Photo Credit: Micah Australia
An ecumenical group of female leaders from across Australia’s Churches and Christian organisations have gathered in capital Canberra for an advocacy visit. In addition to advocating for policies of justice and care for the world’s poor, the group will meet with senior ministers and members of parliament from both of the country’s major political parties, including some women MPs, to “thank them for their public service and to encourage them to lead Australia in continuing its commitment to creating a just world”, a spokesperson for Micah Australia, which organised the gathering, said.
“Every week, Christians across the country pray for our elected leaders to exercise moral leadership: to make the hard, but right decisions on our behalf,” said Dr Kate Harrison Brennan, Chief Executive of Anglican Deaconess Ministries, said. “Our visit to Canberra is a reminder that the Christian faith prioritises the poor and vulnerable, and seeks this type of moral action. Australians know how to be good neighbours, across backyard fences; we want our leaders in Canberra to do this on our behalf, across borders.
“We see this as an opportunity to encourage our female representatives for their leadership but also to keep crucial justice issues like poverty elimination and refugees on their agenda.”
In addition to Anglican Deaconess Ministries, the group come from a wide variety of Christian groups, including the Salvation Army, the Baptist Church and Hillsong Church. The purpose of the gathering is “not only to bring Christian women leaders together with a unified voice, but also to talk about the issue of women in leadership,” the Executive Director of Micah Australia, Tim Costello, said.
As part of the trip, the women will meet key ministers and shadow ministers at Parliament House. They are also hoping to put forward the case for continued support for the overseas aid budget and supporting some of the poorest and most vulnerable families around the world. The leaders will also be advocating for the release of children and their families from the Nauru off-shore refugee detention centre, joining over 100,000 people who are calling for “Kids Off Nauru”.
“This feels like a significant moment,” said 2016 Olympic finalist Eloise Wellings, who will accompany the group. Ms Wellings is founder of the NGO Love Mercy. “Too often, the church is known for its internal disagreements that become public, but to have women leaders joining together from across the denominational spectrum shows a significant act of unity and one that we hope will be an encouragement to the government and opposition.”