an introductory reflection offered to a recent NSW Ecumenical Council discussion by Josephine Inkpin
Firstly let me acknowledge country – in particular the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation on which I live: their elders past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge all First Nations people here. I do so as right and proper. I also do so as this immediately focuses our discussions. For I live in a suburb (Forest Lodge) named after the house of Ambrose Foss, one of Pitt Street Uniting Church’s distinguished early founders. Next door is the suburb of Glebe: a name also witnessing to Christianity’s role in the dispossession of First Nations peoples. Such naming highlights how so many of our conventional expectations and faith stories are tied up with power. This lies at the heart of many divisions, embedded in our ways of thinking and being. Thanks be for God’s grace, these things are not intractable. Yet, without at least naming them, we will not go far in addressing the polarisation they help cause...
Delightful to meet Dr Joseph Osawa tonight, with us in Toowoomba this week to lead conflict resolution workshops. A Japanese American, with degrees from Harvard and the University of Southern California, Dr Ozawa has been a psychologist since 1980, working at very high levels, including for the Singapore government as a Senior Consultant Psychologist and as former Senior Director of the Family and Juvenile Justice Centre of the Subordinate Courts. An Active Anglican preacher, he has also been a licensed lay pastor at Saint Andrew's Cathedral of Singapore. In late 2003, St Andrew's sent him and his wife out as 'tentmaking missionaries', counseling especially amongst the homeless and lonely. A consultant with World Vision International, he has a wealth of experience in pastoral & missionary care, cross cultural issues, domestic problems (violence, substance abuse, etc) , medical-psychological healthcare integration and mental disorders, and stress & trauma recovery (including in post-tsunami recovery). What another lovely gift he is our city! Here is a little taste of his wisdom for parents and schools:
My suggestion to parents is focus more on the heart values, home values, and spiritual values for their children, rather than just the material, external kind of things. "If you have a good home and a bad school life, you still can survive.If you have a good school life and a bad home, you can still survive.But if you have a bad home and a bad school, then you're in trouble."
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.