The RDC paid tribute to Jean Holm at her funeral on 17 August 2018. The Centre’s Jean Holm Library, built upon Jean’s own books, is witness to her life interest, focus and career in religious diversity. A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, Jean left New Zealand at the age of 24, to return in retirement to Auckland, where she gave support and inspiration to initiatives and tasks related to religious diversity.
Hailed in Britain as a pioneer in her field of Religious Studies, Jean’s work as a teacher of teachers, contributed to the redirection of Religious Education, a compulsory subject in British schools, from its specific focus on Christianity to include the diverse religious traditions. She wrote one of the first textbooks for teachers, Teaching Religion in Schools (1975). This practical guide for teachers of Religious Studies offers an innovative and creative approach. She wrote that “to study another religion means to enter a completely different world.” Jean went on to write and edit more than 30 books, all of which are timely for us in Aotearoa New Zealand as we come to grips with our own rapidly increasing multicultural and multireligious society.
The RDC is grateful for Jean’s support over these past years. Her bequest to the RDC Trust has provided a foundation on which to build a solid endowment for the future work of the Centre.
A book about Jean’s life, work and impact, entitled Jean Holm: A Serendipitious Life by Barbara Mountier (with a chapter by RDC Trust Chair Jocelyn Armstrong), is available in the RDC Store.