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Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 16 – East Liberty Ministry Hub (Bryan McCabe, Bri Saleone, & Carrie Chappie)

December 6th 2021
Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations. If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Lov... More
I've been running in circles jumping the hurt us getting caught in that brush is doing so much, I'm feeling kind of worn out all this, checking the boxes, trying to before this has been spinning my head, catching my breath too afraid to slow down. I tell myself to keep this up that God wants more than just my love. But I've been complicated things, it's just like me to overthink gotta keep it real simple, keep it real sick, bring everything right. Welcome to the neighborly love podcast. I'm your host, Mark Kashani, thank you so much for carving out time for me today. I do not take that for granted. Our time is so valuable, so precious. So that when you make the decision to give me your time, I am so very, very grateful. This podcast was born out of my desire to personally and help others develop empathy as a superpower to really lean into it.

So the purpose of the podcast is about my guest feeling heard valued and understood, it's about serving others my heart to serve them and their heart to serve other people. It's about the positing money in our relational banks as we all try to work together and make this a better world. So normally I asked my guests three questions tell me about a time that you did something nice for somebody else, What would you do for a living if money were not an issue? And do you have a dream that involves serving others. So with this episode of the podcast though, I have three guests. Normally I have just one but these three guests are special people. They all have a leadership role at Northway christian community Church in Wexford pennsylvania. And they all are involved with starting up a new ministry to serve a community in the East end of Pittsburgh and wanted to just allow them to tell about that vision and how they hope to improve the lives of the people in that community and to serve the community, the community's greater need as it's being revitalized.

So kindly along with me, welcome bryan mccabe Greece alone and carry chappie to the neighborly Love podcast and I hope that you enjoy your time with them as much as I do. Carrie brian bree. So nice to have you as my guest on the neighborly Love podcast. Thank you for making time. Absolutely, yeah, thanks for having us. So normally I'd like to stick with a three question framework, but today we're going to just call it a little bit of an audible and just go with one because I think the one question will allow us to have just a interesting enlightening conversation. So, so normally I asked, tell me about the time that you did something nice for somebody else. Question two would be, what would you do for a living if money were not an issue. But those always almost always segue to this last question. So let's focus on this question. Do you have a dream that involves serving others?

Yeah, I'll jump in and start with that one I know for me for the past 15 or 20 years, I started off working at a school, a public school and I also was involved in leadership at a church as an elder. And this is why I lived out on the west coast. Uh and while I was out there are school would often have different challenges that they were facing in our church, would often want to help out with those challenges and we could never really figure out in the six years that I lived out there, how to kind of bring those worlds together. So, when I moved back to Pittsburgh and uh like I said about 15 years ago or so, I've been involved since then with mobilizing people at our church to serve our city in a variety of different ways, partnering with public schools, partnering with different non profit organizations. And that work is really fun and inspiring. But recently the Lord has kind of opened up some opportunities for other expanded dreams in Pittsburgh and it's exciting to see that begin to take shape.

Our church is going to be opening up ministry hubs in different locations around the city of Pittsburgh, where we're gonna have a lot of community development initiatives and community outreach and places where people can come together and spend time together across races across class differences across cultures to serve our city together. So that's a big dream that that I've had recently along with some other friends and looking forward to seeing that kind of come to fruition. Mm hmm. Like when I think about the phrase ministry hub, like that's a pretty cool phrase to describe something that connects people and brings people together as one. And so, so just just thinking out loud here a little bit too. So how would you see a ministry hub differing from a church? Yes, I we're still gonna have different things like small groups and bible studies and spiritual formation discipleship. So, a lot of the things that a local church might do, but we're also going to have opportunities to utilize this space for things like after school programs for young people, for places to, to go in the neighborhood.

And also uh, different things like projects that we might work together with, with members of the neighborhood based off of what they would like to see happen in their own neighborhood. So, these could be things like housing projects that we worked on or around food and cooking meals together and sharing community meals in East Liberty. It's a neighborhood that the place where we're having our first Location. I was a part of a team that helped to plant a church there about 10 years ago and now we're using that similar space there to be our first hub that we have. So we have a history of connecting with the neighborhood to bring people together. But we want to expand that even further. So whatever the neighborhood once, if there's already some projects or initiatives happening there, we don't want to replicate what's going on elsewhere if we can go out and support that work. But also we have a unique thing that we can offer, which is space and community christian community since we're a church and a lot of churches, if you think about it, uh there's a lot of great churches in our area and they help with worship and preaching and things like that.

