Reverend Tony Barker has a long established association with our University, developing a close partnership with the University Chaplaincy Council (as part-time Baptist Chaplain), and through Zion Baptist Church as a partner with Anglia Ruskin University in the European Shield Project to assist the homeless. He worked with the University's first full-time Chaplain at Cambridge, the Reverend Emma Percy, in establishing a permanent and regular Chaplaincy. His commitment to the community is widely acclaimed, actively supporting many local projects.
Tony was Chairman of Jimmy's Night Shelter (1994 - 2004), providing 10,000 beds spaces and meals per year for the homeless. He assumed a similar role with Cambridge Dial-A-Ride, enabling less mobile members of the community access to Cambridge's facilities through the provision of a fleet of fully staffed and specially equipped minibuses. He also supported Cambridge High Flyers, a service that provides mentors to aid the personal, social, moral and spiritual development of vulnerable children and young people in the community.
Tony Barker has been appointed as Regional Development Officer for the Methodist Bedfordshire, Essex & Hertfordshire and East Anglia Districts, the United Reformed Church Eastern and Thames North Provinces, the Eastern Baptist Association and the Diocese of St Albans to lead the response to all the new communities being formed in the East of England which will include more than 700,000 new homes. This is primarily to do with the interface between church and community, working with the national and local government, property developers and the third sector. Increasingly he is asked to work with all the Faith Communities present in the eastern region.
In 1998 Reverend Tony Barker was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University.
"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University to the Reverend Anthony Richard Barker, affectionately known throughout the land, and beyond, as 'Tony'.
This award is made in recognition of Tony's becoming an outstanding friend of Anglia Polytechnic University (APU) at Cambridge, where he developed, from its inception, a close partnership with the University Chaplaincy Council (and continues to exercise a role as part-time Baptist Chaplain to APU), and through Zion Baptist Church as a partner with APU in the European Shield Project to assist the homeless. Also, the University is most grateful to him for hosting the Graduation Ceremonies at Cambridge in the Zion Baptist Church for the past 4 years (although you will have realised that we are not there today!) and for accommodating special events like tomorrow's Thanksgiving Service, as well as providing much-needed accommodation for the Music Department. These aspects parallel closely the idealism and compassionate nature of the university family and are part and parcel, also, of Tony's commitment to the community at large and, not least of all, to the nearest next-door neighbour of Zion Baptist Church, none other than... Anglia Polytechnic University!
Tony worked with the University's first full-time Chaplain at Cambridge, the Reverend Emma Percy, in establishing in the University a permanent and regular Chaplaincy. Also, because of his interest in the history of the 'bricks and mortar' of Zion when, sadly, it had fallen on hard times, he collaborated with the Cambridge City Council in its restoration to the thing of beauty and life we know today. He is witness to the fact that when the Graduation Ceremonies were first held in the Zion Baptist Church "students were up in arms about the use of a 'religious' building." However, typical of the perversity of the human heart about which Jesus comments, these same voices (together with those of a number of staff members) were later extolling the virtues of Zion.
The Music Department is particularly indebted to the Reverend Tony for arranging for the provision of crucial space for teaching and musical instrument practice and Tony has informed me (and not this Guinness Book of Records) that currently Zion Baptist Church has more grand pianos per square metre of floor space than anywhere in the universe!
Tony's commitment to the community is widely acclaimed, though much of what he undertakes is realised discreetly, often only those actually involved being aware, and in this wonderful obsession he has been able to welcome APU members as volunteers to help with local projects like the provision of 10,000 beds and meals per year at Jimmy's Night Shelter, of which he is Chairman. Tony also assumes a similar role with Cambridge Dial-A-Ride Ltd which, through its link with the Cambridge Pensioners Fellowship, seeks to enable less mobile (usually elderly) members of the community, access to Cambridge's shopping centres, library and places of entertainment through the provision of a fleet of fully staffed minibuses fitted, also, to carry wheelchairs; and with Cambridge High Flyers Ltd, providing a beneficial service to help the personal, social, moral and spiritual development of vulnerable children and young people as individuals and responsible citizens within the community through the provision of mentors, like 'uncles and aunts'.
In all these initiatives Tony praises his congregation, colleagues, co-ordinators and exemplary managers, such that whilst we honour Tony this afternoon, he would give credit to the folk of Zion Baptist Church, hew would say this is their honour.
It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer the award of Honorary Fellow on the friend of this University and this community, the Reverend 'Tony'."