The Mission Agency of the PC(USA) recently issued an invitation to churches and mid-councils to commit themselves to be identified as a Matthew 25 faith community. And at the last Executive Board meeting, it was voted unanimously for the Seattle Presbytery to join the Matthew 25 movement. In order for the presbytery to live into this, we commit to have at least 20% of our congregations identify as a Matthew 25 church. I invite your church to be one of those… will you?
What is a Matthew 25 church?
Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. Convicted by this passage, both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.
How the vision unites all Presbyterians
By accepting the Matthew 25 invitation, you can help our denomination become a more relevant presence in the world. We recognize Christ’s urgent call to be a church of action, where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth and are contagious. And we rejoice how our re-energized faith can unite all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose: our common identity to do mission.
What are we committing to?
The Matthew 25 church has three foci: commitments to building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty.
Truth be told, many of our churches are already hard at work in one or more of these areas such as active partnership with their communities to help the poor, to engage in honest conversations around privilege and prejudice, and the revitalization of their congregations through commitment to their communities.
These can be expressed in a variety of ways and our denomination has provided helpful resources for churches seeking to find creative ways to pursue these goals. https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/become-a-matthew-25-church/
I invite you to embark on this missional journey with the presbytery. And share with us your stories of how your church is expressing the Matthew 25 identity. I look forward to how together we can be a presbytery that makes a loving commitment to fearless discipleship in our communities.
And one more invitation...
Over the past five years, the Seattle Presbytery and the presbytery of the North Coast in Colombia have built a foundational base of relationships that has enriched both our presbyteries. Through these years, one of the congregations we have come to know well in Barranquilla, Colombia is the Novena Iglesia Presbyteriana - affectionately called La Ceiba - led by Rev. Vilma Yanez who is spending a sabbatical month of July here in Seattle with us. “Ninth” Presbyterian has been providing significant hope, love, and service in a neighborhood very much longing for all three gifts. Up until recently, their ministry flowed out of very “humble” building. A couple of years ago, it was condemned and the congregation has been doing their best with a makeshift location.
With the help of their presbytery and contributions from the congregation, the church was recently able to purchase a house in the neighborhood which they hope to convert into their permanent worship space. Significant work needs to take place in order to make this structure safe and appropriate for their mission and ministry.
Seattle Presbytery has been invited to partner with our sister presbytery to help the Ninth Church. With materials and labor factored in, Rev. Yanez and her congregation need to raise an additional $20,670. Within one day of hearing of this need, our own Vashon Presbyterian Church voted to contribute $2500 toward this ask. We know that we have numerous, generous congregations in our presbytery who would welcome the opportunity to help out as well.
If your congregation would like to come alongside of Ninth Presbyterian Church (and Vashon), please contact any member of the Colombia Task Force (Doug Early, Renee Notkin, Staci Imes, or Eliana Maxim). Any amount contributed will be deeply appreciated.
Checks can be made out to Seattle Presbytery, and mailed to 1013 8th Ave, Seattle 98104. PLEASE note in the memo section: "Ninth Pres. Church project."
Photos: La Ceiba’s previous location.