And there's a lot of great churches like that already in East Liberty and we want to be a part of that, but also really be involved in community development efforts in the neighborhood. Well brian, that's that's an awesome vision and awesome dream that you have to um to to continue to work with the community that you've already been in for years, it sounds like and you know, I should, I should, I would be remiss if I didn't maybe put some context around this word dream too, because I'm curious what you might but you and bree and carry my you might say to this. So so a dream in this context is really a stress dream, right? So you have, you have all these plans and sort of a vision around what you what you'd like to do. But a stress dream is something that you really don't know how you can accomplish on your own power, right? Where you really, you don't see it all, you don't see clearly how it can manifest itself, but you know that it will because you trust that God will help you get there right and help you accomplish.

So I'm curious what comes to mind when you think of a stress dream that's part of this ministry, like what could be something 10, 15 years from now, that could be, could be real because God made it happen. Like what's that longer term vision that you see this becoming? Yeah, so for me, the word redemption um, is in my life personally, but then also I think um possibly just a word for the hub and so with redemption comes um a lot of change, right? Like you're redeeming a situation, you're redeeming people places whatever. And so I'm in a stage of life where there are areas that I've gotten the word redemption, but I look around and it just doesn't look possible like there's just no way if it was in the world if it was in the court systems, if it was just by human nature, there is no way that this situation will get redeemed.

So I kind of look at the hub and the city of Pittsburgh and poverty and racial justice and all of these things going around and as a christian, you can look around and be like, how do I even remotely help in this area, right? It just feels so overwhelming gun violence, like all of it, how do I be a part of it. And so for me the hub isn't going to be the solver of all of those problems, but it is going to be a place, I hope that there's a holistic approach to a person that they will get to experience the life that they could have, that they could have redemption in their life, in their families in um generational stuff, There's just a freedom in that. Um, and we can only do that with christ like no programs going to do that, no handouts going to do that, no being kind enough to your neighbor's gonna do that.

Like the holy spirit christ freedom, like that is the only way that um real redemption, real change happens. And so for me, um I look at the hubs is creating that space, that may be the city of Pittsburgh just hasn't even seen certain things happen before because we never really let the Holy Spirit into it. Um and so we'll see racial reconciliation in our facility, we will see mom's getting reunited with their kids will see generational stuff be broken over the time. And so specifically I probably can't narrow down like this is what will happen, but I just, I feel the word redemption and freedom as big parts of our hubs, that's beautiful braid. Yeah, and you know, I personally, I thought a lot about this, the whole area of repairing relationships and um, and helping folks to reconcile whatever it might be, it could be.

You think it's just when you think about when you break down the human race, just into relationships and think about that at the core, that's really what life is all about. And we as humans, we've done a pretty, pretty, pretty poor track record with, with that. Right. And so it's really, it's on my heart and I can, I can tell and sense that it's on your and brian and Kerry's heart too, um, to help people understand this concept of redemption and reconciliation. And it's a, it's a beautiful, it's a beautiful vision and it definitely is one that would, I think fit the definition of dream in, in, in, in, in this context. You know, it's like, how do we do that? We can't do it ourselves, we need the Holy Spirit's help. Okay. Yeah, I would just add a brief said that so well that, you know, another big dream is that the church in America is built on churches that, yes, they preached great sermons and they did a lot of great things throughout the centuries.

But also churches were very active in their neighborhoods. They were, they were seen as a local church was a hub for activity for community and over the over the centuries, over the decades, especially the last 100 years or so we've seen kind of a division of that, where churches become more just kind of like a place where people go worship on sunday and then a lot of other activity happens outside the church. I think a big dream for us is to be a part of the movement that's happening that's bringing that back together, where a church is known as a place that is impacting its neighborhood. The question is, is this a better neighborhood because there's a local church expression here and if that's truly the case, then churches need to teach to that and equip people to impact their neighbors and impact their neighborhoods. So in a time when America seems to be more divided than ever, politically, socioeconomically racially, churches are getting a bad rap for being kind of maybe some of the bad actors with that. And instead my dream is to see that narrative flipped to where the church is a place that is reconciling and bringing people together To accomplish the common good of the neighborhood.

