Maybe it’s just me, and/or being English (with so many variations of grey & green, and rain, and the landscape romanticism of Turner & Constable et al in my bones and soul) - but I do love the subtleties of grey, green and other colours which sometimes break through to differentiate the otherwise generally wonderful Australian coastal climate (so beautiful but sometimes a little overdoing primary colours and bright starkness?). Rain too is often all or nothing. Today however there is that kind of gentle drizzle which is so healing and refreshing - such that, like a tender massage, it illuminates the natural beauty of Jellurgal (aka Burleigh Heads) and exfoliates it afresh. Sea and sky, beach and bush, meeting and merging with one another in different ways. Why, even the brazen towers of Surfers Paradise are washed in mist and disappear from view!...
Wow! It was quite a roller-coaster ride of a farewell Eucharist last Sunday - with such wonderful people at Milton Anglicans that it is so hard to leave behind...
For (too) many years, with others, I've coaxed and cajoled. Sadly though, at this transition point, I’m going to have to say it clearly once more - many ‘affirming’ church leaders truly frustrate me and are major problematic parts of the continuing ‘issues’ that churches and wider society have with sexuality & gender Individually some church leaders can be quite kindly in disposition, as well as otherwise gifted, but as a body they are a key element of the (straight) problem we have, alongside the bigots they refuse to face down publicly. It also sometimes feels like they are stuck in a time warp. For two things stand out...
Whoops! In downsizing, I nearly discarded my Ph.D research notes - containing so many first-hand accounts of first wave Christian feminists - even now they bring tears of sorrow, admiration and joy at their amazing courage, resilience and achievements. The blue boxes too are full of the names, brief bios, and references to key speeches, articles and acts of so many different women, and some men (even clergy), from across faith and other backgrounds - I tend to call them my ‘cloud of witnesses’: part of the real ‘apostolic succession’ and historical genealogy of those who have passed the torch of love and liberation. #standingontheshouldersofgiants #shouldertoshoulder #passiton
As I come, this Saturday, to give my final lecture as a St Francis College Brisbane staff member, it is poignant to do so on the subject of ‘The Vocation of Anglicanism’. In that light, it is such a delight to find today an Ad Clerum from Bishop David Jenkins - written in 1993, in the white heat of conflict, as the final legal steps for the ordination of women went through Parliament. It is a typical +David description of the Anglican (Church of England) spirit in which I was raised - so far from so much that passes as Anglican in some places today - not least these key points which also sit so happily with the UCA ‘Basis of Union’ ...
As we are clearing out accumulated possessions for our impending move, we are finding some wonderful memory treasures. Here is one beautiful reminder of creative Durham days (and there were many) - this from a wonderful ecumenical/community event in Crook (geographical centre of County Durham). I still love this liturgy (and the people who went with it ), and I suspect yours truly must have had a hand in it (not least with those readings from Red Letter Theatre and Josephine Butler - that’s a give away!). I’d forgotten that Jan Berry song (‘Song for a Journey), but it (and the final prayer ‘What can one person do?’) seem pretty much on the ball right now:
Shake me out of dull religion
Leaving forms and fears behind:
Give me trust to travel freely,
Spirit-searching not confined.
I sometimes feel that having a healthy living faith in many Christian circles is like being one of the dolphins in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - trying to mobilise those who still have some humanity to the urgent need to respond to the impending destruction of their church and world - and, if there is no response, joining together to establish alternate realities where we can flourish properly...
I am deeply humbled and thrilled to announce that I am again being called to ministry in Sydney - as the next Minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church. This is a wonderful high profile progressive faith community which gathers on Gadigal land in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. After much reflection and careful discernment with the Uniting Church, Penny and I believe that this is the very best way in which I can serve with others in nurturing faith, love and hope in the next few years (from 1 March 2021) - as well as, very happily, being again close to family in Australia. I extend my thanks and blessings to all with whom I have journeyed in the past and to those I look forward to joining soon...
I am delighted by friends and colleagues who have been working on a project for May-June 2021 entilted From Biscuits to Bishop: Changing women, changing church - A celebration of Anglican women’s history in Brisbane Diocese. From Biscuits to Bishop is a multimedia exhibition celebrating Anglican women . The digital exhibition, to be launched in mid-2021, will be complemented by a display of objects and memorabilia in St John’s Cathedral Brisbane...
I am humbled and honoured to be included in the Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders 2020 Report by Deloittes, particularly because of the extraordinary leaders who have been included from so many fields and the encouragement it provides for others. It is just wonderful to see the range of amazing people and their work. I am not least thankful for this recognition of both the transgender community locally and nationally and also affirming people of faith, not least Equal Voices, whom my inclusion signifies and celebrates. It is amazing that there are indeed two Anglican priests included, with myself and my friend Fr Stuart Soley from St Mark's Fitzroy in Melbourne - a hopeful sign of some progress and positive future in our sadly contested faith spaces.
For more information and the full #out50 list click here.
Jo Inkpin an Anglican priest, trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.