I am deeply humbled and thrilled to announce that I am again being called to ministry in Sydney - as the next Minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church. This is a wonderful high profile progressive faith community which gathers on Gadigal land in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. After much reflection and careful discernment with the Uniting Church, Penny and I believe that this is the very best way in which I can serve with others in nurturing faith, love and hope in the next few years (from 1 March 2021) - as well as, very happily, being again close to family in Australia. I extend my thanks and blessings to all with whom I have journeyed in the past and to those I look forward to joining soon...
I have long been grateful to Pitt St Uniting Church for its prominent prophetic commitments to the core Uniting Church values of seeking God’s justice and compassion, celebrating diversity, and being actively open to dynamic fresh expression of God’s love and truth. To become a part of its vibrant life is a great joy, particularly in our challenging times. For as part of the Sydney Presbytery and wider Uniting Church, its members continue to look to the future with a renewing vision for themselves and others. This involves developing as a metropolitan city centre for spirituality and the arts, as well as strengthening Pitt Street’s key role as a fully affirming beacon of hope for the common good. I am therefore hugely looking forward to life together with all involved. It is also personally very inspiring to follow the ministries at Pitt St of such liberating leaders as Dorothy McRae-McMahon and Margaret Mayman.
Of course this joy comes with sadness in letting go of much that has sustained me in recent times. Penny and I will thus certainly miss wonderful Anglican colleagues locally and further afield. We are however only moving into another part of the one oikoumene we share - albeit, we believe, for us, into a part of that garden with more space to flourish. We will also miss Brisbane, Toowoomba, and Queensland generally, much more than we could ever have imagined when we were first called here. This is such a great area to live and I am sorry to be leaving so many amazing friends in the Milton Anglican, LGBTIQA+, Reconciliation and wider communities. However, to return to Sydney reunites Penny and I with our closest, recently much expanded, family who have increasingly seemed far from us, not just because of COVID-19 this year. To walk on our beloved Woy Woy peninsula recently was also to be reminded of profound connections we share, and of other beautiful long-time friends in the Sydney region whom we have greatly missed.
Penny and I are immensely thankful for the rich and diverse Anglican and other ministries in which we have been blessed to serve. Such love and joy will assuredly continue to flourish in many parts of the Church here and overseas. However, in our particular Australian context, the time has come for us to move into more creative and truly affirming new life. We therefore give thanks in this for the generous hospitality of the Uniting Church, for its continuing courageous Christian leadership in society, its distinctive collaborative style of ministry, and its vital part in God’s grace and love. We rejoice, as pilgrim people, to step out afresh together.
I will begin officially in my new ministry on 1 March 2021 - at which point, Penny will also begin new life directions centred on her gifts of spiritual companionship and creativity. She too, graciously and warmly, has been granted permission to serve in the Uniting Church.
So ‘for all that has been, thanks. To all that shall be, Yes.’
May God bless us all in paths of ever renewing life.
Jo Inkpin an Anglican priest, trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.