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Connecting our Conversations

Author: The Presbytery of Southern New England

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Connecting our Conversations is hosted by the Presbytery of Southern New England, a regional governing body in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This is our space for conversations that push the edges of our faith and help us deepen discipleship. Season 1: Summer 2020 - Undoing Racism.
12 Episodes
In this episode of Connecting our Conversations, Rev. Shannan Vance Ocampo speaks with Rev. Julie Emery about an exciting summer sermon series: The Gospel According to Ted Lasso.  Rev. Julie joined Westminster Presbyterian as lead Minister in 2014. She brings creativity and a passion for inclusive worship and preaching and a heart for social justice.  Julie grew up in Michigan and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from the University of Michigan. She received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2004. Before coming to Westminster, Julie has served congregations in New Hampshire and New York, as well as serving as a chaplain for Hospice Care.The Gospel According to Ted Lasso is a devotional book by Rev. Matthew Titus. You can find it here: TV Show Ted Lasso is available on Apple TV+Connecting our Conversations is hosted by the Presbytery of Southern New England, a regional governing body in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This is our space for conversations that push the edges of our faith and help us deepen discipleship.
In this "pivot moment" in the life of the church in the United States, where what it means to be The Church and to live out a Christian faith is constantly being questioned, our Presbytery is leaning in to our ongoing antiracism and equity work of discernment - how are we currently structured? How has our church been coopted into systems of injustice and sin? If we are by nature a cooperative group, how can we in our work together speak the same language of antiracism?In this first episode of Season Three, PSNE's General Presbyter, the Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo talks with Jessica Vazquez-Torres and Ryan Lents of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training and with Kirk Louis, former chair of the PSNE Anti-Racism and Equity Committee, about our upcoming Presbytery-wide antiracism training series: What is Antiracism and What Does It Require of Us?Note: this podcast was recorded in September 2022. The training dates referenced are Wednesdays Oct 5, Oct 19, Nov 2, and Nov 16, 2022. If you are interested in registering yourself or a group, please contact us at you are listening *after* these trainings and this sparks something in you, please contact to be added to our distribution lists for future antiracism and equity resources and educational opportunities. 
Content Warning: This podcast discusses suicide and suicidal ideation, and some people might find it disturbing. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please, contact your physician, go to your local ER, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both programs provide free, confidential support 24/7----Members of Presbyterian Promise have a conversation about LGBTQIA Youth in our communities and the unique role the church can have in supporting them in the mental health crucible our youth are facing coming out of this pandemic. From the Trevor Project:  "Being LGBTQ alone does not put a young person at higher risk for suicide; the discrimination, rejection, fear, and harassment that may come with being LGBTQ in an unsupportive environment are what increase the risk." Presbyterian Promise consists of member congregations from the Presbytery of Southern New England and is part of the larger church's movement toward inclusivity of LGBT persons.
PSNE's the Rev. Anne Weirich has been leading groups to the Holy Land for years...but this Feburary 2022 trip was the first since the Covid-19 pandemic. Communication Manager (and fellow Holy Land pilgrim), Erika Plank Hagan, talks with the Rev. Anne Weirich, the Rev. Carol Howard Meritt, and Greg Botting about their recent trip: surprises, renewal, and the connections (and the food!) that they brought back with them.
PSNE's the Rev. Dr. Tracy Mehr-Muska, Minister for Mid and Later Life at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, CT and author of Weathering The Storm: Simple Strategies for Being Peaceful and Prepared, talks about her work in researching and teaching Resiliency - and how it's not something we're born with but characteristics we can cultivate. How are we as faith communities uniquely situated to be resilient and nurture resiliency?
Recorded in December of 2021 as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was surging in New England, the Rev. Mieke Vandersall and Matt Beams share about the strange blessings of the pandemic and their worshipping community, Not So Churchy, whose participation has nearly doubled as they shifted to a virtual community, welcoming people from all over the country.  How did the Queering of Things inform how this community navigates the pandemic? What does it mean to Queer the Church? Let's find out: "Come on in, the water's fine!"
Advent is a season of waiting, of darkness, of anticipation. In this Advent season of 2021, PSNE Communications Manager, Erika Plank Hagan, talks with the Rev Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery, Pastor of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Church in Springfield, MA, near the one-year anniversary of the hate crime where their building was destroyed in a fire, and about how that community is looking forward and not backward to their new ministry in the world.As our church moves into 2022 after two years of pandemic and unrest - can we also look forward toward the unexpected?
Presbyterian clergy are ordained to a call - a vocational calling. PSNE Communications Manager, Erika Plank Hagan, talks with three of our Presbytery's newest ordained clergy, the Rev. Dale Green, the Rev. Jessica Jones, and the  Rev. Grace Woodward, on their calls to chaplaincy during the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout.How has God prepared us for *this* moment? What can we learn from ministering to the sick and vulnerable and those who care for them, and can we apply any of it to our churches as we come out of this pandemic season?
PSNE Communications Manager, Erika Plank Hagan, talks with the Rev. Kevin White and Elder Nancy Boyd about the recent celebration of Calvin Presbyterian's 50th anniversary - made more complicated by Covid - and how the church's beginnings as two churches pivoting to become one church perhaps informs where we are now, pivoting into a post-Covid church world.
A June 2, 2020 conversation with Jessica Vazquez-Torres of Crossroads Anti-Racism Training and Organizing about the why behind our summer book group, our anti-racism work as a Presbytery and what our explorations will and can be this summer.
Season 2, Episode 2: No Justice No Peace - Confessional Interactive Art at FPC New Haven.PSNE Communications Manager, Erika Plank Hagan, talks with the Rev. J.C. Cadwallader, Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church, New Haven.When it became apparent that FPC New Haven wouldn’t be worshipping together at the church Fall 2020 due to the continued spread of coronavirus, leadership began thinking about how they could use their space to share their faith. This moment coincided with the protests of racial injustice across our country following the deaths of George Floyd – a Black man killed by a White police officer – and Breonna Taylor – a Black woman killed by White police officers in her home, among many others.The resulting No Justice No Peace art installation is powerful, confessional, and interactive - and created both opportunities for relationship building and negotiating conflict in the local community.
Our two Presbytery Commissioners to the 224th General Assembly, Walter Manual and Jenny Peek, hosted a Zoom conversation about the Assembly and some of its actions. They were also joined by PSNE Stated Clerk, David Baer, and Shannan Vance-Ocampo and Tom McNeill from our Presbytery who were corresponding members and resource persons to the Assembly.  Anthony Trujillo, a good friend of our Presbytery, who is under care of the Presbytery of NYC is on the national PCUSA Native American Coordinating Committee and was also a corresponding member and resource person to the Assembly also joined us and shared about the specific important actions of the Assembly around Native American issues in the PCUSA.  We also discussed some of the concerns around anti-racism that came up around the work of the Assembly.
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