At the invitation of the Hindus for Human Rights organisation, was a great delight to host a beautiful gathering for the International Day of Peace this year. We even had SBS come to video and interview participants as part of the forthcoming Insight program on what is happening with faith commitments in Australia. A segment will be featured on the program as an example of people of faith working together for the common good and building up not casting down or dividing..
Not an original reflection I’m sure, but sometimes it becomes apparent that being a hitherto lifelong, if very ecumenical, Anglican (liberal Catholic variety) in the Uniting Church as an institution is like being an Apple using cat in a Microsoft dog world - fortunately I do love dogs (generally so much more outwardly friendlier and more sociable for one thing - except when roused or bemused lol - than many felines ) and I can operate Windows operating systems positively (though I can’t stop thinking occasionally how other creative wonks and wrinkles might offer a few possible ecclesial improvements as well as save time and help creativity ). Handiest of all, I also don’t really believe in binaries. But it can be a wee bit taxing at times.
PS I’m really really not sure about this cartoon as an analogy - certainly mainstream Anglicanism is thankfully both equippped with a clearer, simpler and less fussy system (well, yes, ‘method’ to be more accurate - what kind of a cat wants a ‘system’?!) but, unlike Apple. it is also so very messy (and hence actually freer in some organisational respects, than some of its self-assuming ‘freer’ ‘alternatives’). Meanwhile, within its dog context, Pitt Street UC tends of course to be its own kind of animal with some of its own distinctive operating features! Who said ministry was a journey of continuing education?
I am praying in the next few days for women in the many denominations of the Church, as some of my dearest Australian Anglican friends gather in Sydney for a Movement for the Ordination of Women gathering to mark the 30th anniversary of Anglican women's ordination in Australia. Due partly to family circumstances, neither Penny not I are attending ourselves. To be honest, we were also quite saddned that our offer of hosting an ecumenical communion service at Pitt Street UC was rejected - leaving the conference with no public female-led Anglican communion, due to Sydney diocese gynophobic policies. We had also hoped that, with such Anglican female sacramental leadership, this might be a way of connecting, celebrating, and empowering women from many traditions. It seemed a creative way of both honouring the more militant character of MOW, without which women would all still be waiting, and also contribute to the vital tasks of intersectional solidarity we need today. However we truly and warmly wish everyone well and hope that it may help renew the continuing work of Christian feminism which remains so vital...
To admit my own mixed family history (including being fair to my mother, a gentle royalist), one of our ancestors actually preached the Restoration sermon for the last King Charles of England in Gloucester Cathedral (I have a copy). What is particularly interesting about him is that he was one of the few pre-Civil War clergy who survived as a parish priest (in the Cotswolds) through all the upheavals of the 1630s-1660s, and (unlike the fabled Vicar of Bray) was clearly held in continuing high esteem - despite being hauled before Presbyterian and Congregationalist inquiries (including the Parliamentary Committee which dismissed errant Ministers) whilst also coming under some attack from ultra-royalists/episcopalians. Maybe having run-ins with church structures, and being attacked from various different quarters, is in my blood?!...
It is a bit of a tricky time for some of us right now with the tsunami of royalist outpourings - not least those like me, who, in Australia, also struggle with general Australian assumptions that, being English, we must therefore be monarchists. I’ve been trying to avoid the subject - and especially the media frenzy - but I guess, as I keep being asked about it, I’m trying to find a kind but honest answer. So I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but other things should also be said...
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.