The Reverend Michael-Ray Matthews
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  • Faith: Christianity
  • Profession: Deputy Director of Faith in Action
  • Lived: 1969 -
  • Nationality: American
  • Known for: Chief Faith Officer of Faith in Action
  • Fun Fact: Reverend Matthews is the host of the Prophetic Resistance Podcast.
  • Fun Fact: Since 2014, Reverend Mathews’ ministry has centered on the Theology of Resistance.
  • Fun Fact: 
Reverend Michael-Ray Mathews is an ordained American Baptist minister and a leading pastor in the multifaith movement for justice. He currently serves as the deputy director and chief faith officer of Faith in Action, formerly known as the PICO National Network.

Early Life

A native of Compton, California, Reverend Mathews earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences and Communications from the University of Southern California and a Master of Divinity degree from the American Baptist Seminary of the West and the Graduate Theological Union. Reverend Mathews and Dene Murray-Mathews, his beautiful wife of 24 years, live in San José and are the proud parents of one son.

Matthews’ Experience

He brings more than 20 years of ministry leadership experience - as a senior pastor, grassroots leader, psalmist, and community organizer - to his work as the Director of Clergy Organizing for PICO National Network. Prior to his work with PICO, Rev. Mathews was the senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church in downtown San Jose.

Since 2014, Reverend Mathews’ ministry has centered on the Theology of Resistance. Developed in the aftermath of the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Theology of Resistance is a prophetic, multi-faith discourse and is intended to ignite conversations and spark faith leaders to fight injustice and dehumanization.

Reverend Mathews is the founding organizer and co-convener of the Racial Justice & Multiculturalism Community of the Alliance of Baptists and the co-editor Trouble the Water, a resource on racial justice and multiculturalism for congregations. He is also an inaugural member of the Auburn Senior Fellows program. Founded by Auburn Seminary, the program equips, networks, and gives a platform to top faith leaders on the front lines for justice.

Faith in Action History

Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is a national network of faith-based community organizations in the United States. Founded in 1972 by John Baumann, the organization is headquartered in Oakland, California, with additional offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

The organization believes in a society free of economic oppression, racism, and discrimination. Its stated mission is "to increase access to health care, improve public schools, make neighborhoods safer, build affordable housing, redevelop communities and revitalize democracy." Faith in Action supports full citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The organization also supports universal health care.

Podcasts and Books

Reverend Matthews is the host of the Prophetic Resistance Podcast, where he engages multi-faith leaders in conversations about cultivating communities of belonging and sacred resistance to injustice. Rev. Mathews is president of the Alliance of Baptists, a progressive movement for justice and healing, and co-editor of Trouble the Waters: A Christian Resource for the Work of Racial Justice. Reverend Matthews is also visiting professor of public theology at American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California.

According to Reverend Matthews, he’s committed to invoking new visions for a multicultural and multifaith movement for justice and healing. If we’re not developing a moral imagination together, we will eventually find ourselves in someone else’s.

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