Stories of spirituality, culture, and identity from Latinx perspectives. This podcast is a project of Encuentros Latinx, an LGBTQ Latinx ministry in the United Church of Christ. New episodes each month on 1st Saturdays.

You may remember La Muna from one of our previous episodes. Well, she just wrote a reflection piece for Encuentros Latinx called "5 Loaves and 2 Fish" that you can now find on UCC.org. Encuentros Latinx posts monthly, short reflections for spiritual contemplation, so go check them out if devotional reading is part of your spiritual practice.

 

I’ve got a book recommendation for you today: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. It’s about a woman named Gifty who’s the daughter of Ghanain immigrants and is currently a neuroscience PhD candidate. But she comes from a strong Pentecostal background, a mother struggling with mental health issues, and a family tragedy that, over time, upended Gifty’s absolute faith in God. Gifty is forced to confront all of this when her mother enters into her worst spell with her mental health issues in many, many years. This is a phenomenal novel and Gifty’s story reminds me so much of the faith journeys that many of my guests have shared on this podcast.

 

Speaking of guests, today you’ll hear my conversation with RJ Robles, which spans from an incident with biting ants in Puerto Rico to an expansion and weaving together of multiple spiritualities. It’s quite a ride challenging every barrier of faith and gender, so let’s get right into this encuentro.

 

Encuentros Latinx reflection piece by La Muna: https://www.ucc.org/5-loaves-of-bread-and-2-fish/

 

RJ’s social media

Instagram: @boiricanjoy 

Facebook: RJ Robles

 

Today’s episode is the first of what will hopefully be several episodes beautifully combining two areas of my life: my work on this podcast and my work as an author. My guest is Lauren Davila, editor of many anthologies, including two Latinx anthologies coming out this fall. I have a fantasy short story in one of those anthologies. So as we get closer to publication, I’m hoping to bring you some of the other Latinx authors I’m being published with in future episodes.

Lauren and I have a wonderful conversation about fiction anthologies as community storytelling spaces and why she enjoys working on them. We also talk about the weird things that happen at Christian colleges and, briefly, whether you can still be Mexican and not like corn. All Latinx experiences are valid here, so let’s get right into this encuentro.

Lauren's Twitter: @laurengilmore03

Lauren's Instagram: @laurentdavila

Podcast recorded by Taylor Ramage and edited by Storm Miguel Florez

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

Maybe it’s alright to risk a little blasphemy when attempting greater love and radical inclusion, which is a running theme in my conversation with today’s guest: Álvaro Durán. We have a great conversation about the colonization of queer language and what salvation rooted in liberation looks like. He also shares all of the work he’s doing in pastoral ministry and advancing LGBTQ rights in El Salvador, so let’s get right into this encuentro.

Follow Álvaro’s work with Comunidad de Magdala: https://www.facebook.com/libresencristosv/ 

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

Attention ministers seeking a new calling. Faith Community United Church of Christ in Bensenville, Illinois seeks a settled, full-time pastor. They’re looking for a leader who speaks strong English and Spanish with a considerable knowledge of both cultures to bridge between current and future members and their ever-changing community. Visit the congregation’s website at www.faithcommunityucc.com. Find this opportunity listing at oppsearch.ucc.org/id/4775. 

My guest today is Marcelino Rivera, whose formation in a community focused on sharing and welcoming shaped him into a minister who extends that welcome to those who’ve been forgotten by the church. We talk about some of the limitations of the term Latinx, Latinidad in the UCC, and how the Pulse nightclub shooting changed his ministry. Fun fact: he had an encuentro of his own with Elliot Page and we chat a bit about that encuentro in this encuentro. It’s encuentroception here on the podcast, so let’s get right into it.

Racism toolkit: https://www.ucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/RACISM-TOOLKIT-2021.pdf

LGBTQ+ toolkit: https://www.ucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/LGBTQ-TOOLKIT-2021.pdf

You can find the video feed and other Encuentros Latinx videos on the UCC's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6VgfHt6zEy6fiX4DkjRjuH3Rly3wyeV3

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

Welcome, beautiful listeners, to Encuentros Latinx in 2022. Do you like science fiction and fantasy? Do you want to support new and emerging Black and Latinx authors? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that I have a fantasy short story slated to be published in a young adult Latinx anthology called Where Monsters Lurk and Magic Hides. This is one of three anthologies being published by Bee Infinite Publishing, a Black-owned indie publisher. There’s a Kickstarter running right through January 22 to make these books possible with a wide range of donation levels. This is not only your way of pre-ordering these books, but it’s also an opportunity to support marginalized writers that face an uphill battle with a publishing industry dominated by whiteness. Find Bee Infinite Publishing on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about this campaign and thank you for any donation or spreading of the word you do.

