It was a delight today to host a local - Toowoomba - launch of Aunty Mary Mitchell's autobiography Mary's Story (published by Mulga Mob Publishing) A wonderful Aboriginal lady. Aunty Mary has been at the loving heart of her family, community and church throughout her life and her story is one of heartache and joy. Born in 1938 at a place called Bob's Hut, Tilbooroo Station, Eulo in Queensland, she has lived her whole life around the Cunnamulla/Eulo area. She has been in Toowoomba recently to receive an award from the Cancer Council for her wonderful voluntary work and it seemed too good an opportunity not to celebrate her life together with others and share her book more widely.
We were joined today by a very good mix of family and friends from Toowoomba and much further west, form church and much wider community relationships. It was another living witness of how community building and Reconciliation is all about people, embodied in marvelous examples like Aunty Mary.
This morning a number of members of the Toowoomba Goodwill Committee met at St. Luke's to consider ways to strengthen our city wide work of peace and harmony in the face of violent events overseas. Several of us in Toowoomba have been to Paris in recent years to speak and work with UNESCO on peacemaking in our world. So there is a particular extra poignant sadness among us at the recent events in the French capital. Our hearts and prayers also however go out to those who have suffered similarly in Beirut and other places in recent days. All this reinforces our need to work more closely together for peace at all levels, to educate and address religious bigotry, and to extend a compassionate and informed welcome to refugees who are escaping from just the kind of horrors the media has reported.
We join with the Taize Community in France in the following prayer:
Eternal God, we want our thoughts and acts to be based on your presence which is the source of our hope.
We entrust to you the victims of the attacks in Paris and in Beirut, and in so many other places and their families and friends as they mourn.
With believers of all backgrounds we call upon your name and pray: may your peace come to our world.
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.