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 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.
We're delighted to be hosting the Rainbow Christians Together Faith@WorldPride event on ShroveTuesday (aka the original Mardi Gras) at Pitt Street Uniting Church - with food, great music, wonderful speakers, worship and fabulous friends
(and yes, we hope to live-stream the event too for those who can't join us onsite)
Wonderful this afternoon, at Pitt St UC, to host pastors from the Asia-Pacific region of the EKD (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland) - a federation of Lutheran, Reformed and United Protestant churches - talking First Nations recognition, progressive theology, climate change, ecumenical fruitfulness and other good things
A beautiful gift of a scarf made by an Indian women’s project of the ecumenical Bangalore United Theological College was also received - a lovely blessing signifying love and faith across our global connections - not to mention chocolate too!
Not an original reflection I’m sure, but sometimes it becomes apparent that being a hitherto lifelong, if very ecumenical, Anglican (liberal Catholic variety) in the Uniting Church as an institution is like being an Apple using cat in a Microsoft dog world - fortunately I do love dogs (generally so much more outwardly friendlier and more sociable for one thing - except when roused or bemused lol - than many felines ) and I can operate Windows operating systems positively (though I can’t stop thinking occasionally how other creative wonks and wrinkles might offer a few possible ecclesial improvements as well as save time and help creativity ). Handiest of all, I also don’t really believe in binaries. But it can be a wee bit taxing at times.
PS I’m really really not sure about this cartoon as an analogy - certainly mainstream Anglicanism is thankfully both equippped with a clearer, simpler and less fussy system (well, yes, ‘method’ to be more accurate - what kind of a cat wants a ‘system’?!) but, unlike Apple. it is also so very messy (and hence actually freer in some organisational respects, than some of its self-assuming ‘freer’ ‘alternatives’). Meanwhile, within its dog context, Pitt Street UC tends of course to be its own kind of animal with some of its own distinctive operating features! Who said ministry was a journey of continuing education?
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.
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.