A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 11: New Faith Perspectives, FOOTBALL! & The "Connectional" Church

May 13, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 11
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 11: New Faith Perspectives, FOOTBALL! & The "Connectional" Church
Chapters
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 11: New Faith Perspectives, FOOTBALL! & The "Connectional" Church
May 13, 2021 Season 1 Episode 11
Simon Doong and Lee Catoe

Questions for the Week: 

  • What is an experience that you had which either deepened your faith or gave you a new perspective on God, faith or church? 
  • Why are both church and football on Sundays? If Sunday is a day of rest, how can players play on that day? Or is it because watching football is "rest" for everyone else? 

Special Guest:
Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Educator, Ruling Elder & Past Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly

Guest Question:
What do we mean when we say the PC(USA) is a “connectional” church? What does the term "connectional" mean?

Resource Roundup:
Queering the Family Series with More Light Presbyterians and Unbound

Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week: 

  • What is an experience that you had which either deepened your faith or gave you a new perspective on God, faith or church? 
  • Why are both church and football on Sundays? If Sunday is a day of rest, how can players play on that day? Or is it because watching football is "rest" for everyone else? 

Special Guest:
Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Educator, Ruling Elder & Past Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly

Guest Question:
What do we mean when we say the PC(USA) is a “connectional” church? What does the term "connectional" mean?

Resource Roundup:
Queering the Family Series with More Light Presbyterians and Unbound

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith of presby podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,

 

00:21 – Lee Catoe

whether it be faith in God, faith and others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unfound, the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church USA. I am your host, Lee Catoe. 

 

00:39 - Simon Doong

And I'm your host Simon Doong. 

 

00:41 - Lee Catoe

Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions.

 

00:46 – Simon Doong

Well, hello, everyone, we are so glad to have you with us. And I'm very excited to be here with Lee on this beautiful day, at least where I am. I don't know how it is where you are Lee.

 

00:59 – Lee Catoe

It was not beautiful for a little while we had some really bad weather. But today it's really nice. And the sun is kind of out at least it's not storming. So it's it's been a nice day today. Good.

 

01:13 – Simon Doong

Well, the today's questions are a really interesting pair. The first one is about special or particular experiences. So the question reads, “What is an experience that you had, which either deepened your faith? Or gave you a new perspective on God, faith or church?” Lee, I know you've probably got tons of great experiences. What's one of them?

 

01:39 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I've had a few. And for me, it was it's and and I'm always honest, that like me, and me and the church have not had an even faith have not had the best of relationships probably in the past.

 

01:59 – Lee Catoe

But I do think that a lot of the people that I've met through the church and through my experiences have really deepened my sense of Yeah, how God works. And within those spaces, and within faith, and recently, so I was a supply pastor for a small church here, as it was actually two churches here in Tennessee. And I remember going into it, it was very similar to where I grew up how I grew up. And the churches were very small, and southern, small Southern towns. And so I sounded like everyone else. And that was really great for the people in there that I sounded, you know, like I was from the south and had an accent or whatever. And I remember going into this space, like one of the churches was not was, had a had a very non affirming culture within the church when it cut when it came to queer folk. And I don't know the reasons behind that. But it was a very conservative church. And I remember going into it kind of knowing this, and being very nervous about it as someone who identifies as a queer person, but also someone who knew who knows that culture. And it was very it was raised in that. And so I was very picky, I was very discerned how I was going to interact with these folk and like what I was going to say, and so I didn't really like come out to them. And they really didn't know a lot about my life, other than where I was raised, and things like that. And so I did that for months, I kind of became their, their pastor in some way and, and developed a relationship with these people. And then they, they hired a minister within that interim until I kind of transitioned out of that space. And I remember getting an email from the pastor that they had just hired. And he sent me a message saying that he wanted me to know what impact I made on this particular church when it came to queer inclusion, that, that they that they knew that I was a queer person, because they got curious about my life, and I don't hide it on social media and things like that. So they kind of figured it out. At but they also realize that that changed our perspective about who could be a minister and who could minister to them. And that being a queer person, that being in relationship with them change their mind about who has that, who has that calling upon them and their heart to be in ministry, that that how we build a relationship and who I was kind of changed their mentality about that without it being something that I kind of forced on them or, and not everybody does that. And I did that out of like concern for my own health and my own safety and things like that. But just in that moment, seeing how that worked in church and seeing that, that these types of experiences, not everybody is called to be in those spaces that had harmed you and things like that. And I recognize that but seeing the transformation that happens just through kind of meeting people where they're at, and, and, and seeing that transformation happen, and not really knowing that it happens, but having to hear it kind of from another person, that, that they realize that that their idea of what a minister can be was, was very much changed. And I wasn't the only queer person that went out there. And and I do think that that that was one of the more recent experiences I've had, that kind of just deepened my deep enough faith, but it also made me realize that like, the work that we do is hard. And some of us are called to do certain work. And some of us are not called to do certain work, and that the church can be an awful place. But it can also be a place of transformation, and, and renewal. And yeah, and relationship building that kind of just kind of reassured me that this is what I needed to do. And so that's probably the most recent one that I can really think of that kind of gave me a new perspective, as somebody who's been called into this church, that I needed to keep being in this work that's often really hard to do. What about you, Simon?

