In April, the Community Engagement Committee voted, and Session agreed, to become a Matthew 25 Church . This invitation to become a Matthew 25 Church was created by the PC (USA) in response to the adoption overtures that passed in both the 222nd (2016) and 223rd (2018) General Assemblies which challenge churches to act boldly and compassionately in the world to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor. As the PC(USA) mission agency’s webpage states: “By accepting the Matthew 25 invitation, we 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.” In our committee discussions, we raised several thoughts and questions:
We have a lot going on right now, such as our involvement with Seattle Presbytery’s Thriving Congregation Program (see enclosed article), and the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s Faith Land Cohort learning and discernment study and a PNC just to name a few.
Should we add more?
We shouldn’t just sign up to have our name on a list and not be actively engaged. If we become a Matthew 25 Church, we need to be serious about our commitment. ∙Aren’t we already doing these things?
Why join? Here are some of our conclusions: As stated above, when overtures are presented and passed, it is our duty to implement and respond to the declarations that our national denomination has affirmed. By becoming a Matthew 25 Church we become a stronger, more unified participant of our national body, PC(USA). We also have the opportunity of forming a local partnership with other local Matthew 25 churches to exchange ideas and hold ourselves accountable in our commitment. Many of the ministries that WPPC is doing already fit within the boundaries of the Matthew 25 initiative – Little Food Pantry, BML Witness, the work that is just beginning with the Duwamish Tribe, to name a few. The sermons that Pastor Staci and Dustin give are grounded in this work. The books that we have read the last several Lent seasons as well as other adult ed times have been grounded in this work as well. We know that there is a limit to what we can do as a small church, but as we continue to respond to God’s love through service and relationship, we have this framework to help us discern our actions. We have already had an opportunity to have a conversation with Mercer Island Presbyterian Church (the pastors and a few elders) from each church) as MIPC discerns their participation. So far, there are 856 congregations nationally that have joined. In the Seattle Presbytery there are 7 - Cottage Lake, Lake City, Madrona Grace, Overlake Park, Seattle First and Woodland Park. We look forward to the connections and opportunities and to sharing with the congregations what we learn along the way.