A free guided video discussion study guide about eradicating systemic poverty is now available through Engaging Matthew 25.

The “Engaging Matthew 25 Through Film – Eradicating Systemic Poverty” study guide identifies five films that inform readers about poverty and also stirs feelings as the protagonists are outsiders looking into a culture of plenty with longing eyes. Suggested questions encourage viewers see the protagonists struggling and reacting to their situation in ways that are not always considered “appropriate.”

The study – authored by Dr. Edward McNulty, a Presbyterian minister who for many years reviewed films for Presbyterians Today and now offers reviews of films dealing with racism and social justice issues online  is set up as six sessions but could easily be done in 10 or 12 meetings, however the leader(s) choose to frame it.

“My hope for this booklet is that those concerned about our racial divide will invite friends to watch and discuss one or more films,” McNulty says in a June 22, 2021 Presbyterian News Service article by Melody K. Smith about the study. “I believe that watching a story is a far more compelling than arguing abstract principles.”

This is the second guided video discussion study guide offered about the three focus areas included in the Matthew 25 initiative launched in April 2019. The initiative – based on Matthew 25:31-46 — focuses on building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.  

The first study guide addressed dismantling structural racism and is available for free digital download here.

“There are structures in our society that all but guarantee people living in poverty will stay that way, but God calls people of faith to bring good news to people who are poor, to actively engage our communities, and to create systems that bring hope and healing to the world,” says the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Stories are not enough to end poverty, but this video series is another way to begin those challenging conversations.”