In the company of angels

In the company of angels

I had the privilege of spending some time last week at the Pitt Street Uniting Church (PSUC) Hub, offering safe and celebratory faith space and pastoral support during Sydney WorldPride 2023.

It felt like a pilgrimage of sorts, travelling up from the Far South Coast to spend time with a faith community who have shone as a beacon of light for both the LGBTIQA+ community as a whole and for me personally, over many years. PSUC’s theme: ‘Amplify the Light’, seemed very appropriate.

On my first morning, as I climbed the rainbow-re-painted-stairs to enter the front of the church, I felt invited in. But I also wondered (a little anxiously) what the day would bring – given the previous day had seen the stairs vandalised, and parishioners and pastoral visitors verbally harassed as they cleaned and re-painted them.

Once inside, I found a space to sit, slowly taking in the wonderfully welcoming worship-space.

Multi-coloured candles, handmade-lanterns, rainbow flags and a banner simply (but powerfully) affirming: ‘You are loved’, brought tears to my eyes.

Hanging above me, were the giant, illuminated angels I had been especially wanting to ‘see-in-the-flesh’. Created by renowned community artist Jyllie Jackson OAM, and her team at LightnUp in Lismore, the three angels represent Courage, Compassion and Joy. I tried to guess which was which, and as I pondered these angels – I remembered other angels in my life who’d embodied these gifts for me (some now passed, some still living):

  • I felt surrounded and held within a communion-of-saints, friends, angels…
  • I felt thankful and proud to be a part of their continuing legacy…
  • I felt courage, compassion, and joy (replacing my anxiousness).

Looking around me to the church walls, I could see the gorgeous images forming the Queer (and ally) Faces of Faith Photo Exhibition, featuring LGBTIQA+ and ally from many faiths, spirituality and cultural backgrounds including Aboriginal, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim.

Such wonderfully gifted, diverse and colourful people portrayed so dynamically and beautifully.

Holy (Wholly) embodied messengers, speaking to me of Divinity in new ways. More angels!

…and throughout the day, many other angels came visiting:

  • some just peered through the open front-doors.
  • some crossed the threshold and came in and sat for a while…
  • some stood in front of one photo – that held their attention – for a very long time…
  • some chatted; most whispered to each other or were silent.
  • elderly, young; solo, groups, partners; a variety of pronouns.
  • lots of colour, rainbows, glitter; some rhinestones, sequins; perhaps one set of wings?

As is often the case in Pastoral care, I returned home blessed by each day’s encounters:

a reciprocity of giving where 1+1 > 2…

Thankyou PSUC and the Queer Roundtable, for ‘Amplifying the Light’ – for creating safe-spaces that speak life-giving-words of welcome and inclusion, respect and love.                         

Cal More (Pastoral Practitioner, Uniting Eden)


2 thoughts on “In the company of angels”

  1. Thank you Cal for the beautiful description of the angels and the impact pastoral care had for you as you sat in both a sacred and a safe place. Such care has such potential to impart, both to the giver and the receiver,. It is indeed a matter of (w)holiness. Courage, compassion and joy.

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