Matthew 25 is a living translation of Jesus Christ — strengthening relationships, transforming your church, and bringing alive your commitment to “serve the least of these” – those who are marginalized or in need — in your community and the world around us. Make no mistake, Jesus is calling us to perform ordinary acts of compassion in daily life. But we have also been called to consider the factors that led to these conditions, to confront the causes of inequality, to confess the sin of greed and to correct the problem of poverty — whether in our own nation and neighborhood, or around the world.
The Presbytery of Blackhawk has made the commitment to be a Matthew 25 presbytery and invites our congregations to make similar commitments to one (or more) of the three areas of focus identified in this PC(USA) initiative.
What does the scripture say?
How do we begin?
All PC(USA) churches and mid-councils have been encouraged to join this movement by pledging to work on one or more of the identified focus areas:
- Building congregational vitality by challenging people and congregations to deepen their faith and get actively and joyfully engaged with their community and the world.
- Eradicating systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
- 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.
Start by visiting the PC(USA) Matthew 25 page where you can find a sign-up button. Also, on this site you will find an amazing number of resources and ideas to assist your church’s response and efforts. Blackhawk Presbytery also wants to provide support and encouragement and opportunities to engage with others on the journey.
General Assembly (2022) reaffirms PCUSA commitment to Matthew 25
In addition to a focus on the trifold priorities of building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty, the proposed 2023–2024 Mission Work Plan of the Presbyterian Mission Agency expands our work to major emphases on the work of repair amid cultures of oppression, and innovation, futuring, and discernment in this time of uncertainty.
These new areas came forward as a result of an 18-month strategic visioning process engaged by members of the PMA Board and leaders from across the denomination.
How many Blackhawk churches have made this commitment?
Seventeen! We rejoice with the following Blackhawk Presbytery churches who have joined this initiative and fervently hope others will commit to becoming a Matthew 25 church also.
- Crystal Lake | Ridgefield – Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church
- DeKalb | Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Elgin | First Presbyterian Church
- Elwood | Elwood Community Church
- Galena | First Presbyterian Church
- Gardner | Church of Hope
- Geneva | Fox Valley Presbyterian Church
- Gibson City | First Presbyterian Church
- Joliet | Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Kankakee | First Presbyterian Church
- Mendota | First Presbyterian Church
- Morrison | First Presbyterian Church of Morrison
- Oswego | Oswego Presbyterian Church
- Rockford | Second Congregational / First Presbyterian Church
- Rockford | Third Presbyterian Church
- Sterling | First Presbyterian Church
- Woodstock | First Presbyterian Church
How do we connect with other people to share ideas?
Blackhawk’s Matthew 25 Roundtable discussions are held on zoom to help connect those interested in actively engaging in the world. Anyone is welcome to join these informal events, held twice monthly, whether you are fully on board or just curious. See the calendar for the next Roundtable and contact the office to receive notifications.
Are the three foci of the Matthew 25 Vision grounded in Matthew 25:31–46?
That question has regularly been asked as people become familiar with the Matthew 25 Vision and its three foci. Consider using this study guide as you introduce the Matthew 25 invitation to your faith community.
Part of the Matthew 25 Vision is to share stories. Are there Blackhawk stories?
Yes, Sterling First Presbyterian was featured in this article from Presbyterians Today magazine: Aligning words and deeds: Congregation reshapes its vision – and mission statement. In it, they share their experience with their beginning steps toward embracing the Matthew 25 Vision.
And the Rev. Lisa Lopez-Meyer, pastor of First Presbyterian of Winnebago received mention in this article: Anti-Racism Work is Heart Work. “Going straight to the Gospel message to “love one another” is one way pastors and lay leaders are finding an entry point to engage their congregations in racial justice matters.”
We are anxious to hear from you!