Christian justice movement Common Grace has announced Aboriginal leader Brooke Prentis will be their new Chief Executive Officer, beginning in 2020.
“I am super excited to lead a movement, especially a growing Christian movement, when we see so many churches declining in number. I think central to that growth is that Common Grace is about Jesus and justice – you can’t separate Jesus from justice – and I believe that appeals to people and it’s a key reason I follow Jesus” Prentis told Eternity.
“So, to share that message, a message which needs to be shared with Australia and the world, with even more people and to do that as the leader of this movement is, as I said before, super exciting.”
Prentis is a Wakka Wakka woman who has been Common Grace’s Aboriginal Spokesperson since shortly after its launch in November 2014.
During that time, Prentis has become, in journalist Andrew West’s words, “one of the most prominent and eloquent Indigenous leaders in the church today.” She speaks at Christian events and appears regularly on ABC television program The Drum.
Prentis brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role of CEO of Common Grace, which describes itself as “an online Australian Christian movement for justice” of “over 44,000 members”. It “exists to inspire and organise Australian Christians to think, speak and act like Jesus for a more just world”.
“Her deep love for Jesus, passion for justice, prophetic voice, heart for the Australian church and governance know-how are an incredible combination.” – Natalie Williams, Common Grace Board Chair
Natalie Williams, Common Grace Board Chair, said they were “thrilled” to have Brooke take on the role of CEO.
“Her deep love for Jesus, passion for justice, prophetic voice, heart for the Australian church and governance know-how are an incredible combination,” Williams said. “We are so looking forward to seeing what emerges for Common Grace in 2020 and beyond.”
Prentis also is coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering – an event that draws together young and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders from right across the Australian church, to be encouraged and equipped.
In addition, she is a chartered accountant who has been a senior finance professional for more than 15 years, including seven years as an auditor with Ernst & Young. She has held positions in Top 100 ASX companies, government, and not-for-profits. Prentis has expertise in governance, currently serves on a number of Boards, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Prentis is also a founding board member of NAIITS Australia (through which she is studying a Masters of Theology) and is a scholar of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.
“You can’t separate Jesus from justice.” – Brooke Prentis
On numerous occasions, Prentis has articulated her vision “to build an Australia built on truth, justice, love and hope”. As Prentis told Eternity in 2018, she has always had a passion for social justice.
“I guess the pursuit of justice was instilled in me from when I was a small child. Definitely before I was a Christian. But it has certainly been strengthened since I became one,” she said. “I could always see that not everyone had the same start in life.”
Yet Prentis also says there was a time when she felt disillusioned by how other Christians were unwilling to “roll up their sleeves” and get into the work of social justice. For her, the mission of the church and social justice were “one and the same”.
In this new role, Prentis will have more opportunity than ever to inspire other Christians to see the connection between their faith and social justice. And it’s an opportunity that she certainly isn’t taking lightly.
“It is an honour to be the CEO of Common Grace and get to meet, encourage, inspire, and create community with followers of Jesus from all across these lands now called Australia, from every different denomination, church and community,” she said.
“My Mum always taught me that every single person impacts your life, so to learn from each person. When I first became a Christian, Jesus, taught me that whenever I look into someone else’s eyes I see Jesus and that I am called to love all peoples. So, to be able to take Jesus’ message of love and justice around Australia is an honour.”