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Matthew 25 field trips open imagination for the Presbytery of Boise

Each presbytery meeting this year has featured a visit with a partner doing Matthew 25 work

by Rachel Yates, Presbytery of Boise | Special to Presbyterian News Service

In May, Presbytery of Boise presbyters visited an elementary school where many students live in poverty. (Photo by Rachel Yates)

BOISE, Idaho — The Presbytery of Boise took up the Matthew 25 challenge this year by moving outside its walls. Each of its 2023 presbytery meetings included a Matthew 25 field trip to learn about community needs and ministries that were helping to meet those needs.

In February, a United Methodist Church hosted the presbytery to share about the affordable housing crisis and how it had partnered with local agencies to build tiny houses on its excess land. The presbytery brought together a panel of community leaders to explain the housing challenge and how congregations could be involved in the solutions. The conversation garnered such interest that two local news stations ran the story, one taping and replaying the panel discussion.

The May and August meetings took the presbytery to a local elementary school with a large student population living under the federal poverty standards and to a community action warehouse to learn more about how food insecurity was being addressed.  Each organization encouraged congregations to join in the eradication of systemic poverty.

Presbyters visited a community action warehouse to learn more about how food insecurity is being addressed in the Boise area. (Photo by the Rev. TJ Remaley)

“We’ve learned that we don’t need to tackle poverty on our own,” explained Randy Marshall, presbytery moderator. “Many of our partners are already doing good work and are inviting us to join them. It empowers congregations of all sizes to get involved.”

The presbytery capped off the year by meeting in the church of another ecumenical partner, the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho, which started a medical clinic in its building. Now 20 years later, the free clinic has been spun off but remains a vital ministry of the church, the diocese and the community. After grabbing a cup of coffee at registration, commissioners and visitors to the November presbytery meeting were encouraged to take a tour of the clinic.

“Matthew 25 continues to take us outside our walls,” says Randy Marshall, moderator of the Presbytery of Boise. (Photo by Rachel Yates)

During the presbytery meeting, the clinic’s interim executive director and the church rector spoke about opportunities for volunteers, joking that the Presbyterians could be put to work setting everything decently and in order.

“Later during the meeting, we spent time in conversation about how the presbytery could be a catalyst for connections,” said Rachel Yates, transitional presbyter for the Presbytery of Boise. “Over and over, we heard people excited about collaborative mission with each other and ecumenically.”

Next year, the presbytery will kick off its meetings with a visit to the College of Idaho, a historically Presbyterian college, to embrace the active campus ministries there.

“Matthew 25 continues to take us outside our walls,” Marshall said, “and we are seeing the Holy Spirit at work throughout our presbytery and particularly among ‘the least of these.’”

Rachel Yates is transitional presbyter and stated clerk at Boise Presbytery.

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