Jesuit justice centre "unsustainable"

Sydney-based Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, established in 1989, will close in May after the research institute's board concluded that it would not be sustainable over the long term.

In a public announcement yesterday, the Australian Jesuit Province says that the centre will cease operations after 18 years of research, advocacy and public education on matters of social concern to the Australian community.

A letter to supporters earier this month from Uniya Council Chair Sr Libby Rogerson and Jesuit Provincial Fr Mark Raper said that, while the organisation had received great support, it was not going to be sustainable over the long term.

According to the Jesuit's Province Express, they said Uniya's legacy of promoting a faith that does justice will continue through other bodies, such as Jesuit Social Services, Loyola Institute, Jesuit Theological College and the online magazine Eureka Street.

Uniya publications and website documents will also continue to be accessible through the Jesuit Refugee Service, which is enhancing its research and public policy capacity, the statement said.

"We recognise and value the leadership and service of past and present directors and staff, and we thank them", the letter from Sr Rogerson and Fr Raper said.

"We offer renewed thanks to the many who have volunteered their time, talents and resources to make Uniya programs so successful."

The letter also thanked St Canice's Church in the Sydney eastern suburb of Elizabeth Bay, which leases out the office space to Uniya, and the current staff, director Mary Bryant and senior researcher Mark Byrne.

"We take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to you who have generously and faithfully supported Uniya over many years. We invite you to continue to participate in the Province's mission to relieve the burdens on those most in need in our community and join in seeking a more just Australia," the letter added.

Founded by Jesuit public intellectual Fr Frank Brennan, Uniya was named after the first Jesuit mission to Aboriginal people established in 1886 in the Northern Territory's Daly River area.

The Uniya model was built on the experience of earlier Jesuit-created bodies such as the Institute of Social Order and the Asian Bureau of Australia.

In recent years, Uniya has focused much of its attention on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, Indigenous rights and Australia's role in the Pacific and South East Asia.

Uniya to close in May (Province Express, 21/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
Uniya (old website)
Uniya (Wikipedia)
Jesuit Province Australia | Province Express
Jesuit Social Services
Eureka Street

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22 Mar 2007