We are a Matthew 25 Congregation!
Hudson’s Session has recently been discussing its ongoing commitment to the PC(USA) denominational movement Matthew 25. The below document was approved by Session on Monday, January 23rd, to share the history of how we became a Matthew 25 congregation:
Nowhere is Hudson Memorial’s long legacy of care for its community more evident than in its rich history of mission and outreach. Whether it was:
Spearheading the creation of the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center focused on the care of special needs children (1965),
Assisting with the development of Capital Towers to provide much-needed housing for older adults (1972),
Being instrumental in the founding of Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church in Cary (1977),
Providing essential support for refugee families resettling in Raleigh (1980 & 1990),
Seeing the need and gathering with our neighbors to start North Raleigh Ministries in a house located on Hudson’s property (2004),
Hudson is blessed with a congregation that notices the needs of its community and responds.
In 2018, Hudson commissioned a task force to develop short and long-term strategic goals for Hudson’s mission efforts. One of the recommendations of the task force was to tighten up the church’s focus into a few areas of greater participation rather than broad-brush participation in many different outreach areas. After much prayerful consideration, Hudson’s Session discerned a call to focus on ever-growing food insecurity. Hudson congregants had noticed that despite Raleigh’s image as a growing, affluent community, an increasing number of people were suffering and being left behind economically. As a result, Hudson officially covenanted to become a Hunger Action congregation in October of 2019, selecting Episcopal priest Noah Campbell to lead Session’s annual spiritual development retreat entitled Food as the Currency for the Kingdom of God. A week after this retreat, the COVID pandemic hit the United States hard.
Compounding the newly declared pandemic’s lethal effects, in May of 2020 an unarmed black man named George Floyd was murdered by a law enforcement officer. Within a couple of months, Hudson’s Session responded to police brutality against people of color by engaging the nonprofit organization Equity Allies to provide Session members and pastoral staff with racial equity training.
In January of 2021, Hudson elders began to discern what God was calling Hudson to do to implement its Mission, Vision, and Values. Many surveys, discussions, another retreat and follow-up meetings were completed. This intensive discernment process led Session to announce the following specific goals in November of 2021:
• Establishing the best, most transformative church programming in Raleigh
• A staffing strategy to build to the top range of a managerial-size church (200-400 worshipers)
• Becoming a Matthew 25 congregation
The Matthew 25 Congregation designation is a Presbyterian Church (USA) movement which emerged out of the 2016 and the 2018 PC(USA) General Assemblies that has been administered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA).
The three primary foci of the Matthew 25 congregational movement are:
• Building congregational vitality
• Dismantling Structural Racism
• Eradicating Systemic Poverty
Given Hudson’s covenant to become a Hunger Action congregation, its commitment to developing the best programming in Raleigh (thus enhancing its congregational vitality) and its immediate response to the George Floyd atrocity by focusing on how to achieve racial equity, it was a natural progression for Hudson’s Session to discern a call to commit Hudson to becoming a Matthew 25 Congregation. The Matthew 25 initiative focuses on the New Testament verse Matthew 25: 31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats, in which Jesus makes clear that what we do and how we treat others matters to God.
The initiative meets congregations where they are and encourages them to actively respond to the Gospel with the gifts they have at their disposal. The Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination encourages local congregations to utilize the resources it provides on the PC(USA) website within their individual church contexts as appropriate for each individual congregation. It further provides resources to give direction and offer suggestions about how to further God’s kingdom work within the Matthew 25 initiative’s three primary foci. The Presbytery of New Hope itself and seventeen other New Hope Presbytery congregations have also discerned a call to become Matthew 25 Congregations.
In late 2023, Hudson took on a related leadership role in the Presbytery by hosting a New Hope Presbytery Matthew 25 informational session featuring Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett. Dr. Moffett is tasked by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to implement the Matthew 25 initiative across the denomination.
In the spring of 2024, Hudson will host a workshop featuring the respected peace conference host, David LaMotte (photo on left).
Mr. LaMotte uses music as a peacemaking tool to develop peaceful, loving and respectful relationships between individuals, communities and countries regardless of race, beliefs or historical conflicts.
Hudson’s Session continues to work towards:
Building congregational vitality by brainstorming and assisting with various church ministry teams on setting goals for transforming ministries both inside and outside Hudson’s walls.
Dismantling structural racism by looking at Hudson’s own history with race and current ministries to humbly “take the blinders off” in areas where Hudson has failed to represent the full diversity of the Kingdom of God. Hudson is committed to grow in our understandings and actions while moving towards racial equity and to better reflect God’s wide-reaching reign in the world.
Eradicating systemic poverty by using our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to develop novel and effective ways to reduce food insecurity locally, nationally, and internationally.
Hudson members understand that we live in a time where many social issues have become politicized. The elders at Hudson are keenly aware that God alone is Lord of the conscience and that their role is to best discern the will of Christ as they determine the direction of Hudson and its ministries. They humbly rely on the mercy of Jesus Christ, acknowledging their individual and communal faults while confidently and generously using their gifts to lead Christ’s church in this time and place.
As informed by the stone placed on the corner of the original church building, the mission of Hudson is to know, love and serve God in Jesus Christ.