Tell us a little about you
I am an Aboriginal Christian Leader and a descendant of the Waka Waka peoples. I was born in Cairns and grew up in, and now reside in Redcliffe on Gubbi Gubbi country so Redcliffe is very much home.
I was raised with my younger sister in a single parent home by my Mum who inspires me by her strength, passion, loyalty and by helping others less fortunate then we were.
I become a Christian 17 years ago at the age of 21.
I am the Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and Co-ordinator of The Grasstree Gathering. I work ecumenically speaking on issues of Justice affecting our nation and sharing a message of Reconciliation as friendship. I am a speaker, a writer, a community pastor, and justice advocate. I have a vision "to build an Australia built on truth, justice, love and hope".
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
My favourite bible passage is actually the very first bible passage I ever read. My friend Natalie had given me my first bible but she forgot to tell me how to read it so I just randomly opened it up and the first thing I ever read in the bible was 1 Peter 1:3 - 9. This verse, 1 Peter 1:8 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy", described exactly how I was feeling in that moment after first becoming a Christian and has guided me through my life to never forget that inexpressible and glorious joy I felt in November 2001.
My other favourite bible passage is Job 12:7-10 as it reminds me of my God appointed role to care for the land and waters, just as over 2,000 generations of my family have.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I couldn't do what I do every day without my eyes fixed on Jesus. It's knowing that every time I hear a racist comment in the church, Jesus is there to place his hands on the scar. It's feeling Jesus walking beside me in rallies and marches fighting for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It's seeing Jesus weep with me as we see the brokenness, injustice, and poverty in this land we now call Australia.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
There are two things. The first is we can argue about our leadership as women not being recognised in the church or we can just get on with leading - I choose to get on with leading.
The second is that Christians have a lead role in bringing hope and healing to this land we now call Australia through recognising the true history of Australia and that that true history involves stolen land, stolen wages, and stolen generations. There is still much pain for Aboriginal peoples today from the past and the present. Nelson Mandela once said, "Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation" - the generation that acknowledges Aboriginal peoples pain and injustice and that sees true healing and Reconciliation come to Australia.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
One of the hardest things I have been through is a church denomination closing down the Aboriginal church I was running. For this denomination it was the only Aboriginal church they had in all of Australia. The church had a huge children's ministry with 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children attending every week, and many families and lives impacted by the ministry. Those lives were impacted spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially. This was also a denomination where I had come to faith as a 21 year old. What God taught me through this is that he is bigger than any denomination and showed me how we are called to be the church simply by following Jesus and it was then he opened up my ecumenical world which has enriched my faith and relationships right across Australia and the world.
What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about truth, justice, love, and hope. I believe this is the call of every Christian. I also believe this is a special call to Australia. We need truth about our past, justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, love for all peoples, and then through truth, justice and love, we can have hope for a better tomorrow.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I love watching sunrises and sunsets - it's like God paints us a new painting twice a day. I like being out in nature and creation. When I rest I like to hear only noises created by God - the warble of the magpie, the laugh of the kookaburra, the splash of the pelican landing on the water, the wind rustling through the leaves of the gum tree, the crash of the wave on the beach, the water trickling over the rocks in the creek.