Following the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020, the Savannah and Greater Atlanta Presbyteries, feeling strongly that God was calling us to respond, collaborated to create a joint statement. It was then that Savannah Presbytery formed a Racial Justice Ministry Team (RJMT) to begin the work of unpacking their own biases and of learning more about racial injustices and inequities while simultaneously making a commitment to educate and activate our membership to become models for inclusive, anti-racist, and multicultural places of worship and living.
Through activities designed to meet people where they are and provide opportunities for education, conversation, and action, the RJMT encourages all members and friends of Savannah Presbytery to join us as followers of Jesus Christ to create the beloved community where God’s vision for a world in which all can flourish as God’s children is realized and all are loved for who they are.
In August 2023, Savannah Presbytery’s Matthew 25 Task Force (comprised of members from our Racial Justice Ministry Team and Mission Committee) presented to our Council on the Matthew 25 Movement in the PC(USA) and requested the presbytery engage in a year of education and discernment. The motion was made, seconded and approved.
The Task Force took the lead to help focus presbytery meetings, E-Newsletters, Holy Conversations and Day Trip opportunities of the RJMT, and other means to do this. The three areas of focus will be:
1. Building Congregational Vitality
2. Dismantling Structural Racism
3. Eradicating Systemic Poverty
Our first Stated Meeting, on Tuesday, October 17th, focused on Vital Congregations. Rev. Dr. Carlton Johnson, Coordinator of Vital Congregations, delivered the sermon during our worship together and led a workshop following lunch.
Our Winter Stated Meeting will be hosted by Altama Presbyterian Church on February, 23, 2024. February, 23rd is the third anniversary date of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia and the event that brought the work of racial justice to the forefront of Savannah Presbytery. Rev. Dr. Diane Moffet will preach during worship at our stated meeting on the Disrupting Structural Racism foci. In addition, our Annual Faith Enrichment Conference, held at Epworth By the Sea, Saint Simons Island, Georgia, will have Rev. Dr. Moffit and others lead a variety of workshops on Matthew 25, building relationships and inclusivity.
The final foci, Eradicating Systemic Poverty, will be highlighted during our May Stated Meeting at which Rev. Alonzo Johnson, Coordinator for the Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) will preach and lead a workshop.