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Rev Janet Staines

Rev Janet Staines – Chair Presbytery of Moreton Rivers on International Women’s day

By Andrew McKaysmith – Synod writer and content creator. 

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of women across society. Rev Janet Staines was asked if she’d like to share a few words on the topic. 

Rev Janet has been involved in ministry for 27 years. Through her faith journey, she has studied the gospel and notes that very few women are written about in scripture as holding positions of influence or power. 

Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, both witnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, are prominent women in the story of Christ; however, few other women are mentioned as holding vital roles. Exceptions are Miriam, who was Moses’ protector and sister; Deborah, the liberator of the Israelites and fierce military leader; Phoebe, a benevolent figure and crucial to the foundation of Christian Theology; then there’s Lydia of Thyatira. 

Rev Janet said that one of the challenges in her journey to faith has been to try and identify with women’s experiences of Christ in their lives, which is why she singled out the story of Lydia. “Lydia is portrayed as having title and power; she gave Paul lodging as he travelled,” she said. “Without women like Lydia, Jesus’ ministry may not have spread. So they’re rarely spoken of or seen as essential. However, they are.”

Lydia’s courage meant that she could have hosted the first-ever church from her home, which was in a society ambivalent toward Jesus’ ministry and especially hostile towards women who associated with men to whom they were not married or related. 

Rev Janet’s parents were ministers, and she started her journey through ministry in the Salvation Army, in which she held a role for 16 years before arriving at the Uniting Church. She said she has worked to understand faith from the point of equality and asked herself how God saw her performing a role in ministry. “One of the major challenges is that the Christian faith has been interpreted through men’s eyes, words and experiences,” she said. “However, as a woman, I have found a ministerial space in the Uniting Church.” 

Click here to learn more about International Women’s Day through the eyes of the Synod.


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