Matthew 25 Gathering

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes, Frontpage News

CliffNotes today is a guest post by Christine Warner, who directs the Anglican Church of North America’s annual gathering of mission practitioners, working among some of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in our nation. She reports on the recent gathering in Arizona. 

Dear Christ Church,

I am so proud to be a part of this community! I love who we are, and I love who we are becoming. I want to thank you and express why I’m so proud of you, Christ Church, for playing a leading role in the Matthew 25 Gathering, our denomination’s annual gathering of justice workers from across North America.

Thank you to the 40 member Christ Church prayer team who carried this for 6 months in steadfast sacrificial prayer and fasting. Thank you to the 6 person Prayer team who traveled to Arizona and offered beautiful individual on-site prayer ministry, as well as soaking prayer early in the mornings and late at night and all day long. Thank you, Christ Church, for hosting, birthing, and supporting the first gathering last year. Thank you, Christ Church, for supporting this year’s event with generosity. Thank you, Christ Church, for being the kind of kingdom people who “get” what Jesus meant in Matthew 25. Let’s keep pressing in and pressing on following the Spirit with joy and courage!

Two weeks ago, Matthew 25 Gathering 2017 happened. It was powerful, beautiful, profound, and joyful. Here is some of what we did:

  • Rested in the historic great tradition of St. Francis and sacred space of Franciscan Renewal Center
  • Honored our sacramental theology and spirituality, which ended in the Eucharist
  • Spiritual formation and silence was offered
  • Community and fun happened in good Christ Church style
  • Theological and Biblical heft was added to our young Anglican North American stream
  • Healing prayer and soaking prayer
  • Biblical justice activism was highlighted and honored, in the spirit of Matthew 25
  • We practiced Lament in the race sessions (Lent)
  • We feasted by the pool on our Chef Pedro’s culinary oblation (Easter)
  • We heard the voices of our provincial leadership
  • We heard the voices of our practitioners on the ground
  • We openly discussed topics of concern in several forums
  • We received practical tools on cultural competency and engagement with the refugee and immigrant from a Biblical perspective
  • We were led by multiethnic and intergenerational leadership, representing the different voices in our Anglican family
  • We worshipped in full-hearted expression, even voiced in the language of heaven… Spanish!
  • We journeyed through the narrative of shalom (reminded of our origin and destiny), justice and mercy (all the ways we don’t live shalom, especially in racial brokenness), Anglican (naming our story and unpacking our Eucharistic call to justice), and contending (asking how we press into shalom in our contexts)
  • The Border Pilgrimage, a 24 hour add-on, was mind and heart blowing, and we saw the face of Jesus… we were present to the particular reality of deportations in Mexico and the care for and ministry to that vulnerable population.

Here’s a taste of the 100 people there ….an African American priest from Skid Row, Compton, Los Angeles; a female Canadian priest who leads Canada’s pro-life efforts with Anglicans for Life; six Church Army leaders (if you’ve never heard of Church Army, look them up! 150 year strong Anglican counterpart to Salvation Army); leaders of several homeless ministries all over the US and Canada, Community Development leaders serving under-resourced neighborhoods in our US cities; several beautiful servants loving and sharing the gospel with refugees, including the author of Welcoming the Stranger (new edition coming out soon); multiethnic church planters expressing God’s big heart pressing into Ephesians 2 vision; immigrant advocates who are reunifying families; creation care workers and urban farmers, and so many more.

Love y’all… am proud to be you.
Christine