January 5th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Controversial Catholic program for gays begins in Connecticut

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, this month is beginning a program that ministers to gays and lesbians, CNN affiliate WFSB-TV reports.

"These are people in the Roman Catholic Church who need our care and love," Deacon Robert Pallotti, director of the Office of the Diaconate, told the Hartford TV station. "In some cases, they have been rejected by society. They need to be accepted, affirmed and supported as Roman Catholics trying to remain faithful to church teachings."

The Vatican-endorsed program, called Courage, has more than 100 national chapters, WFSB reports. According to its website, Courage was started in 1980 by the late Terence Cardinal Cooke in Manhattan "to form a spiritual support system which would assist men and women with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love."

Pallotti told WFSB, "Through support and spiritual intervention, we can help those with same-sex attractions live moral and fulfilling lives. These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion."

The move has not been without controversy in the archdiocese after some questioned whether the program was condoning homosexual behavior, which is contrary to the Catholic Church's teaching that sexual activity is reserved only for married heterosexual couples.

"Courage will not reduce a person's identity to their sexual desire," Pallotti told WFSB. "They are people with full human dignity not defined solely by their sexual desire."

But one gay and lesbian group in Hartford questioned the need for the group and whether the church had sought input from gays and lesbians in forming it.

"It feels offensive to us, and it feels discriminatory," Linda Estabrook, director of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, told WFSB.  "You're telling people not to be intimate with each other."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Gay rights

soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. The Bobinator

    "In some cases, they have been rejected by society. They need to be accepted, affirmed and supported as Roman Catholics trying to remain faithful to church teachings."

    They were rejected by your faith. I mean, how silly is this statement. Christians rejected them. Catholics rejected them.

    This whole concept of sin is ridiculous. God created sin.

    1) In the beginning, there was only God.
    2) God is all powerful. God is therefore all knowing, because if he was not all knowing, he would not be all powerful.
    3) God creates Adam and Eve.
    4) Adam and Eve's minds is not perfect like God's, for they are not all knowing.
    5) God gave a test to Adam and Eve.
    6) Given 1 and 3, it is shown that God must have created Adam and Eve's personality.
    7) Given 4, God implanted faults into the minds of Adam and Eve.
    8) Given 2 and 7, God knows what the personality he created will result in.
    9) Given 5 and 8, God knows that Adam's personality, which he created will result in the failure of his test.
    10) Given 9, God intended Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge.
    11) Given 10, God intended for sin to be brought into the world.

    I look forward to honest debate on this logical argument.


    January 6, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Primewonk

      An omnipotent and omniscient god precludes the existencee of freewill. I agree.

      This god also created evil. He knew, before he created the universe that he would create Lucifer. And he knew that Lucifer would become evil. Yet he went ahead and created Lucifer aanywaay.

      In retrospect, this seems like a very bad decision.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Life is a test from God. Through free will, do you pass or fail? Pass, your spirit spends eternity with Him were evil is blotted out never to be remembered. Fail, your spirit gets blotted out.


      January 7, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  2. Pope John Paul the Turd

    Sometimes the young men in our church like to play pranks. One day I suddenly had brownGravy flowing all over my face....it was quite funny. Those little pranksters had taken a huge doodee in my beany cap. It really loosened up everyone and the love making between myself and the boys was much improved.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  3. Pope John Paul the Turd

    We males in the catholic church prefer to be RumpRangers and PoleSmokers. Amen.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  4. PsiCop

    So, the Catholic Church is trying to "help" these people who've been rejected by society, by telling them they're disordered and that they cannot be permitted to live their lives? That isn't "help" for the "rejected" ... that's just another form of rejection. Sheesh. Shouldn't the RC Church get its own house in order before telling others how they must live?

    January 6, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • R

      Catholics are trying to help rejected and discriminated by themselves only.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  5. Mayfly

    God is the author of love. We are to love one another not judge. Christians are to love the sinner – not the sins. We are all sinners. We all need love and forgiveness. Pray for peace on earth and in the soul. Pray for the gay sinner, the straight sinner, and yourself. God Bless.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but 'love' was around long LONG before anyone on this planet had ever heard of your 'god'

      January 6, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • Primewonk

      Your cobbled together version of a god showed up about 6000 years ago. Love, as an emotion, has been part of humanity since wwe became human – about 200,00 years ago.

