COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund to initiate winter round of grants

Everence news |

Donors invited to join Everence, MCC U.S. and MDS in helping churches face the difficult winter ahead

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Stained glass windows at Assembly Mennonite Church (Goshen, Indiana), designed to engage church members in worship. (Photo: Everence/John Tirotta)

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GOSHEN, Ind. – In anticipation of the complicated winter ahead, Everence®, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. (MCC U.S.) and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) are inviting donors to contribute to the COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund – and announcing an additional match of $50,000 – to further assist churches facing financial crisis due to the global pandemic.

“We know this pandemic will persist through the winter ahead,” said Kevin King, MDS Executive Director. “The needs that our churches already face due to COVID-19 will be exacerbated by rising infection rates and community shutdown mandates. It is imperative that we continue helping our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Launched in April 2020, the COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund was originally seeded with a combined $800,000 commitment from Everence, MCC U.S., and MDS, plus an additional $74,507 in contributions from other donors. Ninety percent of the initial seed money funded 175 grants for churches with historic Anabaptist roots and relationships – many of which were racially and ethnically diverse congregations serving communities and households that are underbanked, underinsured and/or uninsured. The remaining 10% of the original funding went to support churches in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean through the Mennonite World Conference Global Sharing Fund.

But still more churches face significant financial needs due to the pandemic, such as meeting congregational financial needs (including rent, mortgage, utilities, staff salaries, etc.) and assisting individuals in their midst facing COVID-19 hardships.

“COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting marginalized and oppressed communities,” said Ann Graber Hershberger, Executive Director of MCC U.S. “The COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund is one way the three organizations can support churches serving historically under-resourced communities during this global emergency.”

New donations from individuals, congregations and organizations – along with the additional funding from MCC U.S., MDS and Everence – will fund grants of up to $5,000 for as many of the remaining eligible requests from impacted churches. The fund’s selection committee will review the applications in the coming weeks.

“Our faith communities continue to extend tremendous generosity,” said Ken Hochstetler, Everence President and CEO. “Whether through the COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund or congregational and denominational initiatives, we are so grateful for the countless ways people are extending mutual aid to one another, helping to support the lives we share.”

Individuals, churches and organizations wishing to donate to the fund may do so online at mds.mennonite.net/covid-19-donations. Checks may be mailed to Everence Foundation, Attn: COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund, PO Box 483, Goshen, IN 46527. Additional information about the fund may be found at everence.com/COVID-19-congregational-relief-fund. To read stories about some of the grant recipients, visit everence.com and search for “congregational relief fund.”

About Mennonite Central Committee

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, sharing God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. In 2020, MCC commemorates 100 years of relief, development and peacebuilding work, today in more than 50 countries including the U.S. To learn more, visit mcc.org or call 717-859-1151.

About Mennonite Disaster Service

Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States. While the main focus is on clean up, repair and rebuilding homes, this service touches lives and nurtures hope, faith and wholeness. To learn more, visit mds.mennonite.net or call 800-241-8111.

About Everence

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of financial professionals. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. From July 2020 through July 2021, Everence celebrates 75 years of stewardship – people putting faith into action by sharing resources with each other. To learn more, visit everence.com or call 800-348-7468.
Madalyn Metzger

Author

Madalyn Metzger
Vice President of Marketing

Meeting needs

Times like these remind us of the interconnectedness we have as the body of Christ. The COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund provides a way to support one another as a community, by helping churches facing financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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