 

06:43 – Simon Doong

Well, first of all, I just want to say thank you for sharing that. That's really powerful. And I think it speaks to the importance of inclusion and visibility in the church in leadership, and just in our congregations as well. So thank you for sharing that. My experience I'm going to share is from when I was a young adult volunteer through the Presbyterian Church, USA, I served in Korea, South Korea from 2016 to 2017. And then in New York, from 2017 to 2018. And this experiences from when I was in South Korea, as a volunteer, we were blessed to have a number of connections with various people and groups. And as part of well through one of those connections, we were invited to attend the annual memorial service for a group of Korean refugees who were murdered during the Korean War by US troops US soldiers. It's the incident itself is called the no gun ri incident. And what happened was these American troops were escorting these Korean refugees supposedly to move them to evacuate them move into a safer place. And then the order came down to kill the refugees. And so the troops turned on the refugees and sort of cornered them in this sort of tunnel, and shot at them for what I believe to be three days and three nights. So it's really, it's a tragic story. But at this memorial service, the sort of leader of the refugees victims Association, gave a speech. And in his speech, he said, we would like to invite all of the American soldiers who were involved in this incident to come to South Korea and meet with the refugee victims and their families for a moment of mutual healing and reconciliation. And that, that kind of turned my world upside down a bit. I felt like I understood what reconciliation meant, for the first time, I felt like I had a much better understanding of what forgiveness looked like. And the the, for the victims for the refugees to recognize the soldiers also, as victims of this terrible incident, I thought was really powerful. And so as I was sitting there and hearing these words and reflecting on on all of this, I came to realize that for myself, I had been asking the wrong types of questions when bad things happen. Because usually when bad things happen, I go, God, why would you allow this to happen? Where were you? Why would you allow this tragedy? And what I learned from this experience was that the better question is to ask how is God at work? amidst tragedy? How is God at work amidst the darkness? And that that really sort of that just changed the way that I view so many These situations. And that is may sound kind of corny but the slogan or tagline for the the young adult volunteer program is a year of service for a lifetime of change. And change starts by asking better questions. And that's something that I carried with me since then. And I think it's something that we try to also do through this podcast. Sometimes we have questions that come in, and we're like, Great, let's talk about it. And sometimes we say, yes, let's respond to this question. And let's ask some more. Let's give some more food for thought to continue the conversation and continue. thought provoking discussion. So that's a that's my experience from when I was a young adult volunteer in South Korea.

