Charity Together: Matthew 25 Ministries

Glenmary News

Charity Together: Matthew 25 Ministries

In Macon County, Tennessee, Glenmary’s Holy Family mission joins with other local Christian churches to provide for those in need. 

“Let us be Cyrus to one another,” says Glenmary Father Charles Aketch, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Macon County, Tennessee. “Let us give one another hope.”

Father Charles is speaking to a small crowd at Community Connection Church as Holy Week begins. He preaches about Cyrus, the king of Persia who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity. Father Charles asks the crowd to ponder when they have been in a state of exile—what he defines as a life without God—and challenges them to reach out and be that hope to others.

As participants in the night’s event, they are already doing just that.
The event is one of many worship nights hosted by Matthew 25 Ministries, an ecumenical effort among five churches to give financial assistance to residents in need.

Power in Numbers

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:35-36).

The ministry started three years ago when a youth pastor from Community Connection Church became passionate about having a centralized place to help those in need. Opening a shelter was out of the question, but pooling the resources of the Christian churches in town was feasible.

Bryan Morgan, pastor of Community Connection Church, is grateful for the collaboration that exists today. “We can help more people unified,” he says. When someone calls him for help, they can be given assistance right away instead of calling several churches in town to find the help they need.

“There’s power in numbers,” says David Spears, pastor of First Assembly of God. He wanted to become involved in the ministry because of a question that has lingered in his mind. “If your church closed tomorrow, would the community miss you?” Being part of Matthew 25 Ministries gives his church an outlet to directly impact members of the community.

When any one of the five churches gets a call from someone asking for financial assistance, they are directed to Glenmary Brother Larry Johnson. Brother Larry handles most of the outreach done by the ministry. As the secretary and treasurer, Brother Larry fields the calls, does his due diligence to make sure the caller has not abused other resources found in the city, and, if not, writes the check.

“I’m not somebody noble and holy,” says Brother Larry. But, “I’m overjoyed to do it.”

Charity and Worship

“Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’” (Mt 25:37)
The donations that support Matthew 25 Ministries primarily come from their monthly worship nights. These nights rotate between the churches involved in the ministry: Holy Family Catholic Church, Community Connection Church, First Assembly of God, Christ Alive Church, and The Well. Each night features a pastor from another church in the ministry as the guest


At this night’s event at Community Connection Church, Holy Family parishioners make up about one third of the crowd.
Bryan welcomes them to his church and starts the night in prayer. His music team leads them in a handful of worship songs. “The Lord has provided,” Bryan says, as Brother Larry passes around a basket for people to make their donations.

After Father Charles gives his talk, Brother Larry shares an update on the ministry to its supporters. In the past month, the ministry has helped seven people with lodging and given 10 people utility assistance. Some of the lodging provided has helped people flee violent situations, Brother Larry explains.
A record $1,147 is donated that night by those in attendance—the most they have collected at a worship night this year.

Made in God’s Image
“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Mt 25:40).

Between the donations that support the ministry and the gathering that promotes Christian unity, there is “so much life in the hour and a half,” says Brother Larry.
“It’s an awesome event,” says Anna Breeding, a Holy Family parishioner who attends regularly. “There’s no judgment here.”

Human dignity is at the heart of Matthew 25 Ministries. At the very least, says Father Charles, talking to someone who is calling for help is important in itself because they are made in the image and likeness of God.

Glenmary Father Bruce Brylinski, associate pastor of Holy Family, agrees. “[Nearby] Webbtown is a dot on the map,” says Father Bruce. Residents there might be “insignificant to the world, but we are helping them have heat.”

Assistant Editor Theresa Nguyen-Gillen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

This story was originally featured in the Glenmary Challenge.