LOUISVILLE (PNS) — For the Presbyterian Mission Agency, 2019 will go down as the year the Matthew 25 invitation was extended and embraced by dozens of mid councils and thousands of congregations.
Launched on April 1, 2019, the invitation with its three focuses — building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty — had by the close of the year been engaged by more than 80,000 people via social media platforms and by more than 78,000 visits to the website and news stories lifting up Matthew 25.
As of Dec. 31, 360 congregations and 31 mid councils representing 4,757 congregations had committed to become Matthew 25 churches, which calls on Presbyterians to work to help their denomination become a more relevant presence in the world.
These and other stories of the Presbyterian Mission Agency — along with inspiring photographs — can be found in the just-published 2019 Annual Report of the PMA, which can be found here.
“God’s urgent call to be a church of action, where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth, is contagious,” the report states. “We are rejoicing at how this re-energized faith is uniting all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose.”
“We marvel at the things God has done in and through the Presbyterian Mission Agency,” write the Rev. Joe Morrow, chair of the PMA Board, and the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, the PMA’s president and executive director, in their message. “As you read the annual report, you will see stories of lives transformed and the love of Christ displayed through service and advocacy, action and worship. You will also see reports and numbers, but remember, behind every statistic and every graph is a story of grace. This is just the beginning of what God wants to do.”
“Innovation can be messy,” the two leaders said of the Matthew 25 invitation, “but we started this process with prayer and we are continuing to bathe it in prayer. We ask you to join us and pray without ceasing for the Presbyterian Mission Agency and for the Matthew 25 invitation so congregations throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) can put their words into action within their communities.”
As with previous annual reports, the 2019 edition has snippets describing innovative Presbyterians who are taking the gospel seriously:
- The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, one of the leaders of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
- Madison McKinney, who represented the PC(USA) at the 63rdsession of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the first Native American young woman to attend the commission as a representative of the PC(USA)
- Kristi Van Nostran was hired by the Presbyteries of the Pacific and San Gabriel to connect with immigrants through an immigrant accompaniment program. The “three-pillar ministry” encourages people to offer hospitality in their homes, volunteer food and services, and advocate for asylum seekers.
- Despite being a congregation of just seven people, Spencer Presbyterian Church in West Virginia made the switch to solar power with the help of a Restoring Creation Loan from the Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program Inc.
- The Food Center at Morrisville Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania offered food to furloughed federal employees amid the U.S. government shutdown at the end of 2018, winding down its support to furloughed workers in January 2019. The shutdown stemmed from a dispute regarding funding a wall at the county’s southern border with Mexico.
The annual report concludes with the PMA’s sources of financial support, followed by a joyful photograph of the closing day of the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium.
by Mike Ferguson, Presbyterian News Service