      You also post the old biblical adage to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Can you provide the book, chapter, and verse where your god says this? I've looked throughout your whole bible, and I can't find it anywhere.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • The Bobinator

      God created sin and threw it upon us.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes, Bob, God creates everything. Are you going to pass or fail His test of life or are you going to sit on this site and complain?


      January 7, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • YeahRight

      "God creates everything."

      Including the snake that it knew would entice Eve so it could condemn it's creation to a burn fire pit of eternity, then know it was going to screw up said creation and would destroy all by a few including unborn children. Yeah, some god you got going on there, it's not a god, it's a monster.

      January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Mayfly

      The first human, whether evolved from apes or not, was given the capacity to love. That seed of love came from God, the creator. Whether we recognize God as the creator of love or not, we were created in the likeness of God. God created all things since God is all things. Humans are created with options...choice. You can chose to do this or that because God is not a dictator, but a God of love. Love is a choice. God doesn't MAKE you love him. When you decide to choose otherwise and run away from God...he waits for you, and waits, and waits. God loves his creation, but his creation doesn't always love him back.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  6. A. Wolf

    Dear @Heaven Sent :

    With your highly sanctimonious name and your mean-spirited words of condemnation and rebuke, you exemplify everything evil and mindless of which your opponents are accusing Christianity. I'm sure many of them thank you for making their arguments so much more effective with your contributions.

    Then again, I'm pretty certain you make most observant Christians roll their eyes and/or cringe.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Boo hoo. Wofie is conditioned to being stroked in life to shove his sinful nature under the rug and can't stand Jesus' truth is being posted. I suppose you believe that love the sinner, hate the sin is written in the Bible (LOL).


      January 7, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  7. EuphoriCrest

    In other news today, the LGBT community has formed a support group for Catholics. Their goal is "to form a support system which would assist men and women subjected to a life of intolerance and misguided dogma in living lives in fellowship, truth and love."

    January 6, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Marry

      Great comment! :-)!!!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  8. Mayfly

    If a gay person wants the program they can sign up; If they don't, they don't have to bother. There are many types of gay people just as there are straight. If some gay people find comfort and faith in a Catholic program like Courage, why do other gays have to criticize?

    January 6, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Primewonk

      It's like a church running a program for black folks – telling them that even though they are black, they shouldn't act on that blackness. Rather, they should just pretend they are white. And that Jesus loves them. He just doesn't love their blackness.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • HeavenSent


      January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  9. Slash

    Being a Catholic is a choice. A choice that more people need to not make.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Primewonk

      But being gay is not a choice. If you choose to belong to a religious cult that purposefully ignores science, you should expect to be mocked.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Pope John Paul the Turd

      Being gay is a choice, my son. Come to the confessional and I will show you. Amen.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, so what you are saying is God didn't give gay people free will?



      January 7, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  10. Reality

    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      January 6, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  11. Rev. Ray Dubuque

    If "the best defense is a good offense", I recommend that the LGBT community stop playing defense all the time and start putting the R.C. hierarchy on the defensive instead.
    Every time they point their crooked old "celibate" fingers at you, redouble your efforts to publicize http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/ a site that does a fantastic job of exposing not just a few, but a great many, of the flaws of the so-called "True, Holy, Catholic church"!

    January 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Then it's no eternity for any of you.

      Game over. God wins.


      January 6, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Game over, God wins"
      You seem to be saying that life itself is a contest against God and His prize is sending your soul to hell.
      If it is a game, then the odds seem rather stacked against the average man, what with the Opponent being omniscient.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc, Everything was created to please God. It's his ball park. Anyone that doesn't like it can take their bat and ball and get blotted out.


      January 7, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for gods and other nonexistent things

    Prayer changes nothing.
    Prayer has wasted time throughout the course of history
    Prayer defines idiots.
    Prayer gives you lots of practice on your knees.
    To the master the bible says you can have many slaves.
    Prayer opens the bowels like high fiber Raisin Bran.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      What's wrong? Can't do anything else?

