It was huge thrill to share in the launch of our Faith@WorldPride initiatives at Pitt Strete Uniting tonight, as our first large and extraordinarily gorgeous 'queer angels' (Compassion, Courage and Joy) arrived, with the amazing Jyllie Jackson and her team from LightnUp in Lismore (our community arts and justice partners and inspirators). It was a wonderful opportunity to meet before the various Faith@WorldPride events next year and to share something about what we are all being and doing. In addition to tahking Jyllie and her team, we were also delighted to have our friends from Studio Commercial with us to take some group photos to complement the first batch of Queer Faces of Faith exhibition photos currently being taken.
More information in the Wine with Queer Anegls brochure here
It was as I was beginning to sing the praises of Professor Ann Loades my fabulous Ph.D supervisor the other day that I learned she had just died - having been such an extraordinary person and ground-breaking pioneer in theology and in the life of the Church of England, and wider Church, not least in Durham.
Meeting with Ann was always an occasion for me - whether in a coffee shop (and ideal set for Vera) in Newcastle upon Tyne on a Saturday morning, togged up as she was to teach ballet: or in a County Durham village when, out of her fierce compassion she told me firmly to take a term off combining research with social justice advocacy and church development (I sometimes hear her voice on that today!) as ‘too many women and children are left bereft by over-working spouses and parents having heart-attacks’.
Maybe above all I remember her cutting through the academic nonsense on so many things with keen telling intelligence - as when once I began to stress about maybe needing to write a substantial section in my Ph.D on definitions of feminism (though it was mainly a work of history): ‘rubbish’ she said (though she was eminently capable of writing several books hersrlf on the subject) ‘just put ’justice for women’’ ‘Of course’ I said ‘just like Josephine Butler!’ She laughed in her gorgeous full of life way and we both rejoiced. For, though she was an amazing, creative and accomplished pioneer, Ann always knew she too stood in a long line of Christian feminists (not least our fellow north east foremother Josephine Butler). Ann helped pass on the torch of judicious thought, justice and joy to so many of us - and we continue to honour her by keeping it bright and passing it on to others.
For a wonderful woman, a great mentor and inspiration, thanks be to God!
It has been an interesting week - this lunchtime helping to re-inter those unidentified people (all we think buried in the Congregationalist tradition) whose old Devonshire Street cemetery resting place was disturbed by new Sydney Metro developments at Central Station. One of those who were identified - Joseph Thompson - has a plaque in our Pitt Street (mother church of Congregationalism here) and ceremonies took place earlier. All human lives matter however and today’s ceremony is important in continuing to make connections of various kinds as well as bringing spiritual peace. With many thanks to everyone involved who have worked patiently and sensitively through the necessary protocols - and, not least to the Bidjigal and Gadigal ancestors and elders who have cared these places over so many more generations of life in which we are entwined.
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.