"Put us where you want us, and show us what to do."

Matthew 25

This Act of Faith takes its name from Matthew 25:31-46 which calls us to actively engage in our community and the world around us. We do this by embracing three areas of action: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.”*
Our team gathered as planned to provide hospitality at St. Joe’s on Sunday, March 15. In addition to the hot meal, we also made a couple dozen bag lunches, many of which were immediately distributed. Unfortunately, the house is low on food as many of our donors did not bring their usual contributions this week and several of our meal teams have pulled out due to the COVID-19 situation. We are preparing to shut down some of our usual hospitality functions, probably starting March 17, and moving to distribution of bag lunches only. Of course homelessness and poverty do not end because we are in crisis; and many of our St. Joe’s guests fall into the most vulnerable categories of those negatively impacted by the virus. At the same time, decreases in food supplies further imperil our friends. We are working hard to find ways to provide needed support without risking increased exposure. It is a work in progress and we appreciate your prayers.

Each of us who participates in any part of Matthew 25 is changed through our interactions with our brothers and sisters. We have opportunities to respond in faith — “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Mt. 25:35-36).

With the start of “shelter season” in Rochester, we are partnering with the Catholic Worker House (St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality) on South Avenue to welcome the homeless on Monday evenings. Every Tuesday morning we are at the house, assisting with meals through hospitality and a “ministry of presence and listening.” One Sunday afternoon, monthly, we gather with our brothers and sisters at St. Joe’s.

* South Presbyterian Church is part of the PC(USA) Matthew 25 Initiative from where we take the wording for our Mission | Vision | Calling.