      January 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Atheism is not, simple solution. Stay carnal. Enjoy this life. No eternity for you.


      January 6, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Carnal is the name I gave my d.ildo, btw.


      January 6, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh boohoo HeavenSent says I won't have eternity. Oh whatever shall I do. Ooh I know I'll live like a decent human being and if there is a God I doubt that he/she will be as petty and small minded as followers like HeavenSent, fred, and George.
      If he/she is that petty I wouldn't want to be around there anyway.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, boo hoo. Hawaii hates NOT being stroked by the false preachers NOT teaching Jesus' truth.


      January 7, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  13. AvdBerg

    The article by Eric Marrapodi is misleading and the issues he writes about are void of any spiritual understanding and the future will confirm that the efforts by the Archdiocese of Hartford are all in vain.

    For a better understanding of the history of the Catholic Church and the issues that are raised in the above article, we invite you to read the third item listed on the Current Events page of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    We also do encourage you to read the articles ‘Boston University ~ School of Theology and Stonehill College’, ‘The Mystery Babylon’ and ‘Popes and the Princes of This World’.

    To give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) that control the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the articles ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ and ‘Influence of the Media’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      BlahBlahBlah you just cut and paste the same crap everyday. Your website is nothing but an outlet for hate and zealotry.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Hawaii Guest

      We did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them (Luke 9:56).

      January 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      "Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) recently mentioned that God loves and cares for the people of Ja.pan. This was a direct reference to the god and spirit of this world (Gal. 4:8) and an image of a false god and false Christ (Matthew 24:24). Franklin Graham does not preach to you the Gospel of Christ but a false gospel. The official Billy Graham website is already listing a number of requests for donations, using the pitiful plight of the Ja.panese people to get your attention."

      Is THAT saving lives?! "pitiful plight of the Ja.panese" The whole site is like that! You promote nothing but theocracy and damnation. I hope that he.ll exists because if it does you and everyone that works on that site will probably be there.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Nothing else to say AvdBerg? I'm waiting for the latest justification for the hate you spew.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      HawaiiGuest, you posted to AvdBerg "Nothing else to say AvdBerg? I'm waiting for the latest justification for the hate you spew."

      Answer: Get a grip. He answered you the 2nd posting he sent.


      January 6, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • .....

      CULT ALERT – this person is a troll on this site, click the report abuse link to get rid of this trash. They are LIARS and are only here to sell their garbage website and book.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      He answered nothing. He put out a little sound bite and I put a direct quote from the website he constantly refers to. If you can't tell the difference between an answer and a cop-out then I think you may need to go back to school.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      HawaiiGuest, who's coping out? Christians post Jesus' scriptures so that you can read His truth for yourself. Therefore, that is what He did.


      January 7, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    God's grace is evidenced in prayer
    And freely available to all sinners
    Find freedom in Christ
    And life with God
    Prayer has the power to work miracles

    January 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I don't know about that but I do know that it would be a miraculous thing if you posted something different for a change.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer will change your life
      Prayer will reveal your life
      Prayer will increase your life
      Prayer will define your life
      Prayer can be your life
      Nothing is more important in life than
      Talking to God and
      Listening to God

      January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Awww look at that....so miracles don't happen then.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Rev. Ray Dubuque

      IYour sales pitch for prayer would be more believable if God would only answer the prayers of amputees. See http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      January 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      God answers the prayers of all mankind. Do you presume to know the personal prayers to God of all amputees or are you just trying to impress everyone with how compassionate you are? 100 years ago a severed limb was lost forever, now with God's imparted knowledge many limbs are reattached. God working through mankind will ultimately give regeneration to us. Perhaps if more people worked with God instead of for their smart ass selves we would reach that day a lot sooner.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:59 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Inconvenient Truth
      Since the majority of scientists are non-theistic, I'd say that medical science will advance in spite of God, not becuase of Him working through man.
      Remember the Tower of Babel? God has made it pretty clear that He doesn't want human kind to work as one towards a common goal like healing amputees.
      In fact, God isn't really a fan of cri.pples, is He?
      "Whosoever ... hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. ... Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries."
      Leviticus 21:17

      January 6, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Rev. Ray Dubuque, you posted "IYour sales pitch for prayer would be more believable if God would only answer the prayers of amputees. See http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/"

      Answer: God has answered everyone's prayers. He made all of us to help those in need.


