Amazing Race Clergy Couple Are No "Wimps for Jesus"
by Rochell D. Thomas
They've survived cancer, the muddy hills of Ireland and a stubborn donkey, but it was a mild form of hunting that did the lesbian California couple in. Episcopalian minister Kate Lewis and deacon Pat Hendrickson became the second team eliminated from The Amazing Race 12 when they lost precious time searching for a marked two-wheeler in a bike garage in Amsterdam.
TVGuide.com: Ah, the married ministers. You two have been together 10 years?
Kate Lewis: Yes
Pat Hendrickson: I just wanted to say that we actually refer to ourselves as partnered clergy as opposed to married ministers.
TVGuide.com: Why partnered? Is it because gay marriage is not yet legal in most states?
Pat: We have received the blessing of our union in the church. But that's different from [being] married legally. Which we cannot be in California.
Kate: And we want to make the political point that we're still not married.
TVGuide.com: Kissing on national television is one way to make a political point.
Pat: It wasn't like we said, "Let's kiss and get it on camera." We didn't even think twice about it.
Kate: I guess that was a big deal, huh.
TVGuide.com: Sort of. Remember there was a woman on Survivor...
Kate: ... and when she brought her girlfriend [over after she won a reward challenge], they didn't show them together. Maybe this is one of the first times a lesbian couple has been shown like this. Wow.
Pat: Kudos to CBS.
TVGuide.com: Kate, you made me laugh when you said God doesn't care whether or not you win.
Kate: I believe that with my whole heart. I mean, look at football teams. Each team is praying that they win. Like God is really in a conundrum over what to do.
TVGuide.com: So along those lines, who wins a Grammy is not high on the list of His priorities.
Kate: Probably not. I dare not speak too much for God. But I think definitely some of what we see with our Christian brothers and sisters [is that they] have the opinion that if God favors them, they'll be richer, like that's a sign of God's favor. That I would really challenge. God cares deeply about who gets fed and who doesn't. God cares about people who are hurt and not hurt. God cares about justice. God cares about those of us who love each other and who work together for peace.
TVGuide.com: Pat, why'd you say that you and Kate are not "wimps for Jesus"?
Pat: Well, the concern was that because we're clergy, maybe we wouldn't be willing to elbow somebody to get a cab. That we would not be willing to really be out there competing and doing what we'd need to do to win the race. And that is not true. You can respect somebody and still run past them or steal their cab.
TVGuide.com: But thou shalt not steal! Even if it's a cab.
Kate: [Both laugh] But it also says that you can't eat cheeseburgers, and I had a cheeseburger yesterday.
TVGuide.com: Point taken. Now, Pat, what happened to your leg? It sounded like there was an injury.
Kate: Oh, we were just getting out of the car at the airport and we were stiff. That's a daily thing.
Pat: And I have bad knees. I'm in physical therapy and one of the things that I'm supposed to limit is climbing and bike riding. So by the time we were through with our part of the race, one of my knees was just not [cutting it] at all anymore. And it wasn't helping that I was carrying that extra 40 pounds.
TVGuide.com: Have you lost 40 pounds since then?
TVGuide.com: What? Did you leave there and go to Biggest Loser?
Kate: I know!
Pat: No. But the race did turn around two life-changing things for me: the fact that I had really let myself get so overweight and that I'd taken the attitude, "What the heck, I'm 65. I get to be old."
TVGuide.com: When did the lightbulb go on?
Kate: When we were climbing up that hill in Ireland!
Pat: People have said, "Oh, it didn't look like you were really trying." But they don't understand how out of shape I was.
Kate: The fact that she made it up there — that we both were able to make it — surprised the heck out of us.
Pat: To have that hit us right off the bat. I'd said from the beginning, when [producers] asked what some of the things were that we thought we might have problems with, "Getting over things or climbing is going to be very difficult for me."
Kate: And the first thing we had to do was climb over rocks and through sheep meadows.
TVGuide.com: Of course. That's how The Amazing Race goes.
Kate: I don't think we were quite prepared.
Pat: I don't know how you can be prepared. I would be interested to see what some of the other couples say because when you watch it, there are things you think you could do, or you think there will be more recovery time during pit-stop times. We thought our map-reading skills and our ability to solve puzzles would carry us through.
Kate: My attention to detail was supposed to be the big savior for us, and then we couldn't find the bike.
TVGuide.com: You kept "losing concentration" in the bike garage.
Kate: That's what we kept saying to each other. But we didn't really lose concentration. It's just that it was two and a half hours that we were looking for that bike.
Pat: There were 2,500 bikes in there, packed on top of each other.
Kate: You've just got to be slow and methodical. But we found that first one no problem. And we found everybody else's bike except ours. There was a guy in the booth who was trying to help us out and hint to us that we should go back to the top. Every time we'd go to the bottom he was like, "No, no, no, go back to the top." And lo and behold our bike was on the bottom. We just trusted him and we made a mistake in who we trusted. Our little play at cheating did not pay off. But I have to say, once we got those bikes, we rallied, we rode those five miles fast.
TVGuide.com: Just to end up in muck. How deep was that ditch-jumping canal?
Pat: It was up to her chin!
Kate: It was evil. And I'm not sure there wasn't poo in there. The first time, I didn't make it across. And I crawled out on the other side and asked, "How do I get back?" They said, "Oh, you can just walk across." Once again I trusted. I stepped out and sunk down to my thighs in this black muck and up to my neck in water. It was water first and then the schmutz — like quicksand. It sucks you down.