And so that's probably the bigger vision for these ministry hubs. And it's not just our church that's doing this, there's a national movement of churches that have been doing this for the past 2030, 40 years that were a part of. So that's exciting to see. And brian, I'm curious do you see this happening because I, i in my own, in my own life, I have experience of ah you know, I I I grew up in a, in a real traditional kind of christian faith called Russian orthodox right orthodoxy and and very close to being uh to Catholicism in its sort of style. Um I then made a choice to join a baptist church, you know, uh and a black baptist church at that. Um you know, in my thirties, I just made the decision to do it. Um I fell in love with the church, I fell in love with the pastor, the community and really became part of that community. Um and now currently, just because of having to move a little bit farther out, I had to choose a different church and I'm part of a white, mostly white uh evangelistic type of church in the in the suburbs.

So I guess I offer that just, I have this very diverse set of experience. So I'm curious about what you just said about what that there's there's this groundswell of activity like this around this type of concept is ministry hubs. Do you see it happening? And if again, if if you'll maybe allow me just to just to use the to describe, you know, in the in the with white churches and black churches, do you see kind of a cross a cross hatch pollination of the tube. Yes, absolutely, that's it. And and part of what's happening is the loudest voices are the ones that kind of make the national news and create this narrative that this type of thing is not happening. So you might have very progressive or very conservative churches that are kind of And people that are out there, their voices are being elevated but quietly there are folks that are working towards reconciliation, doing Christian community development work. One of the heroes of our Christian faith. Dr. John Perkins for the past 40 years plus has been leading a national movement called the Christian Community Development Association with a white pastor named White Gordon in Chicago in Lawndale Chicago.

And that's just one example of one network of white churches, black churches uh and and beyond those ethnicities. There's many different ethnicities in the United States that are part of that uh that work but have been really just paving the way for this to happen and they don't get a whole lot of fanfare. But you can go to just about any city in the United States and find A CCD Church that's doing great work in their in their community and it's not the social gospel that so often gets dismissed either. It's it's a full holistic gospel that is reaching people and seeing their neighborhoods be transformed at the same time. That's awesome. I love Dr Perkins. In fact, I'm taking his master class right now. Just love him and let's make sure to capture. I want to make sure for the for those listening that we capture. So the C. C. D. A. Is the association that you referenced there real quick. Can we just, can you state what that what that um what that acronym is? Uh yes, the C. C. D. A. Is the christian community Development Association so that it's one formal network of churches connected across the country that are are doing this type of work that we're referencing to.

So let's go back to this concept of the term ministry hub. I'm curious about something else too. So do you see this as a very dynamic mix of believers and and folks that don't believe. Like, you know, do you expect to attract folks that that don't believe that, you know, in uh in God or in christ or you know, or lost. You know, do you see that? Do you do you intend to attract them as well as believers? Like what's what's because it's it's sort of, you know, we think in terms of audience that you're serving very different audiences. So how do you see that, I guess What what's your what's your what's your thoughts there? And I speak to my hope for that and I mean, I'm just an outsider looking in as a, you know, somebody volunteering to help. But I would hope that that's the intention, right? Because the beauty I think for me of this hub is that it is taking a holistic approach to the person that yeah, we're focused on the community and that's the whole the hope is impacting the community and deposited the way, but you can't do that unless you're impacting individuals unless you're, you know, um, setting up a framework where broken people can become whole again.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I would that's great Kerry and I would just say the church in many instances, I love God's church, I'm a pastor. So I, you know, I I don't want to sound negative on, I'm part, I'm trying to be part of the solution to help us continue to grow and improve. But the church is one of the only social institutions that exists for people that are not currently a part of it. So we are supposed to be having a uh, an initiative in the world, a mission in the world that points people towards God and and serves the common good of our, of our neighborhoods of our cities, regardless of where people are at, in their faith. In my view, as a christian, every person is made in God's image, no matter where they're at in their faith journey. And so the place that we should be is right where we see jesus of Nazareth and his ministry. He spent most of his time with people who were on the margins of society and he spent most of his time just interacting with people with hospitality with, with just showing compassion and jesus saved his harshest words for the religious people who thought that they had it all together, which is really interesting.

