The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Team is made up of:
- Larissa Minniecon, Team Facilitator
- Brooke Prentis, Spokesperson
- Tanya Riches
- Shane Fenwick
You can find out more about Larissa Minniecon, Brooke Prentis and Shane Fenwick below.
Some of our ATSI Team: Tanya Riches, Larissa Minniecon and Shane Fenwick.
Larissa Minniecon, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Team Facilitator
Larissa Minniecon is a Kabi Kabi, Gureng Gureng, Torres Strait Islander Aboriginal woman. She is also of Ni-Vanuatu heritage, with her great grandfather brought over from Vanuatu to work in Queensland’s sugar cane fields, in Australia’s own history of slavery that is known as ‘blackbirding’.
Larissa joins the Common Grace team as Team Facilitator of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice campaign team. She brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding with experience working in the area of global indigenous community development and specifically navigating the ideology of what it means to be authentically indigenous and authentically Christian.
It was through the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous Peoples movement that Larissa found a deep longing to continue her journey of searching her own indigenous identity and Christianity. Through this movement Larissa and her family were able to travel worldwide and meet other Indigenous Christian peoples, together searching Christianity through the heart of its Indigenous peoples.
Larissa hopes to create the Common Grace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice team to be a social mission force based on the concept of Aboriginal ‘Kinship’ system. This system is over 40,000 years old; our lore recognized it as a key indicator for governance and relationships.
Kinship is a system of responsibility that is spiritual and connected, the feeling of never being alone. Kinship in its easiest form was explained to me by a brother as this:
“The Aboriginal way of kinship is that - this is how they explained it to me - I’m responsible to you if you are my kin. If you are my kin and you are hungry, and you come over to my house, and my house is locked, and you have to break into my house to get some food, the offence isn’t that you broke into my house, the offence is that I had my door locked.”
It’s this responsibility that I have to you, my kin. And it’s that feeling of never being alone. That you will always have someone there for you, and it’s saying that you will be an extension to my family as I am to you, that these ties I make is more than blood-related. It reflects the love Jesus had when he died on the cross, the suffering and pain that lead to his death for his kin. And that’s what kinship is all about. That I have a responsibility now, as do you!
Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Team Spokesperson
Brooke Prentis is an Aboriginal Christian leader from the Waka Waka peoples. She is a Chartered Accountant by profession with over 15 years senior management experience in the corporate world including top 100 ASX listed companies. Brooke has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Japanese and Political Science, from the University of Queensland. She has also completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and serves on a number of corporate and Christian boards. Brooke has a keen interest in theology, having co-written, written, and presented several theological papers over the last two years. A founding board member of NAIITS Australia, Brooke is currently studying for a Masters of Theology through NAIITS, in partnership with Whitley College and the University of Divinity, as well as being a research scholar for the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PaCT).
Brooke the Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace, a growing movement of over 40,000 Australian Christians passionate about Jesus and Justice and the Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering, a growing network of over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders from across Australia and across denominations. Addressing issues of national justice, Brooke works ecumenically advocating for friendship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. She is a much sought after speaker and writer who is also a community pastor with a vision "to build an Australia built on truth, justice, love and hope".
Shane Fenwick is a young Christian from Sydney, who is passionate about seeing God's love transform individuals and communities. Professionally, Shane has worked with asylum seekers and refugees, and currently works for Mission Australia with youth at-risk of homelessness. Shane is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in theology, and has a particular passion to see "theory" and "practice" come together. He believes theology is best done "on the margins", walking alongside those whom Jesus would have been - and is - found with.
Growing up on the northern beaches of Sydney, Shane had rarely - if ever - encountered anyone from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It wasn't 'till a school trip up to Yarrabah, an Aboriginal community in North Queensland, that he first encountered the welcome, compassion, and love of Aboriginal peoples. Ever since, Shane has built on his relationship with his 'family' in Yarrabah, seeking to listen and learn. In 2014, Shane was privileged to spend an extended amount of time living in Yarrabah learning more about Yidindji culture, and was given a traditional name by his Uncle David. For Shane, he is passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice because, first and foremost, it is about the flourishing of his own brothers and sisters. To quote Lilla Watson, Shane see's his liberation as "bound up" in theirs.
Through his involvement with the Common Grace team, Shane hopes to see the Australian Church equipped and empowered to stand alongside its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters. Particularly, he hopes to see non-Indigenous Christians be in friendship with Indigenous Christians. Shane believes that the Gospel is key to such friendship, for in Christ, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all... are one in Christ Jesus."