Richard Waugh

The World is In My Parish

by Heidi E. Heater

Richard Waugh lives in Auckland, New Zealand, the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city with 1.3 million residents.

“John Wesley may have said, ‘The world is my parish’ but I can say, ‘The world is in my parish,’” Waugh said of Auckland, an ethnically diverse city.

As the national superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand and the inaugural president of the newly formed South Pacific Conference, Waugh promotes a fully orbed Wesleyan worldview that cherishes the mission of God through salvation, transformation and ministry to the poor.

“For the wider South Pacific Conference, my vision is for us to listen to one another as we share and plan for strengthened mission and outreach,” he said. “This will involve time, relationship building, the seeking of unity and enabling many different gifts and graces to be shared.”

The South Pacific Conference is composed of 170 churches, equaling approximately 4,000 members throughout the Wesleyan Methodist Churches in Australia, Bougainville, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands. Waugh and the churches officially celebrated this new entity Aug. 24-26 in Brisbane, Australia.

Through his ministry, Waugh provides a practical expression of Wesley’s catholic spirit. He hopes this new conference will aid in better coordination of theological education and evangelism throughout the South Pacific region. The new conference seeks to expand the mission of God and assist the national churches in their effectiveness and influence.

Waugh hopes to renew and expand the Wesleyan movement, once vibrant within his region. In 2009, he helped found “The Stream,” an annual theological conference. This conference is regularly attended by more than 100 pastors and lay leaders.

“I have noticed that many mega-churches run inspirational, leadership and musical type conferences, but how many organize theological conferences that grapple with what we believe and why?” Waugh said.

He believes his time in Asbury Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry Program freshly equipped him at the mid-point of his ministry. While at Asbury Seminary, he wrote his dissertation discussing issues of identity, “touchstones” of Wesleyan theology, and further developing his Wesleyan worldview.

“I am immensely grateful to Asbury for the experience of renewal, education and warmed heart encouragement that continues to bless me to this very day,” he said. “I am more confident than I was in my work, knowing a worldwide renewal of the John Wesley family is occurring.”

Waugh has served as the Chairman of the Auckland Church Leaders Meeting and as Chairman of the National Church Leaders Meeting. In 2007, he received the Queen’s Service Medal for valuable community and church service and recently received the Citizen of the Year award for the Howick area of Auckland.

Waugh, his wife Jane, and their three children, Simon, Theresa and Kristie, were part of the Beeson residential program 2007-2008.