When Riviera Presbyterian Church in Miami accepted the invitation to be a Matthew 25 congregation, we thought nothing of it. As a long-standing progressive voice in South Florida, we were comfortable being known as a “social justice” church. Even so, we were somewhat surprised at the negative public reaction to our large “Black Lives Matter” and “God Loves All” rainbow signs designed by some of our high school youth and posted prominently outside our church sanctuary. The church received hate mail and threats stating that our signage was “un-Christian.” We recognized being a Matthew 25 congregation is not about being conventional or “safe.” For some, systemic racism is not an accepted reality.
For others, our public stance has made us a friendly space. In fact, our BLM sign has been the site of at least one “Free Art Fridays” drop-off point. We are hopeful that standing with our siblings in Christ will bring more joyful creativity to and out of the community.