“The church’s response is unique in that we provide accompaniment rather than just distribute rations. This means walking together to feed not only the body but also the soul in these desperate times in which many have lost sight of the meaning of life,” says Yanett Palacios, president of Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Guatemala.
Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 inter-agency task force has approved 21 relief proposals, including that of Yanett Palacios of IEMG, a national MWC member church in Guatemala.
Food and sanitation materials are part of all the proposals from Anabaptist member churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With the COVID-19 fund’s assistance, local congregations will bring relief to thousands of families, sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way with church members and their neighbours.
- Food, psycho-social support and prayer for people still recovering from a 2018 volcanic eruption in Guatemala.
- Hygiene and household items and conflict management and small business workshops for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.
- Food rations, infection-prevention education and psycho-social support for vulnerable families in the Dominican Republic.
- Food, face masks and soap for households in Ghana.
- Food rations for families in Bolivia.
- Installation of public hand washing stations outside church buildings and food packages for vulnerable households in Central Java, Indonesia.
- Printing and distribution of leaflets and posters to inform community members how to protect themselves in rural Tanzania.
- Protective materials and food rations for women-, elderly- or child-headed households in Malawi.
- Food rations for 300 of the most vulnerable families in the three MWC member churches in Nicaragua.
- Emergency food response for families who have lost work in 5 MWC national member churches in Mexico.
- Food for 1 500 rural widows and elderly people off-grid in Guatemala who don’t receive government help.
- Livelihood support and biosafety materials for 80 families and food for 350 children in the ministry of the Mennonite church in Iquitos, Peru.
- School work materials for students to do at home and biosafety measures for church-run schools to reopen in Zambia.
“In most cases, church members have established relationships with their most vulnerable neighbours. Giving out food and supplies builds on those connections and underscores the message of the love of Jesus through help in time of need and scarcity,” says Deacons Commission secretary Henk Stenvers.
Job losses and food scarcity affect church members as well. “Assistance from the Global Church Sharing Fund empowers church leaders and their congregations to serve their members and neighbours in a time of multiple crises: pandemic, economic downturn, environmental disaster,” says task force and Peace Commission chair Joji Pantoja.
GCSF COVID-19 fund recipients for the above projects:
- Guatemala: Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Guatemala – Convención
- Bolivia: Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Boliviana
- Dominican Republic: Conferencia Evangélica Menonita, Inc.
- Ghana Mennonite Church
- Guatemala INEMGUA
- Malawi: Brethren in Christ Church / Mpingo Wa Abale Mwa Kristu
- Mexico: Conferencia de Iglesias Evangélicas Anabautistas Menonitas de México, Conferencia Cristiana Anabautista Menonita, Conferencia Evangélica Misionera de México, Conferencia Evangelica Anabautista Mision Esperanza, Iglesia Cristiana de Paz en México (Mennonite Brethren)
- Comité Anabautista de Emergencia CAE
- Peru: Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia
- Zambia Brethren In Christ Church
About MWC’s COVID-19 response fund
Mennonite World Conference formed the COVID-19 task force with the support of more than 10 global Anabaptist agencies to respond to the needs arising from the pandemic in the global south.
Under the leadership of the MWC Deacons Commission and delegates from around the world, the team determines criteria of accountability and coordinates responses to project proposals. This interagency response maximizes the strength of diverse organizations, builds on existing networks of primary relationships and mitigates competition for scarce funds.
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