 

10:42 – Lee Catoe

Young adult volunteers, I was one as well. And I had many experiences. I had many experiences, then two that just broaden my Yeah, broaden my whole perspective of what it meant to be a person of faith and to be in church. And it was the first time I ever saw I ever heard a person who was gay preach in the pulpit. And that changed my whole life just in that moment, knowing that this person was out and the community really accepted them, and affirmed them and things like that. And I will say it, it really took me aback to kind of take in just because of years of kind of trauma from church, but to see that it was very unfamiliar to me. But I do think it, I do think that program, and the people I've met here, I've been in, I've lived here 10 years after that, and and just kind of those relationships, again, this probably where I've experienced a deepening of faith is. Yeah, through people and their lives and, and their experiences. So the YAV program did it for me, too. And that's probably why I'm here.

 

12:01 – Simon Doong

Yep. It’s a great program. And just to say we you as a when you were in the YAV program, you witnessed, and were inspired by a queer person, being a preacher at the pulpit, being a minister, and now you have gone through your story you shared earlier, and maybe not inspired someone, but you have changed hearts and minds about what it means to be a minister and who can be administer. And so I think that's just an example of lessons from the young adult volunteer program that just keep giving.

 

12:32 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, exactly. It's kind of full circle, sometimes. Very, very weird. That's part of the Spirit, I think. Well, shall we move on? to our next question, which I think it's gonna I think it's gonna be a it's not an usual one. But I do think it's very relevant to our culture. Why? Here's the question, “Why are both church and football on Sundays? If Sunday is the day of wrist? How can players play on that day? Or is it because watching football is rest for everyone else?” So we're about to get into football, y'all. And let me tell you, I'm not the biggest sports person. But I did play football for a year in middle school. But Simon, why are they both on Sunday?

 

13:33 – Simon Doong

Well, probably a lot of people are aware that churches on Sunday because it was the seventh day. And you know, in the story of Genesis, there was the red day of rest that was taken in the creation story. And so that's when we are to take a rest as well. that's a that's a straightforward part about church football, though. That's a different story. And I actually had a lot of fun researching this to try to uncover why particularly professional football is on Sunday. So I'm going to take everyone on a little, a little history trip for a moment. So professional football, as we know it today started in 1920. And at that time, college football was already being played on Saturdays and was very popular. And so Sunday, at that time was generally a free day where people weren't working. And so then when television networks started looking for programming on Sundays, that's when professional football became a potential outlet and potential programming. What's interesting is that initially, the the NFL the National Football League had kind of a negative or trepidatious reaction to television, there was some fear and some mistrust. And there were all Have these interesting rules put in place in the beginning, for example, if your local home team local home professional football team was playing at home, they would not put that on TV. Because that would drive, they were worried that that would drive down attendance to the live game. Similarly, if there was other games being played in other parts of the country that were being broadcast on TV at the same time, as your local team playing, they would not broadcast the other teams that were that were playing in your local area. So that's kind of an interesting little tidbit. And then in 1961, Congress passed a sports statute. It's called the sports Broadcasting Act. And it allowed certain broadcasting agreements among major professional sports. And within that law was a provision that it pretty much banned the NFL from broadcasting its games on Friday nights, and Saturdays, because that's when college football was being played. So the law essentially protected college football from being a being invaded by professional football. And so yes, football is on Sundays, because one, it's the day that people could watch. And often were not working. And to because they were legally restricted so that they would not compete with college football. And I think that in this, this history, and in this story, there's an interesting parallel that we can make between early attitudes towards broadcasting football on television, and holding virtual worship services for church. Because initially, for broadcasting football, there was fear and mistrust that broadcasting football could work. And this idea that, oh, if we put the local game on TV, people won't want to come watch it live. Which in today's context, in a pandemic world feels very odd and almost silly, because everyone watches sports through TV. So I wonder if churches eventually will follow suit as they start to reopen, and realize that they may be the initial fear that churches have had about live streaming and having virtual worship will eventually subside. And that will realize that the choice really is not about do we broadcast slash live stream, or do in person worship, but rather, it's a both and we really should be doing both to have the best reach. So I think there's something to be said for that. What do you think Lee?

