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Hosts take a look back at the initial year for the PC(USA)’s ‘Being Matthew 25’

Diane Givens Moffett, DeEtte Decker also touch on what’s to come in 2023

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — As 2022 draws to a close, the hosts of the Being Matthew 25 broadcast, the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett and the Rev. DeEtte Decker, took a look back at the content they helped to create during each monthly episode.

Watch Thursday’s broadcast, which is about an hour long, here or here. The videos created throughout the year that Moffett and Decker cited during the final installment for 2022 can be seen here.

Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and Decker, director of the PMA’s Communications ministry, have hosted Being Matthew 25 since its inception in January. The broadcast enjoys on average 3,000 views monthly.

The PMA’s Rich Copley and others create the videos that are played each month. Videos were replayed Thursday and were edited for brevity.

The hosts touched on some of the highlights of the Matthew 25 vision that’s been embraced by more than 1,200 congregations, mid councils and groups across the country. The January edition of Being Matthew 25 featured the work done by churches including Central Presbyterian Church in Princeton, Kentucky, following the previous month’s deadly tornadoes. It also touched on the 10-member First Presbyterian Church in Calvert City, Kentucky, which recently offered its building as a place for volunteers to stay when they come to help with repairs of damaged houses.

“I hope those who are listening will hold all those affected by disaster in their prayers,” Moffett said. “It takes a long time to recover from that kind of devastation.”

“If a 10-member congregation can do it, anyone can do it,” Decker said.

The Rev. DeEtte Decker, at right, conducted an in-depth interview in the Chapel of the Presbyterian Center with the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, left, and the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II. (Photo by Rich Copley)

The two also revisited an extended interview Decker did with Moffett and the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “What the pandemic taught is the normalcy we thought we had really is not there,” Nelson said. “[The church] has to be willing to lose its life in order that others might gain their life. There’s something about servant leadership … that calls us to something deeper, even at the risk of losing our power and our standing in the community. … I think we in the church need to learn to love again.”

“That’s not something we can do [alone],” Moffett replied. “It’s part of the inner transformation that happens when the human encounters the holy.” She noted that Jesus “never shied away from controversy. He stood his ground.”

The look back at 2022 also explored how in some cases, including securing a local zoning change or even passing a state law to allow and encourage affordable housing to be constructed, a political approach, such as those employed by the Presbytery of Denver and the Presbytery of the Pacific, can be the most effective.

“That’s why I’m grateful for the mid councils and congregations doing Matthew 25 work,” because in almost every case they’ve received pushback, Moffett said. “But they go into the halls of government and do whatever they need to do to make change happen. They’re helping to eradicate systemic poverty.”

The broadcast also featured a video detailing how Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, a predominantly white congregation, has been working to end structural racism since learning that a gift from a century ago that helped construct the church was intended for white people only. “Guided by the Holy Spirit,” Moffett said, “we have to be engaged in repairing the world so people will flourish … We’ve got to make sure resources are getting to those who have been historically marginalized,” which was the segue to a video on the new director of the Center for Repair of Historical Harms, the Rev. Jermaine Ross-Allam.

Near the end of Thursday’s broadcast, Moffett and Decker discussed what promises to be a PC(USA) highlight for 2023. As part of the PC(USA), the Presbyterian Mission Agency has been chosen to be featured as part of a short-form documentary called Viewpoint, hosted by the actor Dennis Quaid. Viewpoint will be distributed to public television stations in all 50 states in early 2023. The estimated reach for the year is expected to be 60 million households.

Viewpoint stories will focus on faith-based organizations that are making a difference in their communities.

In addition, one-minute educational commercial segments will air 400 times on channels including CNN, MSNBC, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and The History Channel. Working with Viewpoint, an email campaign of up to one million video emails will be sent to an audience from Viewpoint’s email database.

“God is truly doing a new thing, and as Christians we live with the hope that the impossible is possible,” Decker said. “One way we do this is by being a revolutionary force in our world to bring about justice, equity and peace as we re-present Christ to the world.”

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