Studying for History of Evangelicalism, I came across Jane Barker, wife of Frederic Barker who was the Bishop of Sydney in the mid-19th century. I love finding stories in history of fiery women with a heart to see people in Australia know the Lord Jesus.
From Stuart Piggin’s Evangelical Christianity in Australia: Spirit, word and world:
On 16 July 1855, Jane Barker recorded in her diary that one of the Sydney clergy had influenced the younger clergy by decreeing that “it is as much a duty in the upper classes to attend balls and such places as for doctors to visit the sick”. She immediately added, “May our gracious God pour out His spirit upon this colony and cause a revival to take place among the dry bones.”
On November 1855 the Barkers gathered with their evangelical clergy and their wives and held the first of what was to become a monthly prayer meeting. The Barkers did not imagine that planning and strategy were any substitute for the Spirit of God. Jane made the point quite explicit in her diary: “While doing our best to set an efficient agency to work, we must not forget to implore the blessing of the good Spirit who alone can put life into the machinery or cause the dry bones to live.”
On the prospect of getting a garden going at Bishopscourt, she enthused: “But how much more earnestly do we desire to see this moral and spiritual wilderness fertilised by showers of divine grace and yielding fruit a hundred fold to the glory of God.”
This wasn’t just a woman who ‘got on board’ with her husband’s agenda – both of their hearts beat for revival in Australia and they worked for it together. Love it!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.