address to the Eco-Iftar 2023, lead organised by Muslim Collective,
at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, by the Revd Dr Josephine Inkpin...
Such a great joy to preside at this wedding today (with communion too), in such a beautiful special setting - and, in this case, finally beating the pandemic (restrictions, postponements, and one of the grooms getting COVID-19 just a couple of weeks ago!) plus the wettest start to a Sydney year on record.
#lovetriumphs #loveislove #reasonstolovetheunitingchurch
Loving the creative hearts beginning to appear from folks at Pitt Street - here are a few examples (my current favourite being a fellow trans person’s ‘Love’ heart - as I know that comes from a deep journey ) - part of our #returningourhearts Lenten theme, as part of ‘repairing the breach’.
It was a deeply poignant yet beautiful Midnight Mass tonight in St Thomas' Church in Market Rasen. I had indeed had a yearning for one more such communion in the cold and dark and the depths of the symbolism and mystery it reflects - but not for years to come and not like this. The nave altar stood precisely where my parents’ coffins had been just two days before, the mood and singing was subdued by masks and the pandemic, numbers reduced and the liturgy unexuberant. Yet the magic, the miracle, persists - light in the very darkness, glory in the mire and sorrow, enfleshed spirit in our mixed up midst - and eucharistic participation on this, of all occasions, remains so truly special.
It was hard to move away into the night, for the last time to leave the church of my childhood and early formation, to step along the pathway into the marketplace one more time. The main street seemed even more deserted than ever as I made my return - even the wandering drunk had been spirited away. Walking the last part in silent darkness between the two cemeteries for the final time brought back the fullness of so many memories as well as profound emptiness and grief. For in the depths of our factual and metaphorical winters love can be reborn - just as a new dawn broke after the winter solstice on the morning of my parents’ funeral.
T.S.Eliot was partly right. ‘A cold coming’ it has indeed been - ‘just the worst time of year for a journey… the very dead of winter’, even without the Omicron wave and renewed distance and desolation - but we do not need to be ‘glad of another death.’ Birth, life and love happens always - divinity in the vulnerability of our flesh: Incarnation in our dark.
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’ ...
This week I received an email from a lawyer and Anglican working for the human rights of LGBTI people in Jamaica. It was a reminder of how far we still have to travel together as a world and of the urgent need for solidarity. Whatever other differences they may have, Anglican world leaders have frequently called on governments to decriminalise private consensual same-gender intimacy and this is surely something all Anglicans must seriously consider supporting actively, for example in signing the following online petition here...
Last night, as part of our Maundy Thursday journey, many of our parish members shared together in a Christian Seder meal, followed by our special celebration of communion with footwashing, stripping of the altars and (brief) prayer vigil. Although we have shared a seder meal in the past, it was a few years since we have done so and it proved very moving. A number of elements made it so, including the prayers, questions and answers, remembrance of the Exodus and other deliverances from oppression and evil, and the reading of psalms. The quality of the food and preparation was excellent and the joyful, Jewish-style, song, at the end also rounded things off beautifully. Perhaps most importantly of all however was the attention all these were given and the spirit of attentiveness further cultivated in and between all those who took part. Often, even in our prayer, family and community lives, we rush from one thing to another, risking just going through the motions. To take time to consider what we are doing is a valuable exercise, especially when it brings us to a deeper appreciation and communion with the food, people, and holy stories we share. After the seder meal, this deepened spirit of attentiveness flowed into our worship, bringing a more profound sense of so much within it, as we more truly 'celebrated the feast' of God's presence in, with and beyond us.
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.