 

17:46 – Lee Catoe

Yeah. And I also think it would, because I know there's a culture in the church that you are competing, you're trying to get out before the football game begins. And so there is this like competition that church and football have within the culture that we have cultivated because of this wonderful history lesson that Simon just shared, that there is this kind of competition between football and church. And so I wonder if that will also I wonder how that will also translate if we continue if we continue to do virtual church? Well, what is what is then going to be the competition of, of that. And and I wonder, because when you go to a football game, it's such a different experience than obviously watching it on television, because you have you have like tailgates and you have like the food and the drinks and all the people and the feed off of people's energy and things like that. So it's very, very different. It's less intimate, I think, but it is, it's just a very different experience. And the same with church. So it's like, what are the balances and what kind of culture is going to come from virtual church because now people get together to watch football games now people have kind of developed their own communities that they, you know, they they have their own tailgates or their own parties and like Super Bowl parties and things like that. So will that happen? More surrounding church like will house churches and will communities form around watching church does that that makes sense because that culture does kind of you do create that when things are broadcast out. So I think that's very interesting to think about. If we continue to do this, will we began to create, like adjacent culture to it, or adjacent churches like house churches within maybe somebody In a broadcasting it will communities getting involved, like that kind of thing. That's kind of exciting for me to think about, and something I didn't think about beforehand. But after you said, what you the lesson you gave us is what kind of like a will we in you like that as a church? And then I also want to say that I think there is in many ways football and and, and other types of things in society, of course, kind of are elevated above church. And I say that because right now, and I won't say where, but people are having more conversations about football than they are about justice, that there are about things that they're seeing in society that are happening, oppression, football gets people riled up, football gets people so impassioned, like passionate about something. And I just wonder about, like, that energy and not saying we can't be passionate about I can get passionate about you should see me watch a tennis match. I was tennis player, but more individual sport. But I do think that, that it is very interesting to see how football and sports kind of enliven this passion among people. But when a mass shooting happens, it doesn't, if that makes sense. And it but I do see the value also in the NFL and other leagues kind of bringing that to the forefront. And then that's a whole nother ballgame because people get mad because I say no, you're just here to entertain us and not speak politically. So I think this is a great question to even talk about the the interactions of sports and church and in society, because they do intersect a lot in many different ways.

 

21:56 – Simon Doong

Yeah, I would just add to what you were saying about church being sorry about football or sports being elevated above church, that it is really interesting on Sundays, because people like you said people sometimes feel like things are competing for their attention, and what their what they want to spend their time doing on a Sunday. And I do think that part of that was accessibility, you know, you had to go to church, you can turn the game on at any time. Heck, you could record the game, and watch it later. And now, both church and football are a click away. So maybe there's room for both on a Sunday. And the other thing is that you mentioned people spending a lot of time and energy talking about football and not talking about faith or justice. And I think the beginning of this pandemic made that very clear, when there were no organized sports going on professionally. And that's when a lot of the justice movements around Black Lives Matter and thinking about things like police brutality really started to get more attention. And I think that's because we didn't have something else to put our attention to, we didn't have anything else to, for lack of a better word maybe distract us from what is going on out in the world. That doesn't mean there's no place for sports. But it does. I think it does shine a light on things we choose to spend our energy on versus things that we choose not to.

 

23:33 – Lee Catoe

And also shine the light on the inequities within sports. I mean, you talked about college sports. I mean, we we treat college sports, like a professional. I mean, in the south where I'm from, we didn't really, we didn't even watch NFL because college football was the thing. And like the money that's made off of that, and those players don't make anything like those players, like work, like go to school and sports and don't get paid a dime. And like the inequities in that women's sports, and now we're even talking about trans individuals in sports. And those kinds of ways to so it even opened up a whole nother door of how justice and and are calling us people of faith, even critiquing the things that we love, and seeing football players and basketball players, and people like and people in that in that round stand up against injustice to see that reaction from people if they say no, that is not your job. Your job is to play and that's like, these people are human, they are not. These people are not machines for your entertainment. And so that's been also interesting there in this time and this interplay, that that in some ways we are getting church within our sports because we have people who are standing up against injustice, which That's for me that is part of our calling of fate. We are seeing and there are football players and so many people who are people of faith that are making a stand and saying this is enough racism, that's enough white supremacy we're calling it out. And to see fans react to that, because I do think we've separated where we get that kind of that push back that spiritual movement. It's always kind of compartmentalize as to being church. And it's like, nope, now we got foot boy guy. Now we got sports people say in a word, too. And so that's also been interesting, but also want to say this, this question was about rest, and everyone should. Everyone should take a Sabbath. And maybe I'll just end on that everyone should rest, including salmon. And we need to remind ourselves of that too. But amen to that there. Amen to that.

