COVID-19 global response fund helps churches

“It will reflect our love of Christ to them; [that] we care and are concerned for them and it will also bring smile in their faces,” says Bishop Dr. Bijoy Kumar Roul, Chairman, Brethren In Christ Church, Cuttack, Odisha, India.

Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 inter-agency task force has approved 21 relief proposals, including Bishop Bijoy Roul’s from BIC Church Odisha.

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 in more than a dozen countries will bring relief to thousands of families, sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way with church members and their neighbours.

  • Seed assistance and microloans for greater economic self-sufficiency for farmers and entrepreneurs in Kennedougou, Burkina Faso.
  • Food and health supplies for 700 households in six regions of Odisha, India, with widespread job losses.
  • Food and health kits for 500 low-income community members in Ecuador.
  • Education in DR Congo: training church leaders as health and hygiene tutors for their communities; distributing leaflets in French, Kikongo, Lingala and Tshiluba and spreading positive messages on radio; giving sanitation supplies to churches and schools.
  • Food for members of an outpost church in Sumba, Indonesia, a small island that often escapes the attention of the Indonesian government and has no other NGOs at work.
  • Aid for more than 900 households in six regions of Kisumu county Kenya, affected by severe flooding in addition to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Financial aid for women and men whose income generation opportunities in the informal economy disappeared with pandemic lockdowns in Evangelical Mennonite churches in Angola (IEMA).
  • Purchase of soaps, gloves, masks and thermometers, along with desks and chairs, to re-open schools and churches in compliance with government distancing and hygiene regulations in Mennonite churches in Angola (ICMA).
  • Training workshops, sanitation equipment and education materials distribution for pastors and leaders to aid their congregations to live safely in the time of with COVID-19 in Mennonite Brethren churches in Angola (IEIMA).
Odisha market
Bishop Bijoy Roul in a market in pre-COVID-19 times.

“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 member and Peace Commission chair Joji Pantoja.

GCSF COVID-19 fund recipients for the above projects:

  • Burkina Faso: Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso
  • India: Mennonite Church Service Fellowship of India (MCSFI)
  • Ecuador: Evangélica Menonita Ecuatoriana
  • DR Congo: CONIM (Comite National Inter Mennonite) – a collaboration of the three Mennonite national churches: Communauté des Églises de Frères Mennonites au Congo (CEFMC), Communauté Mennonite au Congo (CMCo), Communauté Évangélique Mennonite (CEM)
  • Indonesia: GKMI (Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia Ekklesia – Muria Christian church)
  • Kenya: Kenya Mennonite Church
  • Angola: Igreja Evangelica Menonita em Angola (IEMA)
  • Angola: Igreja da Comunidade Menonita em Angola (ICMA)
  • Angola: Igreja Evangelica Irmãos Menonitas en Angola (IEIMA)

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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