They were kind of missing the whole point of jesus's ministry and so he was, they were pretty thick headed and sometimes we can get thickheaded about the savior that we're following, we think it's all about us and a special club or something when really, you know, jesus mission is to every person in every place to point people towards God. And so that's the, I guess the theological vision behind the ministry hubs is we hope it's a place where people can come together to, to connect and to grow. Yes, hopefully they grow in their faith and as I mentioned earlier, we'll have that component at these ministry hubs, but also we just want to connect with people and build those relationships and see the common good of the neighborhood come up because we have a local church expression there. Yeah, amen brian, you know, this podcast was based on my love for the parable of the good samaritan and and what what and what you just said reminded me of this story because when you think about it, who passed it, the person who was laying dead nearly dead on the road, who passed them by right to very religious in the day religious types, right.

Um high up on the hierarchy in culture who stopped to take care of him, who showed him love, who showed him compassion, who showed them, you know what it means to be a neighbor, right? And that's why Jesus told that story, you know what it means to be a neighbor and uh I really see in my words now to describe your vision and and breeze vision and carries vision for this ministry hub. I I actually think that that it captures the spirit of that parable and what it means to be a neighbor and what it means to show love to your fellow human, which is only possible if you love God first. And that's why we as humans often fail to express love because we get the order out of whack. Yeah, yeah, for sure. And and you know, it's, it's important to note that there's lots of churches and ministries in the area that have been there a long time before us.

So our churches just participating in the work that God was doing before we arrived there, we'll do our best to join that work while we're there. And then long after we're gone, hopefully that work will continue because that's how God Rolls God, God's mission just goes and we get invited to be a part of that. You know, the jesus often offered an invitation, jesus invitation is to the powerful and the powerless, it's to all of us to to join him and to connect with him. You know, oftentimes people who are in struggling situations can recognize that that invitation more because they don't have it together and they kind of need, they're looking for something, you know, it's, it's folks who sometimes we feel like we have it together, that that missed that. And so that's why jesus had to teach on what you just said. That one basic message of love your neighbor, love God, and love your neighbor. It seems so basic, enjoy, jesus boils all the teachings down to that. And somehow in 2021 we can't seem to get that right.

So you got to keep it simple. Yeah, yeah, that's right. Well, what a beautiful vision, what a beautiful dream. I have so many things bouncing around in my head right now, that that um after, you know, I'm sure we'll hopefully have a chance to follow up on with you. Um, I could see, you know, there's an entire Eastern cooperative ministry that uh as part of the Church of Saint paul that I that I went to for many, many years that uh you guys are both serving the same, really, the same community, same neighborhood and I think there's some goodness there and making some connections. So, I know the spirit will move uh he'll move all of us in the direction that he wants us to go with this. But thank you for sharing. Uh now, one last thing, I, I am aware, I just wanna make sure that those who want to keep track of the the the ministry hub. So, at the moment, the ministry hub is is part of an outreach uh from Northway Church.

And so at the moment there's not a separate website for it, but let's just make sure people who want to follow the progress of So would you guys be so kind of just to say the plan between now and uh you know this podcast is going to air in December uh you know, so December 2021, so you know, just to give some people what are the next steps so they can keep tabs on you? Yeah, so we have our website Northway dot org are hubs will eventually pop up in the tab options in january so you can check it out there. We also actually have a Northway East End uh facebook that we will be hopefully transitioning into the hub facebook page. So if people started following that page now we are actively posting on there. If there's opportunities to serve, so that might be a more direct right now option. But our website will become in january. Okay, awesome. Well I'm excited to see what you guys do with this.

I hope that if there's a role that I could play to help, I would love to do that and it's been just a real pleasure spending time with you and I appreciate your hard enough. Thank you. Thanks Mark. Alright, have a beautiful Russian today guys. Hello, mm hmm. Mhm. Mhm people

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 16 – East Liberty Ministry Hub (Bryan McCabe, Bri Saleone, & Carrie Chappie)
Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 16 – East Liberty Ministry Hub (Bryan McCabe, Bri Saleone, & Carrie Chappie)
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