 

26:27 – Lee Catoe

So for this week, we have an awesome special guests with us that are joining the podcast for this week to answer one of the questions that we got sent in from our audience. And we were going to be welcoming the very wonderful Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri to the show. And Vilmarie is an educator is a past co moderator of the 220/3 General Assembly. And maybe one day we'll actually explain that on this podcast, but it's kind of the, the big, the big thing that we do in the Presbyterian Church USA. And there's also a ruling elder and the pcusa. So though, Vilmarie welcome to the podcast. 

 

27:15 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Gracias Lee, gracias Simon, it is a pleasure to be with you. 

 

27:20 - Lee Catoe

Yeah, thank you for being here. And so yeah, the question we got sent in says, “What do we mean, meaning the pcusa, when we say this church is connectional, what does the term connectional mean?”

 

27:37 – Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Well, that is a very good question. And I will tackle it from my own perspective, as a rolling elder as a past co-mod, and as a Puerto Rican living now in mainland us. So for me, connectional in general means to be in some ways joint in some ways bound together, it could be because of interests, it could be because of heritage, it could be because of particular groups, so to be bound together and to be joined in a particular body, or face or group. So that's to me to be connectional. Families, when I think about the term connection, I think about a family we are connected by blood, and also by probably by marriage, or by relationships. So when we talk about being a connectional body or a connectional church, we mean that we are bound in some way, and that we are together in some way. For us as a church, that bond has to do with a with our faith, with our theology, with our understanding of what it means to be church and churches eclis, the eyeglass community, which is also bound together. So when we talk in my mind, at least when we talk about being a connectional church, what we mean is that we are connected, or that we are bound by the by the strings or by the weaving of our love for God, our love for each other, our theological background, our common history, our in our case, in the Presbyterian Church, USA, our connected bodies, you know, meaning our councils, the presbyteries with which our regional areas, our Senate's which are a larger region, or by the General Assembly, which is the connection of all those regions together. So connected means in my mind, to be together and to be bound in our case, by Love, by peace by faith and bow it by our common understanding of our faith in God, our understanding of Jesus our as our Lord and Savior and our reformed traditions as well.

 

30:16 – Lee Catoe

I also wonder about kind of the governance of the church, which makes it a little more connectional. So and a lot of people have no idea about that. I mean, many Presbyterians don't know a lot about it. And and being a ruling elder of being a part of like a count the count like session and these mid Council. So that also leads to the connectional aspect. So I wonder if you can talk a little bit about that to just give a little educational moment for our, for our listeners. 

 

30:47 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

 