      January 7, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Hey, HS, when are you going to tell us all about the big egos that got you fired? Were they CARNAL?

    January 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I like the cut of your jib, sir.

      January 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Right back atcha, Prawn. (Not a sir, though, in spite of the handle. 😉

      January 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, you spewed:

      "Hey, HS, when are you going to tell us all about the big egos that got you fired? Were they CARNAL?"

      Answer: I'll let you know when you tell us all about your experience with menopause 20 years ago and what led to the issue with morbid obesity. See frank's post below? You = the catholic church. That's how everyone feels about you except for two of your lost puppy followers. When Jesus returns, figure out your mistakes. Until that day, you're just going to continue being a venomous and bitter thing with helmet hair.


      January 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      I'm hurt, you completely ignored my post on the previous page.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lemme know when the real HS wakes up. Really, honey, your imitators are lame beyond compare.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      "Lame beyond compare."

      Such a scholarly response from the most self-important canadian on the planet.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      At first I thought HS might have been posting drunk, but then I realized it's probably actually just the idiot who usually posts as 'captain america', pretending to be HS. You forgot the 'amen' on that last one, cap.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie, Tom, I knew you'd eventually figure that out. Except. I didn't do a thing. They got themselves fired.


      January 6, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Fookin' Prawn, you posted "At first I thought HS might have been posting drunk, but then I realized it's probably actually just the idiot who usually posts as 'captain america', pretending to be HS. You forgot the 'amen' on that last one, cap."

      Answer: I use the HeavenSent when I post with the exception of working on an old laptop I'll use the HS .... However, the unbelieving liars will steal my handle to post their babble. Captain is another legitimate Christian.


      January 6, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      A 'legitimate christian' who does nothing but rail against Canadians. Gotcha. Sounds about right.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I don't think Captain America has ever said if he is a christian. That would be contributing something of substance which he never does.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • OhPlz

      "I'll let you know when you tell us all about your experience with menopause 20 years ago and what led to the issue with morbid obesity. See frank's post below? "

      Nice judgment, it's pretty funny to watch someone keep posting about their jesus's truth but yet can't even follow it themselves. LOL!

      January 6, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doesn't it crack you up when the hag HS always starts its posts with "So and so, you babbled...whatever blah, blah, blah" as if anyone can't figure out what the moron is responding to?

      Really, what a friggin' librarian the tw at is.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie, Tom, babble means to tell untruth aka lie.

      What's the matter Tommie, Tom, hubby take off again?


      January 7, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  16. *frank*

    Fuck the Catholic church.

    January 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And Tommie Temper Tantrum Tom, Tom too.


      January 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I'm logging off now phony heavensent. Have fun being the lying coward that you are.


      January 6, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  17. Rick

    Sounds like a good program which includes a scriptural support system.
    Man by nature is sinful but the grace of God abounds to those who seek him earnestly.

    January 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Elias

      True! they shoud start similar programs that address other issues that attack family values today such as divorce etc.,

      January 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Rick.. Why are you so down on human beings.." we are all sinful "what garbage.....If you have been told all of your life you are not worthy I can see why you have such negative views.. i am sorry for you..Atheists are here to help you 24hrs a day..

      January 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Rick

      hey DNA – here is the good news, you don't need to continue to live in sins the choice is yours to seek remedy!

      January 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Rick... the good news is... I am not religious and a free thinker, so i do not live with sin, never have. It does not exist. You also are able to seek remedy from free thinkers and as stated.. we are here 24 /7. i am sorry that you were born into a cult that believes that actually being born is a sin ,and it goes down hill from there..how can you ever have a positive thought about another human being?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  18. Nikus Diggus

    HeY, Catholic clergy! No playa da game, no maka da rules!

    January 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    a lie

    January 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  20. ron b.

    it would be nice if some of the gay and lesbian groups would start programs to help the " priests who abused young boys and girls." just a thought.

    January 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rev. Ray Dubuque

      Great idea, Ron!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
1 2 3
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.