Brooke Prentis interviews Aunty Jean Phillips about the Aboriginal women who have shaped her life, her ministries empowering the next generation of Aboriginal Christian leaders, and her vision to see the Australian Church partnering with Aboriginal ministries in the healing of this land.

Aunty Jean Phillips

Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering, interviews Aunty Jean Phillips on the Aboriginal women who have shaped her life and her vision for healing in this land.

So far this week we have showed a beautiful approach to NAIDOC by sharing multi-generational stories. Today we have a real treat.

It was my absolute privilege to interview Aunty Jean Phillips for NAIDOC Week 2018.

Aunty Jean Phillips is one of our most senior Aboriginal Christian Leaders of all denominations, a beautiful example of ecumenism. She was born on Cherbourg mission over 80 years ago and is still doing full time ministry. Aunty Jean started out in ministry with the AIM (Aborigines Inland Mission) and for over 60 years Aunty Jean has faithfully followed Jesus, focussing on justice, and serving those living in poverty. She has served many Aboriginal communities, churches of all denominations, raised up the next generations of Aboriginal Christian leaders, and has called non-Aboriginal Christians to come on the journey with us for decades.

She is thankful for those that have answered the call.

In this interview Aunty Jean honours the women who have served alongside her and those that have gone before who were her inspiration. Her stories are the reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants, Aboriginal Christian women who God raised up. Aboriginal Christian women who were denied an education, denied a wage, and who were not treated as citizens. These were and are courageous warriors whose love and faith are inspirational.

Please take 10 minutes of dedicated time today to listen to Aunty Jean and take on her message as one of the great’s who through her work for Jesus has helped to change our nation. Please share her message far and wide.

May Aunty Jean’s work continue through each of you, as you take up her challenge to support Aboriginal Christian leaders, Aboriginal ministries, and amplify Aboriginal Christian voices – past, present, and future, whilst never forgetting those who suffer injustice and poverty in this land we now call Australia.

Aunty Jean has so much to share with us, to me she is a national living treasure. Let us all, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, take up her heart and her challenge and help to as Aunty Jean says, “To build a better Australia for all Australians”.

Lord may it be so.

Can you play this video in your Church?

To honour Aunty Jean, we're asking your church to make space this Sunday to play her video interview in your services as part of your involvement celebrating Aboriginal Christian women this NAIDOC Week 2018.

Download the Video Interview (40mb)

This post is the sixth in our NAIDOC Week series "Because of her, we can!" celebrating Aboriginal Christian women who have shaped our lives, our churches and our nation. NAIDOC Week Artwork by Cheryl Moggs.


Ally Jensen
Nations: Wiradjuri (NSW)

'This painting is exploring a dream Ally had of the grief she had around culture lost. The artwork was done in a series of 2 or 3 dreams Ally had leading up to The Grasstree Gathering and at The Grasstree Gathering in Sydney, March 2018. The red thread of dots symbolise the loss of Ally's ancestors and the brown is for Ally and her ancestors connection to country and to land. The yellow grows stronger as Hope appears.'

Throughout this week we are sharing artworks from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who are part of The Grasstree Gathering network. These artworks are being shared with permission of the artists, and are not to be copied or reproduced. They are currently on display at The Grasstree Gathering Art Exhibition at Newtown Mission in Sydney, available for public viewing this coming weekend. If you would like to purchase an artwork from the artist please email [email protected].

"Because of her, we can" - NAIDOC Week 2018