BECOME A MATTHEW 25 CONGREGATION At the December stated meeting, it was announced that Central Florida Presbytery had become a Matthew 25 Presbytery. Matthew 25 is an initiative of the Presbyterian Mission Agency that grew out of the call of the 222nd (2016) and 223rd (2018) General Assemblies for our denomination to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor. This is consistent with Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, NRSV)
The Matthew 25 initiative has three areas of focus in which to lived out this commitment: becoming vital congregations, dismantling structural racism, and eliminating systemic poverty. Sessions can choose which area of focus they wish to address with the congregation’s mission emphasis, anything from one to a combination of all three areas. If a congregation decides to participate in the upcoming Vital Congregations Initiative, that will qualify it to be a Matthew 25 congregation.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency invites all congregations to become Matthew 25 congregations:
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. (https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/) When people think of the United Methodist Church, perhaps they think of that denomination’s slogan, Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. Matthew 25 seems to be an initiative to similarly “brand” the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by lifting up the mission we accomplish together. As a Matthew 25 Presbytery, CFP will be working on increasing these three areas of mission focus in those things that we do, including the Vital Congregations Initiative, Presbyterian Answer To Hunger (PATH), and other ministries. We are also to encourage at least 20% of our congregations (13 of 62) to become Matthew 25 Congregations. So far, five of our congregations have notified the PMA that they have accepted this invitation:
· Spring Lake Presbyterian, Sebring, FL · First Presbyterian, Umatilla, FL · St. Marks, Altamonte Springs, FL · Port Orange Presbyterian Church, Port Orange, FL · Washington Shores Presbyterian Church, Orlando, FL Your congregation can become a Matthew 25 congregation. For more information, click on the link above. You can discover the meaning of the Matthew 25 logo, explore ways to live out the initiative, and read stories of how other congregations are living into this vision. One of the great things about this initiative is that it identifies the three areas to reach out to the “least of these” in our midst, but it allows the local session and congregation to identify the specific things it will do to address these concerns. The possibilities for this are as diverse as we are!
If you have questions about becoming a Matthew 25 Congregation, please contact the Presbytery Office. As a reminder, until we move into our office from February 15-18, the best way to contact members of
the Presbytery staff is by our email addresses. Our phone system will not be back in service until we move into our new space. Dan Williams Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk