It has been good to contribute recently to a number of faith-based initiatives which are seeking to engage constructively with ecological challenges. Edited by the excellent Dr Clive Ayre, one of the Australian leading thinkers in this field, the latest journal of the Australian Association of Mission Studies is for example focused on these issues. It was an honour therefore to contribute some of my thinking and experience of the, often disconnected, relationships between Reconciliation, Ecology and Mission, particularly positively in relation to local projects in Queensland. It has also been good to hear of planning for the first national conference (this September) of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and to begin to link up more closely with that work in which I shared in Sydney. Meanwhile the Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) has been moving forward with its own climate change awareness and advocacy, on behalf of Australian Anglicans as a whole. Some of its work and plans can be found here, including an article I was pleased to contribute from my experience in the Philippines and eco-theological studies. The article itself is also to be found below (just click "Read More"). All these things seem such small steps but together, by God's grace, we can make a difference...
On behalf of Angligreen, it was a delight yesterday to share in the 'Debate the Preacher' series at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane, exploring environmental ethics. I found myself drawing on recent experience of Aboriginal approaches to land and the cosmos. These can be part, I believe, of ways of re-reading our world, ethics, bible and sacred traditions which enable a fresh and more fruitful Pentecostal understanding of life. Through this, we are challenged and inspired to eco-Living in the Spirit. For, to our loss, we have so confined our understanding of Pentecost to human, and often restricted personal and ecclesiastical, experience. Instead, Pentecost perhaps offers us vital ways in to more fruitful engagement with the heart of many of our contemporary challenges, not least ecological ones, as well as cross-cultural and inter-religious. Not for nothing is Pentecost understood theologically as a new creation. Check out my address here.
As part of the Toowoomba Churches Together marking of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Toowoomba Ecumenical Environmental Network held a vigil prayer on the evening of 4 June in St Luke's for World Environment Day. We were joined by Emily Gentle, a local resident whose family still live in Kiribati. She spoke movingly about the challenges faced by Kiribati, not least those of climate change upon such a vulnerable Pacific community. This brought home to us the realities of small island states which are the focus of the UN's World Environment Day this year. In the words of the collect I wrote for Angligreen this year, may we therefore act and pray:
Holy God, source of all life and unity,
we give you thanks for the gifts of the small islands and oceans of our world.
As the Holy Spirit moves upon the waters of new life,
grant that we too may share in your renewing love,
hearing the groans of creation and raising our voices in solidarity,
that your will may be done, and all creation share in the waves of your embrace.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom all things are reconciled. Amen.
It was a great delight this last Sunday evening to share in the Archbishop of Brisbane's commissioning of our diocesan Angligreen committee for this year. This was the first time such a commissioning has occurred and, taking place in St John's Cathedral, was a beautiful and prayerful symbol of Anglican intent to place ecological concerns at the heart of our life, just as it is in the very centre and being of God. The Dean, Peter Catt, gave an excellent address to complement this meaning of the occasion (very much 'belonging with, belonging to, belonging in'): click here for a copy.
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.