be immersed in rich teaching, creative responses, local field trips, and group discussions. You’ll also have heaps of time in the afternoons to soak up the sun and to cool off in Lake Karapiro.


During the week you can expect to:

    • Hear from engaging and thoughtful speakers who love God.
    • Think deeply about the big questions of faith and life.
    • Explore the ideas and stories that have shaped and are shaping New Zealand culture.
    • Be challenged about what you think and how you think
    • Eat well, laugh loud, talk a lot, and perhaps even disagree at times—all while making new friendships and deepening old ones.

Who will be teaching?

At Summer Conference, you’ll hear from an exceptional group of speakers from across New Zealand. The speaker lineup for Summer Conference 2020 is:

    • Andrew Shamy
    • Hannah Chapman
    • Dr. John Dennison
    • Dr. Nathan McLellan
    • Michelle Young
    • Dr. Alistair Reese
    • Dr. Luke Fenwick
    • Dr. Sam Bloore
    • Rachel Kitchens

The Week

Know the Gospel

During the week, we’ll explore what the gospel means for all of our lives. We’ll do this by asking what does the Bible say about God and his purposes in the world, about what it means to be human, and about the nature of the world we live in?


We’ll also ask how our answers to these questions relate to other stories about life that we find embedded in current NZ culture, such as consumerism and individualism.


The week isn’t just about gaining knowledge. Our prayer is that you’ll encounter God, and through that encounter, you’ll come to know him, yourself, and others better.

Know culture

The conference is designed with a particular flow. Each day will address a major theme or question. These themes follow the arc of the biblical story.

God: Who is God? And what are his purposes for the world he created?

Humanity: What does it mean to be human?

The Fall: What’s gone wrong with the world?

Jesus: Who is Jesus? And what does he mean for us today?

Holy Spirit and Church: Who is the Spirit? What is the Church?

Redemption: What is the end of our story?

Culture: How should we engage culture faithfully in 21st century Aotearoa, New Zealand?


Each day, you’ll get to participate in a mixture of creative workshops, experiences, lectures, and learning groups, as we explore the key themes and questions. Our hope is you’ll come to a deeper understanding of the gospel and what it means for your life.


The week will be full, but there is also plenty of time each afternoon to relax, to enjoy the local area, to pray, to worship, and to have fun.

Pricing + Sponsorship


STUDENT Standard*


ADULT Standard*


Summer Conference prices cover all meals, accommodation, and conference materials for the week.

*All prices are NZD. Student prices are only applicable to New Zealand full-time students.


Each year we award a number of scholarships for full-time students currently studying in NZ, for Māori, and for Pasifika. Scholarship applications are now open.


We encourage you to first seek support from your church, family, and friends.

If you still need support to attend Summer Conference, please don’t hesitate to apply for sponsorship. We want you to be part of the week!


If you need to pay for Summer Conference across a few months, we are happy to arrange weekly, fortnightly, and monthly payment plans. Get in touch and we can work out the best plan for you.

Get in touch.


World-class, engaging, experienced communicators who love God. Here’s a brief intro to our 2020 lineup.

Dr. Sam Bloore

Dr. Sam Bloore

Sam grew up in Dargaville, prior to studying medicine and bioethics at Otago University. He worked as a doctor for 5 years in Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry. He went on to join the staff of his local church and completed a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology. While working for Compass Foundation, Sam co-authored The Hare and Tortoise. Sam now works for the Venn Foundation as a Senior Teaching Fellow, and along with his wife Julia, oversees the residential life of the Venn Residential Fellowship. They have three young children, Eden, Benjamin, and Sophia.
Dr. Luke Fenwick

Dr. Luke Fenwick

Luke grew up in Christchurch and studied Classics and History at the University of Canterbury before reading German history at University College, Oxford. He took his doctorate in 2011 and has worked with policy and tertiary institutions in London, Washington D.C., Moscow, and Auckland. He is now a Senior Teaching Fellow at Venn Foundation and teaches on the Residential Fellowship. He is married to Olivia.
Rachel Kitchens

Rachel Kitchens

Rachel is from Atlanta, Georgia and spent her undergraduate years in Virginia, studying Dance and Psychology at Hollins College. Rachel is interested in the interplay between the arts, the human body, and Christian faith, which led her to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Studies at Regent College. She has worked as a Church worker, community coordinator, event planner, dance teacher, and florist. Most recently, Rachel completed her studies in spiritual direction and works part-time at Venn Foundation, helping alumni integrate their lives with the Gospel. She is married to Andrew Shamy and together they live in Auckland with their two daughters, Ella and Georgia, and son, James.
Hannah Chapman

Hannah Chapman

Hannah lives with her children Canaan, Josiah, and Psalm in Turangi. Passionate about the restoration of indigenous people to their God-given identity and cultures, Hannah co-founded iEmergence, an organisation that supports indigenous youth development in the Philippines and Canada. In 2015, Hannah also co-founded Good Water, a space for indigenous Christians to explore culture, identity, and faith. She is an Adjunct Teaching Fellow for Venn, focussed on integrating Te Aō Māori through the educational contexts and helping to foster Venn’s engagement with Tangata Whenua.
Dr. John Dennison

Dr. John Dennison

John lives in Wellington with his wife, Jannah, and their three sons, Theo, Emmaus and Blythe. He serves as Associate Chaplain at the Anglican Chaplaincy, Victoria University, and works as Venn’s Wellington Coordinator. John holds degrees in Theology and English Literature, from Victoria, Otago and St Andrew’s, Scotland. His first collection of poems, Otherwise, was published by Auckland University Press and Carcanet Press in 2015.
Dr. Nathan McLellan

Dr. Nathan McLellan

Nathan is the CEO and a Senior Teaching Fellow at Venn Foundation. After studying economics and finance, he worked as an economist at the New Zealand Treasury, before going overseas for theological study and further work in Canada and the United States. Nathan has an interest in community formation, leadership, and the relationship between economic life and the Christian faith. He is passionate about helping others develop a sound and deep understanding of the Christian faith and the way it relates to all aspects of life. In 2018, Nathan earned a Ph.D. in theological ethics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is married to Bronwyn and is the father of two energetic boys, Jonathan and Caleb.
Andrew Shamy

Andrew Shamy

Andrew grew up in Christchurch and graduated from the University of Canterbury with a BA (Hons) in History and American Studies. He went on to complete his Master of Arts in Theology from Regent College. Andrew has co-authored two books: The Insect and the Buffalo and The Hare and the Tortoise. He works for the Venn Foundation as a Senior Teaching Fellow. Andrew is married to Rachel Kitchens and they live in Auckland with their two daughters, Ella and Georgia, and son James.
Michelle Young

Michelle Young

Originally from Paeroa and the daughter of pastors, Michelle grew up in a family who served and worked in the local community. She finished her schooling in Whangarei and moved to Auckland to study Geography at the University of Auckland. After graduating, Michelle took up a role in her local church for five years, completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology, and then managed a non-profit trust in South Auckland. She joined Venn at its inception in September 2013 and has continued to work alongside and serve the people of Venn as the Director of Summer Conference and Supporting Contexts.
Dr. Alistair Reese

Dr. Alistair Reese

Alistair Reese is a farmer, historian, and public theologian. He and his wife Jeannie live near Te Puke in the district of Tapuika/Waitaha.  He holds postgraduate degrees in History, Tikanga Maori, and Theology, from Massey, Waikato, and Cambridge University. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Public Theology at the University of Auckland for his thesis: Reconciliation and the Quest for Pakeha Identity.


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Still have a few questions about Summer Conference?