Instead of being a great leveler, the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing pre-existing systemic inequalities that benefit some and disadvantage others. How can the Anabaptist family respond?
Mennonite World Conference has invited Anabaptist mission and service agencies to coordinate their financial response to COVID-19 hardships experienced especially by under-resourced member churches around the world.
Pre-conditions in parts of Africa, Latin America, and Asia (where 81 percent of MWC members live) are not advantageous to the arrival of the virus: isolation is difficult in crowded living conditions; clean water for hand-washing may be scarce while soap and hand sanitizer are expensive or unavailable; hospitals are not well equipped with tools or staff; informal economies cannot function in lockdown; social safety nets are inadequate or nonexistent.
Linked to one another
“When crisis strikes, some of our members are not as well resourced to access agency aid resources,” says MWC general secretary César García. “We are called to be a communion of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service and witness.
“By coordinating with Anabaptist agencies, we are fulfilling our mission and ensuring that help is available to all without duplication of efforts.”
Global Church Sharing Fund
The MWC Global Church Sharing Fund will receive donations. A task force representing more than 10 global Anabaptist agencies will determine criteria of accountability and coordinate responses to requests. Mennonite Central Committee will lead the task force including leadership from the Deacons Commission and delegates from around the world.
This interagency response will maximize the strength of diverse organizations, build on existing networks of primary relationships and mitigate competition for scarce funds.
Requests for assistance funds will come from MWC member churches, associate members, or related organizations. Under oversight from the task force, they will be channeled to an appropriate member agency.
“Crises are not new,” says César García. “In the Bible, we learn from Joseph to plan ahead (Genesis 41); from the year of Jubilee that re-organization of oppressive systems is part of faithful living (Leviticus 25:10); from the Jerusalem church that we can risk generosity for the sake of others in need (1 Corinthians 16:1-4); and from 1 Peter 4:7-10 that we should practice hospitality and use our gifts in service of others.”
Please write “COVID-19” on your gift at mwc-cmm.org/donate. Another option is to continue to support your preferred Anabaptist agency in its own COVID-19 response.
- Mennonite World Conference (MWC)
- Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
- Brethren In Christ World Mission (BICWM)
- CIM – Council of International Anabaptist Ministries
- EMM – Eastern Mennonite Missions
- Evangelical Mennonite Conference Missions
- Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
- Mennonite Church Canada
- Mennonite Mission Network
- Multiply (formerly MB Mission)
- Rosedale International (Conservative Mennonite Conference)
- Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMMissions)
—Mennonite World Conference release