Yeah, of course, and I'll share with you my own experience. So I was born and raised in the island and beautiful island of Puerto Rico in San Juan, to a Presbyterian family, or at least half of my family. My mom's side is Presbyterian, they're a Presbyterian. So I was born and raised on running through the center aisle of our congregation or a church in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So from that particular church, again, that Presbyterian Church USA, that he's connected to the rest of the, you know, Presbyterian Church, USA, congregations throughout the nation, throughout the US, and a, you know, Alaska, Hawaii and the territories. So I was born in that community. Eventually, as I grew up and continued to be involved with the church, I became so involved that the nominating committee of the congregation decided, Well, you know, we're going to have no people come into the ward, which is not aboard in the Presbyterian Church, USA, it is called a session and is actually a pastoral body is more to be part of the pastoral care team of the congregation. So when they're looking for people to be part of that I was 19 years old. And they asked me if I could be part of that. And I struggled a little bit on there. That's a whole other story, a whole nother podcast, about vocation on call to be a really elder and a but I finally said yes. And when I was 20 years old, I was a ordained to be a ruling elder within the church and be part of that pastoral care team. So that is the very first thing in my mind, the very first connection that we have because as part of the leadership of the congregation, as part of those who are who are members of that pastoral care team, along with the pastors with the ministers of Warden sacrament, we also take part of the larger region which is called the presbytery, and we get involved with other congregations and and we you know, we meet we're Presbyterians, we love to meet and make committees, you know how it is. But we also do other stuff not only need, you know, with each other and make committees we also, you know, have programs that have mission projects and that sort of thing. And you'll do it in conjunction with an in connection with other a churches, not only in the presbytery, depending on what it is it can also extend to other presbyteries and this is where the connection becomes a beautiful thing. Because when you cannot do something alone, you'll reach out to your siblings to other members of your family. So we reach out to other presbyteries and to do the nomination at large, because we are all Presbyterian, and we can all rely on each other. In theory, and I say that because as I was saying a little bit earlier, connection all means different things to different people. And although I do see our church, as I've connected church, as you know, thinking about I don't know what you know, a bank, let's talk about a bank, I'm gonna use the bank as an example, but it's not a perfect metaphor. But let's say the Chase Bank, who did not pay us to do this is in a particular location. And you go to another location and you also found that you know, another branch is still say back. So when I tried to explain what a presbytery is, or what the church you know, pcusa is in different places, you just imagine yourself pcusa in one place, with the little sign with the cross and the two little flames, that's our seal, you will find that same little clump, little cross with the two flames, because it is the same denomination. So and we we get together to do mission and we get together to you know, come up with strategies and policies and all of that. But the same church, for example, in the USA in the island where I was born and raised is the same as USA if it is presbyterian church USA, of course, is the same exact denomination, as our churches in Seattle or in Washington, DC. Or in Hawaii. And

yeah, I think that answers your question.

 

35:09 – Simon Doong

I really appreciate what you said, though, Marie. And it's really beautiful the way that you describe connectional. And the thing I really like that you said is that connectional one means different things to different people, but also that connectional that connection, no model only works if there is purpose and intentionality in the ways that we are in relationship with each other. Right? It does not work, if we aren't willing to do that, whether that be within a congregation, between congregations between mid councils, and presbyteries and congregations and denominational office staff, that's the only way that this thing works. And that that takes all of us to be able to, to be the church.

 

35:53 – Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Yeah, and it is not a perfect connection. And so I don't want to give the illusion that, you know, everything is peaches and creams, and, you know, a little butterflies, around roses, because that's, that's not the reality relationships are difficult. And because people are complex, and we have we are denomination, a then that has people you know, from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, etc. Although it's primarily 89%, I think 89% or something like that, a white church. So so there are things that we have to to look at. And there are things that we have to overcome in order to be in relationship and in connection with each other. We do have three official languages, I will use the word official, but we do primarily our ministries and translations and interpretations in Spanish, English and Korean. And there is a lot of work to do there still, although we do have in the denominational offices of translation interpretation, IT department that is working very, very hard. And and and we love the people that are doing this kind of job in our denomination just to mention one of the barriers that we find when we are trying to be connectional. And we are in when we're being intentional in being together. So there are a lot of barriers to overcome. But that doesn't mean that we are not connected. Because if we're willing, like you said time and we are willing to be together and to work on those relationships. It's going to be hard, but it's but it is what we're called to do as the connected Body of Christ. The body of Christ does not have you know, not everybody's a foot and not everybody's a nail or not everybody's here. So we have all those nuances and all those differences that are beautiful, that that is what makes us stronger. The fact that we are different. And it was very interesting to me the first time that I went to a general assembly, I went as a young adult advisory delegate way back when it only had one a now is a young How do you say now he's young adult advisory delegate and and when I went in, I was a youth administrator. It was 1993. I'm dating myself people. But the very first time that I went to General Assembly, and I saw the I'm going to use the word diversity on variety of what it meant to be Presbyterian, for me was eye opening is this this are all the flavors of what Presbyterian might be. But in some way I was in a familiar place. I understood the press B thing. I don't even know how to explain it. I felt that I was part of the family in many ways. In other ways I felt that I was not. So it is a very difficult balance, at least as a young person. I was I think 19 years old. The first time that I went to ga and the General Assembly, which is this big reunion and you know, this business meeting of the entire denomination in the United States. And so for me just listening to worship in a different way, but with similar familiar songs, I felt part of the community. Yep, I know that. I know. And I understood that the way we did church, for example, in my home church in San Juan, Puerto Rico was a little bit different, but I could recognize the liturgy. And I could recognize some of the hymns and I and I yeah, definitely This is being Presbyterian, but this is what Presbyterian looks like in another context. So when I came back to the island as a young person, that experience opened my mind to the reality of the different flavors of Presbyterians and how we could help each other out and you know that the the vision broadens the connection becomes something else. If we add like, you know, you add another thread to that quilt, and I think that's what we're doing our entire life as, as a living out our faith, not only as Presbyterians, but in general, you know, as members of this global community, the global village, you're just adding another thread, or another piece of cloth to the beautiful quilt what that it means, you know, to be children of the Creator. So, so in that respect, General Assembly, for me was very eye opening. And then I went back to Puerto Rico wanted to change the world, at least in my congregation, and it will, I became part of the session eventually. But trying to share this broader vision of what it means to be to be church was for me, very eye opening. And I'm, and I'm, and I know that not for everybody. But for some people, that is their experience of attending, for example, a larger event of the church, a conference of one of our groups or weren't one of our cohorts, including the General Assembly just have a broader, bigger version of what it means to be part of the connected church.

