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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Attendees of the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 Summit report the gathering’s positive impact


One participant: ‘This summit has strengthened my faith in other people, the Presbyterian Church and our gracious, loving God!’

March 9, 2024

The 350 or so people attending last week’s Matthew 25 Summit filled the sanctuary of New Life Presbyterian Church in South Fulton, Georgia. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Participants from across the country, representing 15 of the 16 synods of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), traveled to the Atlanta area the week of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday for the first Matthew 25 Summit. The Presbytery of Greater AtlantaPresbytery of Baltimore and Denver Presbytery drew the greatest number of participants, but 93 of the 166 presbyteries of the PC(USA) — 56% — were represented at the Summit. The event was fully booked with a waiting list of 30 by the time it commenced on the campus of New Life Presbyterian Church in South Fulton and online.

The Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, “always knew that this conference was gonna be a big hit,” said the Rev. Michelle Hwang, who co-chairs the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. “It was great to see how many people registered and how many were on the waiting list. Next time, we’ll get a bigger venue, but it was also wonderful for us to come together in a local congregation, and I was blown away in the hospitality of this church and the faithful discipleship of these people who welcomed us.”

Jennifer Morgan (Photo by Beth Waltemath)

“So much that was said went straight to my heart, and I am left inspired and dedicated to the work of Matthew 25 for months to come,” said Jennifer Morgan, ruling elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin. “This summit has strengthened my faith in other people, the Presbyterian Church as a whole, and our gracious, loving God!” said Morgan, who attended the Matthew 25 Summit with two other church members and a member of the staff at Covenant.

Morgan currently serves on session and works with the Adult Education Committee. She runs an antiracism group for the church modeled on the 12-Step program. “I became seriously interested in racial justice issues a number of years ago,” said Morgan. “I didn’t want Covenant to just ‘check the box’ by becoming a Matthew 25 church, but really do something in our community.”

A ruling elder and volunteer for the host church’s hospitality team, Cynthia Roberts, said the gathering was “a moving experience of bringing Matthew 25 to life” and appreciated meeting people from all over the United States who were committed to addressing the struggles of the marginalized. “All the believers here believe we need to see everyone, to know their struggle and what they are going through — not just praying but being in community and serving others.”

Roxie Holder (Photo by Beth Waltemath)

Roxie Holder, a ruling elder at New Horizons Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, Virginia,  felt energized by the content and community of the Summit and wants to bring along even more churches. “More importantly, I want to bring along our presbytery, because it really is biblical,” said Holder, who just rotated off the Committee on Ministry in  the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia and who also serves on the Advisory Committee on the Constitution for the Office of the General Assembly.

The three-day conference featured plenary talks from Presbyterian leaders, the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Dr. William Yoo, with music from Dr. Tony McNeill and The Many and additional preaching from New Life’s team leader, the Rev. Hodari Williams and from Moffett. Videos of keynote speakers and preachers are here.

Yoo’s talk, which invited the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to repent and repair the historic harms of its complicity in the United States’ treatment of Indigenous people and African Americans, was a highlight for Hwang. She explained how the PMA Board had studied Yoo’s  2022 book, “What Kind of Christianity: A History of Slavery and Anti-Black Racism in the Presbyterian Church.” “His scholarship and message show how important it is for us as people of color to tell each other’s stories, to give it validation and to lift each other up. Matthew 25 helps us to be equipped to do that,” said Hwang, “to see how we are interlocked and interconnected and how we can join together to overcome oppressive systems.”

Beth Waltemath, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Matthew 25 Summit received a positive impact report from attendees

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Anita Clemons, Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Investments, Presbyterian Foundation   
Antonia Coleman, Administrative Project Manager, Visioning, Rebuilding & Innovation Office, Presbyterian Mission Agency 

Let us pray

Loving Jesus, lead us to the goodness of ourselves and others that is deeper than any gifts or challenges we embody. Open us to discover our full humanity though mutual dependency and belonging. Amen.