As part of both Equal Voices and Pitt Street Uniting Church, it was an immense delight to launch our Queer Faces of Faith photo exhibition - check out the photos and stories online here - at https://www.amplifyqueerfaith.com.au - and/or visit the physical exhibition at Pitt Street Uniting Church in the heart of the city of Sydney from 16 February to 31st March (before it goes on tour!).
The physical exhibition will be accessible during the Sydney World Pride and Mardi Gras festival period 17 February - 5 March (10am-2pm - at least - daily).
#AmplifyQueerFaith #QueerFacesOfFaith #QueerAllyFacesOfFaith
How would you express healthy ethical spiritual pathways today?
I was originally raised on the old Anglican BCP (Book of Common Prayer of 1662) and the ‘Ten Commandments’ were integral as one feature of that - but my strand of Anglicans had long tended to swap in Jesus’ own more life-giving ‘summary of the law’ (except sometimes on Lent, as a kind of penance!). The Commandments have their provenance in very ancient times and have offered basic guidelines for centuries. Today however, rather like other aspects of the spiritualities of the Reformation & early modern world of the BCP, they come across as problematic in a number of ways - including in their negative prohibitive form. Here (see above) is an attempt to offer a more positive affirmative ethic and, still deeply grounded, spiritual frame for our own times.
Many thanks to Dr Meredith Lake and Rohan Salmond for inviting Penny Jones and I to share in this episode of ABC's Soul Search, exploring queer theology and its expression in World Pride. It was a great joy, including sharing with such delightful co-interlocutors and friends as Dr Peter Kline and Benjamin Oh.
In the run up to Sydney WorldPride, SBS On Demand 'The Feed' were kind enough to produce a short feature on my wife Penny Jones and I,, which we hope may help and encourage others.
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 as I was beginning to sing the praises of Professor Ann Loades my fabulous Ph.D supervisor the other day that I learned she had just died - having been such an extraordinary person and ground-breaking pioneer in theology and in the life of the Church of England, and wider Church, not least in Durham.
Meeting with Ann was always an occasion for me - whether in a coffee shop (and ideal set for Vera) in Newcastle upon Tyne on a Saturday morning, togged up as she was to teach ballet: or in a County Durham village when, out of her fierce compassion she told me firmly to take a term off combining research with social justice advocacy and church development (I sometimes hear her voice on that today!) as ‘too many women and children are left bereft by over-working spouses and parents having heart-attacks’.
Maybe above all I remember her cutting through the academic nonsense on so many things with keen telling intelligence - as when once I began to stress about maybe needing to write a substantial section in my Ph.D on definitions of feminism (though it was mainly a work of history): ‘rubbish’ she said (though she was eminently capable of writing several books hersrlf on the subject) ‘just put ’justice for women’’ ‘Of course’ I said ‘just like Josephine Butler!’ She laughed in her gorgeous full of life way and we both rejoiced. For, though she was an amazing, creative and accomplished pioneer, Ann always knew she too stood in a long line of Christian feminists (not least our fellow north east foremother Josephine Butler). Ann helped pass on the torch of judicious thought, justice and joy to so many of us - and we continue to honour her by keeping it bright and passing it on to others.
For a wonderful woman, a great mentor and inspiration, thanks be to God!
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.
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
One of the features of Fr Peter Maher’s funeral this week was (as in death so in life!) the powerful struggle within it between two forms of Catholicism - one in which I passionately share spiritually (with others of other labels); and the other still addicted to power rather than justice, law rather than grace, patriarchy rather than the dynamic mutuality (with appropriate recognition of charisms) of the priesthood of all believers...
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.