It was a huge delight to speak recently at Pilgrim College in the University of Divinity with the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies (see address here). I also received a wonderful gift of a handmade doorstop - a beautiful symbol for our times, and for queering theology! Talitha Fraser who is the creator explained their significance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns which literally, and in other ways, closed so many doors:
'I was lucky enough to get home (Aotearaoa) during a brief travel bubble. Many haven't had that chance and are missing friends and whanau we haven't been able to see in all too long. I found some NZ-designed fabric at an op shop while I was over there. To bring that back and make doorstops, a promise of doors being open, while we were locked-down felt like an action of resistance and hope. Then for a friend's birthday I incorporated Ruth Bader Ginsberg fabric celebrating dissent and we could honour those matriarchs who open doors for us as this friend has been for me. Here's to open doors.'
For part of my own use of Talitha's symbol, check out this Pitt Street reflection.
A beautiful time at Pitt Street this morning, thanks to the contemplative creativity of our wonderful team today - a lovely and much needed oasis of refreshment in these times during this season of Lent. We do love the very best of our Reformed heritage - but I guess we rarely do plain ‘plain’ at Pitt Street
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’.
As we merge from the worst of the recent Omicron Covid-19 wave, it was a great joy and delight to host the ordination of Stuart Sutherland in Pitt Street Uniting Church by the International Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, with other very good friends and Christian companions.
It has been good in recent weeks to link up with other Uniting Church members in forwarding our shared commitment to Walking Together with First Nations peoples in Sydney, and further afield. This has included marking the Day of Mourning (on the nearest Sunday to 26 January) at Pitt Street Uniting Church, meeting with others on the steps of Pitt Street UC to share in the Survival Day March on 26 January, marking at Pitt Street the 14th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and linking more closely with other Uniting Church leaders and First Nations peoples locally in order to take next steps on the journey towards justice and healing. We have been particularly blessed in the leadership and encouragement of Nathan Tyson (Manager, First Peoples Strategy and Engagement, Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and the ACT) - see further his article in Insights on the recent 26 January events and associated issues.
More splendid creativity at Pitt Street from our worship team 😻 And - sad though I am not to share a first Pitt Street Christmas - I’m so delighted that my brilliant wife (Penny Jones) could preside yesterday. That is the first time for her with our community in Pitt Street - and maybe the first time a female cisgender Anglican priest has presided, with full church authority, in a mainstream Christian denomination in the centre of Sydney. ❤️ I think Maude Royden, the founder of the movement for the ordination of women, will have rejoiced in heaven - especially as Pitt Street gave her a pulpit on her famous visit to Australia years ago (see earlier post here).
Hoping one day our good friends in some of the local Anglican and Catholic Churches will share the same blessing - for God’s sake, it was a woman who actually gave birth at Christmas!!
It is just lovely to have a female vicar here in Market Rasen at this time and to think of female priests elsewhere in Australia presiding this year (some for the first time - including some of my former students I dearly love and admire).
#shininglightinSydney #thankGodfortheUnitingChurch #livingAnglicanism #peacetoall
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...
As Minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney, it is a great joy and encouragement to stand in a powerful lineage of prophetic ministry. The more I come to know, the more I appreciate its vital significance to Sydney, and the wider world, in providing light, inspiration and hospitality to so many. As a community Pitt Street Uniting Church mourns the recent loss of Bishop Spong from our lives in this world, but rejoices in what he shared with us and so many others. We give thanks that we were able to offer a space for him to share God's love even when others were sometimes so hostile. Here above is a photo of the old Pitt Street Uniting Church's celebratory 'Bishop John Shelby Spong Greeting Card'!
(we still rejoice to wear that stole too :-) )
Action is obviously (to most of us) long overdue to address our climate change crisis and other issues of sustainability on our planet. At the heart of our inability to respond as a species also however includes the very ways we look at the Earth. For Season of Creation 2021, here is my introductory Reflection on the unhelpful and positive models and metaphors which we have been using, and the enlivening re-thinking by theologians in recent times. Full text here.
(originally created for Pitt Street and Glenbrook Uniting Churches)
It was a delight, in our strange times, to meet the trees on Pitt Street again this week - though, sadly, it’s not hard to find our wonderful church building as they are the only trees left on Pitt Street: like the building and its community they are natural resisters and witnesses to a better, more loving, sustainable way of life. The trees touch, and are enwombed, in Gadigal land and in the hope of a different kind of Sydney. May we see, work for, and be signs of, that in days to come, and not a mere new ‘normal’
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.