Students Cathy Love and Mateo Mamea were chosen to represent CST at the National Council of Churches’ Christian Unity Gathering in Virginia next month.
Mateo says he is most excited about seeing people of faith coming together, while Cathy sees this as an opportunity to continue the fight against systemic racism—a fight she has been in for more than two decades.
Mateo’s undergraduate degree is in Human Communications and he briefly attended law school before coming to CST to pursue a M.Div. degree. Post-graduation, he hopes to develop interfaith dialogue forums that work to “open our hearts and minds to each other.” A local Claremontian, Mateo grew up in the Claremont United Methodist Church, worshiping regularly with CST professors and students over the years. He says, “I viewed CST as a place where spiritual growth and knowledge was fostered. Truthfully, I never thought I would ever have the privilege of attending such an auspicious institution. So each day I walk onto campus I am overwhelmed with gratitude and feel God’s grace wash over me.”
Cathy was a classroom teacher for twenty-three years, and for twenty of those years she served in schools of wide diversity and heavy economic distress. She says, “I have seen racism and classism at the institutional level in ways that continue to shock me, and I see the struggle of people working within our educational institutions to combat this disease. So many people struggle, with little support, as systems keep them within tightly controlled units of geography or grade/subject matter. Hope can be elusive.”
Today, as she walks toward a future in formal ministry, she sees the opportunity to continue the fight against systemic racism from a different angle. The NCC’s Christian Unity Gathering will continue its focus on racism; the 2019 program is titled “Ending Racism: Confronting Our Past, Revisiting Our Present and Naming God’s Preferred Future.” Cathy says, “I see in this gathering the opportunity to delve into issues of racism from a perspective that crosses denominational lines, and to make connections with a range of people with whom I can grow in ministry and share in making positive change in this world. Further, I heard two interviews with Ibram X. Kendi (keynote speaker at the event) on NPR recently. I was drawn to his clarity on antiracism as a necessary way forward, as an active mechanism to combat the disease of racism. I am particularly thrilled to be able to hear him speak.”
Post-graduation, Cathy hopes to become an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She says, “At CST, I found the community that I had been searching for—genuinely dedicated people working toward depth of understanding, closer relationship with God, and a strong commitment to ecumenism and social justice. My initial intention was to work toward congregational ministry, and that remains my goal—yet, with every new class and experience, I see the ever-broadening scope of just what ministry can entail. I am drawn to rural and/or small-town ministry, and see that strength is found in connection. I hope to serve a congregation in an area where the churches and other houses of worship can find commonalities of mission and work together to serve all of God’s people.”
Cathy is a second year M.Div. student in our hybrid program.