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 was truly a great honour to speak tonight at the World AIDS Day event organised by Positive Life NSW at Sydney Conservatorium of Music - movingly recalling with some amazing people some of the memories of grief and strength in our journeys and gathering with bold positivity for the continuing challenges ahead.
My own address can be found here #letsleavenoonebehind
I was thrilled to be invited to meet up with hundreds of amazing female leaders at the Women in Leadership Summit at the SCG and to offer a few words and hopedfully helpful insights of my own - albeit feeling a little awed by the brilliant ￼range and depth of CEOs, Ministers, and other female movers and shakers, including of course Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb. This was such a vital gathering and, I hope, encouraging to all.#womenleadersinstitute
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)
I am praying in the next few days for women in the many denominations of the Church, as some of my dearest Australian Anglican friends gather in Sydney for a Movement for the Ordination of Women gathering to mark the 30th anniversary of Anglican women's ordination in Australia. Due partly to family circumstances, neither Penny not I are attending ourselves. To be honest, we were also quite saddned that our offer of hosting an ecumenical communion service at Pitt Street UC was rejected - leaving the conference with no public female-led Anglican communion, due to Sydney diocese gynophobic policies. We had also hoped that, with such Anglican female sacramental leadership, this might be a way of connecting, celebrating, and empowering women from many traditions. It seemed a creative way of both honouring the more militant character of MOW, without which women would all still be waiting, and also contribute to the vital tasks of intersectional solidarity we need today. However we truly and warmly wish everyone well and hope that it may help renew the continuing work of Christian feminism which remains so vital...
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
Everyone needs angels in their life! I had an old friend join me this morning to share the joys and struggles of growing ‘beloved community’. Angell comes from (Angell Town) Brixton, and was born out of the world of the Brixton riots/uprisings, in the darkest days of the Thatcher years in the UK - aka my ministry formation years. They took on the name of Michael (after the death of the Brixton priest who guided and inspired me back then)- and today we added the name Arch (think bridges and rainbows) for ‘repairing the breach’ of love in our world and ‘returning our hearts’. So now they are Arch Angel Michael - albeit without a flaming sword (other than that of the Spirit), though they’d love one of the rainbow light sabres from Sydney Mardi Gras last night.
See further my Reflection here.
A Prayer of Blessing for LGBTIQ+ Celebrations
by Josephine Inkpin, written for Sydney Mardi Gras 2022
You dance among us
in a glorious riot of expression,
embodying afresh the generous love of Jesus,
and all who have embraced love at the heart of being.
Bless all who gather at this time to celebrate
the gifts of sexual and gender diversity.
As you have inexhaustible pride in your rainbow children
so may we have such life-bearing strength
in ourselves and in one another.
Touch our lives and bodies with your transforming Love,
shining light where there has been darkness,
bringing healing where there has been hurt,
and making visible what has hitherto been invisible.
Inspire us to deeper intimacy and interconnection,
opening up the closets of all that remains damagingly repressed,
and leading us along fresh pathways of hope
to a more joyous and glittering future for us all.
I’ve always loved the ‘hinge’ time in the Christian year at the beginning of February - with the poignancy of time, light, joy and suffering in the Presentation of Christ/Candlemas, as well as its embodied meanings in places and people so varied as the dale farmers on my native hills preparing forw animal and plant births and the shiny school students in Sydney beginning new adventures at the same time.
This year was particularly poignant, as, before our Pitt St worship, the last time I had heard the Nunc Dimittis was at my parents funeral (shall I say the nunc dimittis? the vicar had asked me specifically - in a very priest to priest moment - knowing the answer and what it meant to us both, and to my father). These lines from the poem ‘Nunc Dimittis’ (originated dedicated to the great fellow poet Anna Akhmatova) by Joseph Brodsky express so well the Christian hope, reflected in Candlemas, which my parents carried in their last days, in the meeting of age and infancy, and in the eternal uncreated light:
‘He went forth to die. It was not the loud din
of streets that he faced when he flung the door wide,
but rather the deaf-and-dumb fields of death’s kingdom.
He strode through a space that was no longer solid.
The roaring of time ebbed away in his ears.
And Simeon’s soul held the form of the Child --
its feathery crown now enveloped in glory --
aloft, like a torch, pressing back the black shadows,
to light up the path that leads into death’s realm,
where never before until this point in time
had any man managed to lighten his pathway.
The old man’s torch glowed and the pathway grew wider.’
So be it..
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.