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17 - 19 MARCH 2023

Rainbow and Cross | Gay Church | Diverse Church NZ Logo



Awaken is coming to Otautahi’s Pride Week.
Come and gather together from 17-19 March 2023 at Durham St Methodist Church, with people from the rainbow communities from all over Aotearoa. This will be a great time to connect with whānau, worship together, engage with workshops, hear from our keynote speakers and enjoy our manaakitanga.

Everyone is Welcome – we mean it!
Allies and those who support rainbow whanau are welcome. We have a number of workshops designed to help you better support this awesome community, and you will get the chance to meet some new friends. Each year we are impressed by the number of parents, friends, pastors that attend, simply to support those in their life. 


Karl Hand

Karl is the founding pastor of Crave Church, an MCC congregation in Gadigal country (Sydney, Australia), and was a part of the team who planted this church in 2008.

Karl’s family arrived in the lands now called Australia from England when he was a small child in 1982. Karl was raised in the Pentecostal tradition, where he still feels most at home. As a teenager, Karl discovered a passion for Revival Theology, and he has been enriched by Liberation and Queer theology as well as contemplative, Celtic, and Indigenous spirituality.

Karl has worked with Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a global prophetic movement of radically inclusive Christianity, on their Statement of Faith Commission, and on the Council of Elders, who serve in a pastoral role and direct the spiritual life of MCC.

Karl has a Master’s degree in philosophy, and a PhD in New Testament studies, and he has published some theological research about the historical Jesus and the Gospel of Luke, as well as reading the New Testament through lenses such as queerness, masculinity, and decolonisation.

Steff Fenton

Steff Fenton (they/them) is Co-Pastor and Co-Founder of New City Church, an inclusive community exploring faith in new and engaging ways. Steff is an advocate, speaker and writer, who shares the intersections of being trans and Christian. 

Steff was the co-founder and Chair of Equal Voices Sydney, an interdenominational network of LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies across Sydney. They recently graduated with a Master of Divinity through the University of Divinity, writing a thesis about masculinity, male entitlement, and gender-expansiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. 

Steff is passionate about sharing stories, creating safe spiritual spaces for LGBTIQA+ people and cultivating a more equitable and expansive faith. Wearing a different hat, Steff is also the Learning & Development Manager at Twenty10. They also enjoy scrolling Instagram for cute puppy photos.

Twitter & Instagram: @steff_fentonWebsites: &


Grab yourself a conference T-Shirt



6:00pm Christchurch Youth Workers Dinner with Karl Hand, Steff Fenton and Qtopia.

62% of young people identify as “not straight”.

Join us for *FREE FOOD AND DRINK* and learn how to be an effective youth leader to our LGBTQ+ communities.

We understand that caring for LGBTQ+ youth can be tricky, especially when our churches are so conflicted about this group.

We want to equip you and your youth leaders to understand how to create safe spaces (and why they are important), language and how to have healthy conversations, and how to find support when you need it.



9:30am Human Rights Commission & Diverse Church – Creating Safe Churches

Co-design workshop with Human Rights Commission on resources to help prevent harm from conversion practices. Click here to find out more.

12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm Human Rights Commission & Diverse Church – Church Leaders Workshop

Are you a church leader with questions about conversion practices?
Do you know how the new law banning conversion practices impacts you and your faith community?
Do you know what rainbow people of faith want from their church communities?

The Human Rights Commission will host a workshop to discuss the new law, what it means for you, and what rainbow people of faith have said they need to feel safe in their faith communities.
Feel free to send any questions you’d like addressed to

4:30pm Registration Open

6:30pm Welcome // Session 1 – Keynote : Karl Hand

9:30pm Evening Activities


8:30am Doors Open // Coffee

9:00am Session 2 – Keynote : Steff Fenton

10:30am Morning Tea // Break

11:00am Workshops

12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm Workshops

3:00pm Afternoon Tea // Break

3:30pm Workshops

5:00pm Break

6:00pm Dinner

6:45pm Session 3 – Keynote : Karl Hand

9:00pm Evening Activities // Pride Dance Party


10:00am Pride Service with Durham Street Methodist
* this is a public service and open to all

12:00pm Combined Lunch
(everyone is invited to stay and share lunch with us all)

1:30pm Workshops

3:00pm Afternoon Tea // Break

4:00pm Session 5 (Final)

5:30pm Conference Ends

Rainbow and Cross | Gay Church | Diverse Church NZ Logo

To find out more details on Workshops and Speakers – click here.


Need Help!

If you are a LGBTQ+ person of faith who is interested in attending Awaken, we want you here and we don’t want finances to keep anyone away.

Please email us on 

PLEASE NOTE: We can only support those living in New Zealand. We cannot support international delegates.


Aldersgate Centre

309 Durham Street North | Christchurch

Aldersgate Centre is home to Durham Street Methodist, an affirming and inclusive church with a long history of supporting the rainbow community. Durham Street Methodist partners and supports a number of community groups including AA and Qtopia.

Parking & Access
There is on-site & street parking.
Secure bike parking is also on site.
This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Rainbow and Cross | Gay Church | Diverse Church NZ Logo


We want our conference to be accessible for all.

We want you to feel at home when you are at our conference.

  • If you would like a sign language interpreter, please let us know. We can arrange one for you.
  • We love to provide great kai (food) at our event – please tell us if you have any requirements.
  • The venue is wheelchair accessible – please let us know if you have any other accessibility requirements.