On the farewell of Marie-Claire Barth-Frommel

Marie-Claire Barth (l.) and Joyce Manarisip (Asia coordinator) at the Women's Conference, Mission Synod 2018 in Aarau. Photo: Mission 21

Marie-Claire Barth-Frommel decided at the age of 29 to go to Indonesia with the Basel Mission - a commitment that continued throughout her life. She was still actively involved as a translator for Indonesian guests at the mission house until shortly before her death. She also worked on ongoing book projects until the end and was able to finish them so that they could be published in Indonesia. As a theologian, mentor, teacher, sister, mother and grandmother, she touched and influenced numerous people. The deep connection to Indonesian churches, especially the Evangelical Church in Kalimantan (Borneo) and churches in Eastern Indonesia has made numerous projects and theological cooperation possible, which continue to have an impact today.

Her theological expertise as an Old Testament scholar and in feminist approaches, her gift for independent, critical, and free thinking, her art of connecting her theology to the contexts in which people, especially women, live in Indonesia, and creating new discourses again from her experiences, have greatly influenced generations of young and older women and men in churches and theological institutions.

Thanks to Marie-Claire Barth's work, her tireless commitment, her love for the people in Indonesia and the network of relationships that she actively cultivated until the end, countless women have grown up to become leaders and have taken on responsibility in service to people, for a life of peace and justice - in church congregations, in church leadership and in theological colleges.

Thanks to the building work of Marie-Claire Barth, we at Mission 21 in Indonesia today can draw on a wide network of active women and men, leaders and future leaders in our project and program work. This network allows us to continue to address gender inequities, empower young women and students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and further support the development of context-based, questioning, and feminist theologies.

Marie-Claire Barth-Frommel lived the Christian community and in deep humility before the Word of God. Social issues and the commitment to justice were always present in her work. Marie-Claire Barth-Frommel remains a role model for all of us and together with our brothers and sisters in Indonesia we want to preserve and carry on her legacy.

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