Such a delight to be partnering with renowned community artists Jyllie Jackson OAM and her Lismore LightnUp team on the Queer Angels project - part of our Faith @ World Pride initiatives. Two of the larger Queer Angels are now in production in Lismore - despite the latest bout of flooding - part of our Faith @ World Pride initiatives at Pitt Street Uniting Church Sydney with Equal Voices and other faith and community partners.
One day I hope Australian Churches (and all elsewhere) will actively celebrate, support and promote gender diverse people - essentially passive, patchy ‘inclusion’ is so not good enough (as the UCA and the best parts of the ACA really should know by now). In the meantime, I encourage those who will, and can, to use the resources trans and other gender diverse people are producing - and personally, for the upcoming Trans Day of Remembrance this year (a Sunday - so no excuses church folk - 20 November) this year, I offer two new hymns (to well known traditional tunes) and a couple of the prayers I’ve created in the past
(a few more bits too at https://www.transspirit.org/celebrating-gender-diversity...)
- but hey, this is an opportunity to talk to trans and gender diverse folk and do the work of catching up with our gifts and genius, including so much that is life-giving in published form - Tina Beardsley, Austen Hartke, Shay (Shannon) Kearns, Rachael Mann, J Mase III, just to name a few for a start. Celebration and solidarity with trans people is part of the transformation and liberation of us all :-)
It is (sadly) interesting to me that, whilst I am a lifelong Anglican, and one with decades of helping lead Anglican teaching and formation, my mother Church tradition rarely asks me to contribute to ways out of its neurotic obsessions with sexuality and gender, whereas others in other spaces do (‘a prophet is not without honour’ and all that?).
Here is a latest offering, with thanks to The Sisters of the Good Samaritan for the opportunity to offer a brief perspective on how flourishing LGBTIQA+ lives flow out core elements of Catholic wisdom down the centuries - not least in considering family, the Body, natural law, the imago dei, and God’s grace in Creation.
‘this is about reclaiming Catholic emphases on the centrality of God’s grace in the diverse expressions of creation and incarnation, rather than imposing false ideas of sin and shame on those who are actually gifts to help lead us into greater life together.
LGBTIQA+ people of faith do not need welcome, or inclusion, for we are already at home with God, as family members and part of Christ’s Body, wholly natural, and imaging the divine in our diverse ways. What we do need is space to flourish, and thereby we can enable others to flourish also.’ See link to the article iFlourishing Together' in The Good Oil here - or text below...
Among the several fine contributions to last Saturday’s ‘Voice and the Church’ gathering was that by the Revd Dr Rangi Nicholson, Assistant Priest of Rangiatea Church, the oldest Māori Anglican Church in Aotearoa, and author of ‘Treaty, Church and Nation’, reminding us that though our own struggles are specific they are also common and enriched by solidarity with others across the globe. He spoke powerfully of what needs doing from Māori and Anglican experience in Aotearoa New Zealand - including how, without meaningful resources empowerment is limited, and how the Church needs to be held accountable for benefitting from oppression. There is so much, he rightly identified, that the Church needs to do in terms of recognition, repentance, restitution and reparation.
His three future hopes are pertinent to struggles in Australia too, and beyond:
1. More commitment by the Church to truth telling and ‘the whole story’ - with repentance and reparations
2. the Church needs to put its own house in order re authentic partnership whilst offering constructive critique of Government’s commitment to the UN rights of Indigenous People, reimagining a more just Church and nation.
3. the need for the Church to contribute boldly and with love to a new constitution - to visioning and values clarification for the future of the country - as part of restorative justice
As he says:
Whilst Treaty, in the experience of Aotearoa, can be a ‘sacred covenant’ allowing new life and renewed attention, there needs to be much more - for:
‘Restorative justice needs to become a priority’ - led with young people...
Lovely to be back in an Anglican Church in Sydney today - actually conveniently my local one - for such a vital gathering today, organised by Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries. #VoiceAndTheChurch
Wonderful this afternoon, at Pitt St UC, to host pastors from the Asia-Pacific region of the EKD (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland) - a federation of Lutheran, Reformed and United Protestant churches - talking First Nations recognition, progressive theology, climate change, ecumenical fruitfulness and other good things
A beautiful gift of a scarf made by an Indian women’s project of the ecumenical Bangalore United Theological College was also received - a lovely blessing signifying love and faith across our global connections - not to mention chocolate too!
Important today to share in the ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) and Green Faith International Day of Action, including signing the open letter to our Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Energy calling for greater and more effective action. Our shared interfaith service at Parramatta Cathedral was also a beautiful sign of common commitment and prayer. As another attendee commented: 'It's not often you hear the Azan recited by a Muslim in church, or the Psalms chanted in Hebrew by a Jewish Rabbi!! Privileged to join the Faiths for Climate Justice Multifaith Service in St Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta this morning. Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and others, all united in prayer for our common home.'#NotAnotherDollar for coal & gas. #Faiths4Climate
Fahimah, co-president of the Muslim Collective, is such a good friend and inspiration to us at Pitt Street UC, and beyond, and she expresses so well (in her words and, crucially, her deeds) the purpose of all good faith - to strengthen lives of all kinds and nurture the common good - so horribly betrayed by some ‘religious’ folk #lovenotpelvicorthodoxy
Such a joy to sit and walk with her again recently - not least in the SBS Insight program in which we both shared. This explored what is happening with religion in Australia, particularly with the rise of 'nones' (people saying they affiliate with no religion) and 'dones' (those still people of faith but disenchanted with their inherited brand). It was moving, and sometimes challenging, to hear stories of pain and hurt as part of this, as well as some stories of life and liberation. Fahimah's words were part of the blessed insights the great Wisdom traditions can still offer - if they grow up and become more fully divinely human in their recognition and affirmation of everyone's human dignity and questions.
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.