Pandemic Assistance Funds Redirected for Church PlantingBrenda Hamm
MB Foundation Board of Directors has redirected the remaining $216,315 in the Covid Church Relief Fund to be used for church planting. The COVID-19 Church Relief Fund started in April of 2020 to assist Mennonite Brethren churches during the pandemic.
The fund launched with an initial $25,000 donation and matched by MB Foundation. An invitation was extended to individuals and ministries to help churches maintain financial stability, prevent major staff transitions, continue to preach the word of God and provide pastoral care. Any unused funds were earmarked for church planting culminating in the recent action.
In Mid-May 2020 MB Foundation made an additional contribution of $350,000. “We were privileged to link arms with our MB family in giving to meet the needs of our churches,” said Jon C. Wiebe, President and CEO of MB Foundation. With donations from 131 individuals and organizations, just over $527,043 was raised for the Church Relief Fund.
Churches applied for relief funds by contacting their district offices and applications were processed by district ministers and the USMB Executive Director Don Morris. Funds totaling $310,728 were allocated to 54 MB churches, in the form of 69 grants.
Requests for funds decreased in recent months, bringing the district ministers to agree the fund could be closed. This led MB Foundation Board of Directors to redirect the remaining balance for church planting as originally planned.
“It was our privilege to facilitate assistance to our churches during the most turbulent times of the pandemic,” said Wiebe. “I’m excited that the remaining balance will now be used to plant churches in spiritually turbulent locations.”
USMB recently formed a new national Church Planting Council consisting of representatives from each of the five USMB districts. This council will keep abreast of all church planting happenings within districts and nationally, supporting and encouraging “organic” networks of pastors/churches for planting new churches and campuses, and potentially assisting with church renewal projects.
In a statement regarding the funds gathered by MB Foundation, USMB Executive Director Don Morris said, “The funds were initially a tremendous resource to our churches during the pandemic. With the redirection to church planting, they will now be a blessing to future churches.”