Brooke Prentis launches our NAIDOC Week Series, "Because of her, we can!" with a powerful reflection on the women who have shaped her life, and the opportunity for us all this NAIDOC Week.
Aunty Sharon Minniecon
|Rev Mark Wormell is the Senior Minister at St John's Anglican Church in Glebe where he ministers alongside Aunty Sharon Minniecon who has faithfully served God through Christian ministry for more than 40 years.|
Aunty Sharon Minniecon is an Ugar (Stephen Island) woman. She was born in Ayr in North Queensland. Her grandmother was from Stephen Island in the Torres Strait. She is one of 13, and counts herself as a fifth generation Christian. Her three children comprise the sixth generation.
Aunty Sharon married Ray Minniecon, who became an ordained pastor within the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship. They have supported each other in a wide range of ministries over the last 42 years. The places they have worked include La Perouse, SW Western Australia, Redfern and Glebe. Most of the time Aunty Sharon has worked in Aboriginal health and education and pastoral work. She currently works with St John’s Glebe as a community worker and pastor in its emergency relief program.
Bare facts say little of the inspiration that Aunty Sharon is and has been to so many. With Ray, over many years, she has listened to and helped children of the stolen generation, most recently through the ‘Journey of Learning Through Loss, Grief and Trauma’ within Anglican Deaconess Ministries.
For 12 years she has helped shape and promote the Gawura School for Indigenous children within St Andrew’ Cathedral School, and has helped children find an educational home there.
Aunty Sharon has modelled the heart of Reconciliation in many ways, including after she and Ray lost their job and accommodation when the Anglican Church closed down Crossroads at Redfern. Despite those hurts she and Ray have made their new home at St John’s, Glebe, where they have established and run Scarred Tree ministries, a church within a church, that supports and provides a focus for worship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Glebe. From there she consults widely with local community groups, giving her unique perspective on the needs of her people.
Because of Aunty Sharon, several generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have felt the love of Jesus. They have been heard, comforted, healed, educated and supported in many practical ways. She has inspired many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to take action and make a difference, and she has inspired the love and admiration of many non-Aboriginal people, including me.
The word most people use of Aunty Sharon is ‘amazing’, but she would waive that praise away and get on with her next project.
– written by Rev Mark Wormell.