50. MINUTE OF APPRECIATION FOR MS JANEEN BARKER (UnitingJustice Australia Reference Committee)

Monday, 09 July 2012

That the Assembly resolve to

place on record its appreciation for the service of Ms Janeen Barker as Chairperson of the UnitingJustice Australia Reference Committee from July 2006 – July 2012.

Janeen’s contribution to the Reference Committee and the mission of UnitingJustice has been marked by wisdom, integrity, grace, passion and clarity of purpose. Her experience of the life of the Church across congregational and committee life, her skills as a gifted chairperson and facilitator, and her lifelong personal commitment to the gospel call for justice have helped to shape the nature and the quality of the work of the unit.

Under Janeen’s leadership, UnitingJustice Australia has developed an approach to determining and prioritising its work which ensures that all it does remains deeply grounded in both the gospel call for reconciliation, justice and peace and in the history, tradition and experience of the Uniting Church, especially its history of speaking and acting for justice and equity. It is an approach which has enabled the small staff team to respond nimbly and confidently to the changing issues of public debate and policy development while resisting the almost constant temptation to be drawn too thinly across too many disparate issues.

During Janeen’s tenure as Chairperson, she has overseen the development of a number of major social justice statements and resolutions prepared by UnitingJustice and adopted by the Assembly and Assembly Standing Committee:

  • For the Sake of the Planet and All its People (the Assembly statement on climate change, ASC November 2006)
  • the resolution in support of the development of a Human Act for Australia (ASC, March 2008)
  • An Economy of Life: Re-imagining human progress for a flourishing world (Twelfth Assembly 2009) 

She has helped develop the unit’s public engagement and advocacy, and the resourcing of the Assembly and church members, on such issues as asylum seekers and refugee policies, justice for Indigenous Australians (especially in our work with the Northern Synod on the Northern Territory Intervention), human rights and anti-discrimination, a just economy and human wellbeing, action against climate change and peacemaking. The ‘Living a Different Story’ resource project which arises out of An Economy of Life owes much of its heart to Janeen’s vision.

The staff of UnitingJustice have been inspired by Janeen’s integrity, upheld by her care and encouragement and challenged by her extraordinary insight and wisdom into the plight of people who suffer injustice, prejudice, violence and oppression. We are thankful for Janeen’s commitment to and leadership of UnitingJustice over the years. We have been truly blessed by her presence among us.