The invitation to become a Matthew 25 church has its roots in the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) of the PC(USA) where churches were encouraged "to act boldly and compassionately to see our neighbors through Jesus’ eyes and serve those who are marginalized or in need — people who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, strangers, poor or oppressed in other ways and in need of welcoming."
In 2019, the Session of St. Mark's voted to join other PC(USA) congregations across the nation in becoming a Matthew 25 church.
" . . . the least of these . . . "
As Christians, we are called to serve -- not out of pity but because of love. The Matthew 25 initiative emboldens churches to go out -- grow in faith, make new disciples, and commit to serve in our communities and in the world.
The PC(USA) recognizes three focus areas to help churches live out their commitment to be a Matthew 25 church:
1. Building congregational vitality by challenging congregations and their members to deepen and energize their faith and grow as joyful leaders and disciples actively engaged with their community, seeing new disciples engaged in ministry and longstanding believers develop in faith as the gospel of Jesus Christ is shared in word and deed.
2. Dismantling structural racism by fearlessly applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
3. Eradicating systemic poverty by acting on our beliefs and working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
" . . . for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me . . . .
‘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.’ "