One more step along the road we go. For it is 6 years, almost to the day, since I successfully proposed a diocesan Synod motion for the Anglican Church Southern Queensland to explore a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), inspired by the work done by the Toowoomba Catholic diocese. I was reminded of this this afternoon as I took part in filming Reconciliation stories with Anglicare Southern Queensland and other diocesan colleagues as part of a new and developing Anglicare Reconciliation project. It has certainly been a sometimes frustrating, but also, above all, deeply enriching journey for me personally. For - from Cunnamulla to Buderim, through Toowoomba, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane - I have walked, yarned and worked with all kinds of people, from all kinds of different spaces and with all kinds of different stories. So it was lovely to share today in bringing some of this together, in immediate advance of NAIDOC Week, in order to enable fresh steps ahead with many more people. The RAP, is, and always was and will be, an ambitious project - seeking to work together over such a large and diverse area, with all sections of the diocesan family - and there is so much more to do, but today was an example of how rewarding this can be.
I have often likened Reconciliation work to a hall of mirrors. Whenever we start to feel that hopes of transformation are beginning to loom large, we are usually rudely reminded of how little has really been achieved and how much more needs to be done. At times - in the face of the continuing challenges of justice and healing, and even, in some places, building relationships and recognition at all - it can seem we have hardly begun at all. Yet we also sometimes see our Reconciliation journey in too dim a light. Thanks to great work by so many people, we can see some fruits for our prayer and action. It has been a particular delight for example to see the increased recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in Anglicare Southern Queensland (see below for this year's Reconciliation Week video made by some of them with the support of diocesan Marketing) and the difference this has made (together with policy development), not least in children and families project work, whilst some welcome progress has been made in a number of our parishes and schools. Credit is due to so many people whom it would be invidious to name, but my fellow RAP Working Group co-chair Canon Bruce Boase, and Christine Ellis (as our RAP Coordinator over the last 15 months or so), deserve special recognition as key hubs in our work together. In the next few months, as we prepare for our Synod to endorse a renewal of our RAP work, we are looking to explore what we can do together in the years ahead. May we blessed in this pilgrimage of grace.
More about the RAP and examples of contributors can be found in this playlist (courtesy of Stephen Harrison and our Anglican Schools Commission) here.
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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.