Link to the Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/94423297/bee-infinite-publishings-2022-bipoc-anthology-projects/description

You will be blessed to know that the holidays are not over here at Encuentros Latinx. My guest Lisbeth Melendez Rivera tells us all about the months long winter holidays she remembers celebrating in Puerto Rico. Then, we get into one of the most nuanced and in-depth discussions of the term Latinx that I’ve had the pleasure of having on this show.

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UCCEncuentrosLatinx/?ref=py_c

Encuentros Latinx is wrapping up yet another wonderful year with Posadas Navideñas on December 15th at 5pm eastern, 4pm central, and 2pm pacific. Join us yet again on Zoom for music and fellowship.

 

I have neglected to mention that this podcast now has a video feed sometimes! You can find those videos and videos of other Encuentros Latinx work on the United Church of Christ’s YouTube channel. We have a whole playlist dedicated to our stuff. You might especially want to check out the video of today’s episode because my guest is sharing a video clip from his latest documentary.

 

Who is this guest? It’s none other than Storm Miguel Florez, the man behind all the editing of every Encuentros Latinx episode! He has so much to share about his experience with gender and sexuality, growing up in a time period and culture where it was just not accepted, yet still finding people who shaped him and helped him grow into identities that break binaries. He also tells us about his film work and other creative stuff he does, so again you will absolutely want to stick around to the end and go check out the video episode on YouTube.

You can find the video feed and other Encuentros Latinx videos on the UCC's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6VgfHt6zEy6fiX4DkjRjuH3Rly3wyeV3

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UCCEncuentrosLatinx/?ref=py_c

Register for Posadas Navideñas: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZgv7EgZgQbfGtnbhenj-q16cXdDOwoZv0dqLxaUycvtwVDQ/viewform

We are breaking our usual format this month and bringing you a panel episode with the Encuentros Latinx Advisory Committee demonstrating our racism and LGBTQ+ toolkits. Both resources are available for download and use in your own congregation.

Racism toolkit: https://www.ucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/RACISM-TOOLKIT-2021.pdf

LGBTQ+ toolkit: https://www.ucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/LGBTQ-TOOLKIT-2021.pdf

You can find the video feed and other Encuentros Latinx videos on the UCC's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6VgfHt6zEy6fiX4DkjRjuH3Rly3wyeV3

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com

My guest today is Josue Perea and in the spirit of the Halloween season, we start off with a discussion about death and mortality with a little help from some beloved sci-fi series. Then, Josue shares his own experience of the term Latinx and Afrolatinidad, and ties it all into his pastoral work. Just a friendly reminder that Encuentros Latinx has a racism toolkit that you can download for free and use in your own congregation for racial justice work and Josue is the author of one of the passages. You’ll want to stick around to the end of the show to hear his words!

Josue's work and social media

IG: @guesnerth

Afrolatin@forum: www.afrolatinoforum.org

Register for Colectivo UCC's Latinx Heritage Month Celebration 4pm ET, 3pm CT, 1pm PT! https://bit.ly/2XE2XOQ

Today's guest is musician La Muna. Those of you who were at General Synod may remember her song Rooted In Your Love. I got a chance to catch up with her and she shares wonderful experiences of her family’s coffee farm in Colombia, the trinitarian nature of her relationship with God, and how her activism has shaped her music.

La Muna's music:

https://lamuna.bandcamp.com/album/coraz-n-norte

https://www.corazonnorte.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/lamunamusica

Email the podcast at encuentroslatinxs@gmail.com.

Facebook: UCC Encuentros Latinx

This episode was recorded by Taylor Ramage and edited by Storm Miguel Florez.

Today's longer tostones episode is all about General Synod! Get a snapshot of our presence there and the shenanigans I got myself into.

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