|MISSION | VISION | CALLING
|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.”*
|WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
As a designated Matthew 25 Congregation, we are part of a national initiative of the PC(USA), dedicated to focus on:
• Building congregational vitality by challenging people and congregations to deepen their faith and get actively and joyfully engaged with their community and the world.
• Dismantling structural racism by advocating and acting to break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
• Eradicating systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
That is, embodying the teaching of Jesus from Mt. 25:40 – Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
On a monthly basement, Judy Wandtke faithfully participates in feeding
the homeless at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality. She writes:
It has been a pleasure to be able to serve meals on one Sunday a month at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality for the homeless or those living in poverty. The volunteers are a wonderful group of caring folks to work with.
The folks that are in need of these meals are so appreciative. They often wait outside on the worst of days. One man comes in a wheelchair even when it is pouring rain and he has no raincoat or umbrella. One of the volunteers found some plastic bags to help cover him.
On a special Sunday a Mom and her daughter who once were in need of those meals came to volunteer with us. They wanted to give back.
A special thank you to all who were able to donate during our special collections at Fellowship
If you want to join this Act of Faith once a month, please let the office know.
Another way that we claim our MT25 commitment is through online zoom discussion groups. This year, we offered two sections of online groups (spring and fall), both focusing on Molly Secours’ book White Privilege Pop-Quiz which invites us all to look at our lives and societal norms in a non-threatening way.
A total of thirty-two individuals participated in the groups led by Pastor Deb and Clerk of Session, Sonya Kennedy.
In both sections of the class, three of our women-of-color members (Carly, Concetta, and Imani) joined Sonya in offering a discrete and personal conversation about their own experiences with racism and prejudice. Everyone who attended was greatly moved by their journeys and thankful for their willingness to engage in this vulnerable sharing.
Participants included individuals from New Jersey, North Carolina, Binghamton and Ithaca, NY, and represented members of four different Presbyterian Churches, a UCC, American Baptist,and a United Methodist congregation.
Already we are making plans for our next MT25 Discussion Group in the spring of 2023 when we will focus on Lecia Michelle’s The White Allies Handbook.
With the onset of COVID, our outreach partnership with St. Joe’s House of Hospitality on South Avenue (part of the Catholic Worker network) was reduced to one Sunday afternoon a month, handing out meals to those in need. This fall, we will continue to collect contributions as needed by St. Joe’s.
Of course homelessness and poverty do not end because of pandemic demands; 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. Although we have moved into a new “stage” of fighting the many variants that surface, we remain committed to finding ways to provide needed support without risking any of our volunteers. 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).
* South Presbyterian Church is part of the PC(USA) Matthew 25 Initiative from where we take the wording for our Mission | Vision | Calling.