Dear Members and Friends,
An overture came through our church’s General Assembly, or national meeting, a number of years ago, asking the church to live into Matthew 25. In that chapter of Matthew’s gospel, people ask Jesus where they encountered him, and he says ‘for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
God doesn’t love us because we do nice things for people. We don’t earn our faith or salvation. God’s grace is sufficient for us. We would say BECAUSE God loves us, we are freed to care for others. We live out the vision of Matthew 25 in response to our faith.
The national church has embraced a Matthew 25 vision and has invited congregations, presbyteries, and synods to join, as well. They have lifted up three focal points for our ministry together:
- Building Congregational Vitality
- Dismantling Structural Racism, and
- Eradicating Systemic Poverty
Calvary’s Session, recognizing an alignment between those three areas and the work we are already doing with our Breaking Cycles of Poverty partnerships and justice-centric ministries in the community, voted for Calvary to become a Matthew 25 congregation.
We hope this Matthew 25 vision will serve as a lens to focus and deepen the work we’re already doing, and will give us access to other resources to engage that work. Matthew 25 is also the focus of our stewardship campaign this year. We engage in the world as people who seek to share our blessings, as we have been blessed.
When you see reference to Matthew 25, we hope it will remind us all that the work we do as a church has a theological reason behind it. Our work in the community is grounded in scripture, and from an understanding that as we have been blessed, we are to go and be a blessing.
We hope you will prayerfully consider pledging to Calvary in 2021. Each of us alone can make a difference in the world, and we should try. But think what we could do if we combined our resources. Our ability to respond to the least of these would be amplified and strengthened. As we position ourselves to emerge from this pandemic, better able to serve the needs of San Francisco, we thank you for the ways you already engage your faith in the community, putting it into action. May our witness to the world be even stronger tomorrow.
Thank you for living out a Matthew 25 vision.
Elder Lois Dress Rev. Marci Auld Glass
Clerk of Session Pastor, Head of Staff