 

41:15 – Lee Catoe

So I'm really glad he said, that connects being connected is not always easy. And that's, and that is the truth, it is hard work. Because this relationships, and we are very blessed to be in relationship with you and to for your support of us. I just want to say that on so we can put that out there that I am. I am very grateful for your support and a lot of the things that we have done. Alright, so we are very grateful for you and the work that you are doing, and have done in this church. And so we are very blessed to be with you. And very blessed to have you with us. So thank you to Vilmarie for being with us on the podcast. 

 

42:08 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Yeah, thank you so much. Appreciate both of you. Thank you so much for the invitation.

 

42:15 – Lee Catoe

So this week for our resource roundup segment, we're going to be talking about the querying the family theories, which is a series by unbound in partnership with more light Presbyterians and if you don't know much about more light Presbyterians, check out their website mlp.org. more light Presbyterians are an amazing organization that helped the church become more inclusive to our queer community. So check them out. They're great people. But querying the family is a series that is between Mother's Day and Father's Day. And the reason for that is we always focus on those days. And we don't really focus on what all kinds of families there are in between that binary. And so in some ways, we're disrupting that binary. But we really are expanding what it means to be family. We love our moms and dads, but we also want to open it up and to expand what it means. Yeah, to begin family was one another. During this six week series, we will focus on themes that really encompass what a family is. So we'll be focusing on love and growth and nurture, accountability, grief and celebration. And each week, we will have two queer writers that we will publish on Monday and Wednesday of each week. So it's out now check it out. And then more light Presbyterians have a liberation Bible study that they do each week on Tuesday, and an author from the querying the family series will be a part of that Bible study, for they're now querying the family Bible study. So check all those things out on our social media, check all those things out on more light social media at more light presby. Justice unbound.org. We'll have the articles and the written pieces. So check those out at Justice unbound.org. And it's also on our social media, at justice unbound for Facebook and Instagram and then at unbound justice for Twitter. So check out the querying the family series during the spring, so yeah, hope you check it out. Oh, and also all of this will be on the show notes.

 

44:38 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

This has been the matter of faith podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion, you can do so at faith [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you see you next time. See you next time, y'all.

 

45:13 – Simon Doong

Thank you for listening to Episode 11 as a matter of faith, a presby podcast and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice.

 

45:23 – Lee Catoe

And don't forget to leave us a review. It helps us bring stuff like this to you each week. So don't forget to leave us a review till next time