Read e-book Letters to Peter: On the Journey from Grief to Wholeness

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Better late than never? Today I am coming out fully as a transgender person.

Pastor's Blog - An Essential Journey Back Into Light

It has been a lifelong journey to this point and I am sure there are more struggles to come of a different nature. Tonight however I feel the deepest sense of joy and freedom - like that of Paul in his letter to the Galatians more reflections about that and other wonderful trans affirming parts of the Bible and Christian Tradition in due course - and I know that I now stand more clearly in the imperishable image of God in which I am created.

Like my little grandchild cradled in my arms in the photograph see left I feel more intimately part of God's 'new creation', a little child cradled in the love of God. Together with the archbishop and my college principal, my loving partner and I pondered and prayed hard about the best way to share my news, aware both of the current contrasting levels of knowledge and care in our churches and also seeking a path of healthy transparency without causing unnecessary reactions in some quarters.

I therefore hope and pray that this may be part of our continuing journeys into wholeness and joyful life for us all You may have noticed some alterations in my appearance over the last few months and it is now time to explain what is going on. I am a transgender person. I have always been so. However I have fought this reality for most of my life and have done my very best to make my life work with my male-assigned body and roles.

In particular, I tried to bury my true sense of self when I came to Australia 16 years ago, pouring my energies into rebuilding life, relationships, work, and, crucially, the health of my then ailing family. Alas, despite many outward joys, my inner discomfort only increased over time, and, after Easter last year, I entered into expert counselling to explore my options.

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Accordingly, following the established best practice, I have been working through treatment guidelines and their implications. At the same time, alongside the challenges, my spiritual life has deepened and my theological personal and pastoral understanding has been greatly enriched. Outside of work, I have been increasingly living as a female and confiding in family and close friends. I am in the process of changing my name on all official documents to Josephine McDonnell Inkpin and my driving licence will show me as female. Throughout I have had the unstinting love of my wife Penny, who has shared this journey most positively from very early in our happy marriage and with whom I have grown even closer in this process over recent months.

The bishops and senior leaders in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland have been very supportive and have assisted in arrangements for enabling my public recognition of gender. I therefore plan to begin working as Josephine Jo for short from this time on. It is a huge delight to be able to take this step towards personal wholeness whilst staying in a ministry which is so rewarding. Indeed, I know that this will help make me a better priest and I hope that you will find me less distracted and more content.

This process entails a gradual evolution, rather than an abrupt change. I am also an older person so changes are less dramatic. You can however expect to notice some increasing physical changes to my face and body, and to other aspects such as voice. I want to reassure you that I will still be the person you have worked with and known.

Health and Wholeness through the Holy Communion - Joseph Prince (NEW) Paperback

This means you can still count on my professionalism throughout my transition journey. Please realise that this has been a difficult path for me to walk, and I truly appreciate the support you provide. Some of you may not understand the changes I am undertaking. I will be happy to answer questions or direct you to additional information.

Some of you may even not approve of what I am doing and you have that right. The likely varied response of myvery large family of the Church and other wonderful groups of which I have been a part has indeed weighed heavily upon me for too many years. Our generation is also involved in a sea change in understanding these issues and I am very conscious of the confusion this might cause some.

However our calling is to the truth which will set us all free and I have to come to believe strongly that being who I am will bring great healing to all, not least those who are struggling desperately to find meaning and value in their own gender journeys. Indeed it has been a great blessing to me to be in direct personal contact with other Christian transgender priests and lay people across the world in recent weeks, and to be encouraged by the recent affirmation of transgender people by the General Synod of the Church of England in which I was born and nurtured, baptised, confirmed and ordained.

Whatever we feel, may we treat one another with essential human respect as these are ultimately holy things we handle. Henceforth I ask therefore that you call me Josephine, or Jo, and use female pronouns she, her when referring to me. I know this will take a little time to get used to, and I know that mistakes will happen at first.

Healing the Heartbreak of Grief

Changing Channels? Available to download for a small cost here. Dazzling Darkness: Gender, sexuality, illness and God. Autobiographical, theological reflections by a poet-priest who is also a trans woman. This is also available for viewing on YouTube and here below Susan Gilchrist.

Jo Inkpin.

Grief is Not a Life Sentence - Jesse Brisendine - TEDxCSULB

Janet Ayliffe link. Johnathan Jones.

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