‘Being the church together’

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Mennonite Church Canada is donating $50,000 to the Global Sharing Fund operated by Mennonite World (MWC) to help MWC-member churches struggling because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Sister churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which make up 81 per cent of MWC members, are requesting aid from MWC because they do not have enough food, water for handwashing, and soap. Local hospitals are not always equipped with medical supplies and governments do not have resources to offer social assistance.

“The need is immediate,” says Arli Klassen, who sits on the Joint Council of MC Canada and is also the regional representatives coordinator for MWC. “I am receiving texts and emails every day from member churches who report that their communities do not have enough food. Congregations are making food packets or cooking large pots of food to share with those who are hungry.”

In response to MWC’s call for aid, the Joint Council approved a $50,000 donation to the Global Sharing Fund. The donation is possible because the regional churches, which make up MC Canada, experienced fewer expenses than budgeted in the 2020 fiscal year.

"COVID-19 exacerbates dire conditions in countries already devastated by armed conflict, internal displacement and lack of health-care infrastructure,” says César García, MWC’s general secretary. “Many of our congregations live and work in these danger zones. They provide pastoral care and counselling to the fearful, the sick and the dying; they give medical care and livelihood support. MC Canada’s financial support for our global family of faith brings light in a world covered by this pandemic’s darkness. Local congregations continue their ministries, thanks to your generosity!”

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 that includes leadership from the MWC 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 channelled to an appropriate member agency. 

Along with its $50,000 donation, MC Canada is asking its member churches and congregations to match or exceed this donation by donating to the MWC Global Church Sharing Fund through their respective regional church offices.

“We find the lockdown limitations hard on us in Canada, but most of us continue to have food on our tables every day,” says Klassen. “Even in the midst of our anxieties and fears, we can walk with congregations who have access to fewer resources than we do. That is what it means to be the church together.” 

Donations marked “MWC Global Sharing Fund” can be mailed to regional church offices or sent electronically through the regional church websites:

  • Mennonite Church British Columbia, #305-32025 George Ferguson Way, Abbotsford, BC V2T 2K7 (mcbc.ca/giving)
  • Mennonite Church Alberta, Box 1839, Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0 (mcab.ca/giving)
  • Mennonite Church Saskatchewan 600 45th Street West, Saskatoon, SK S7L 5W9 (mcsask.ca/giving)
  • Mennonite Church Manitoba, 600 Shaftesbury Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB R3P OM4 (mennochurch.mb.ca/giving)
  • Mennonite Church Eastern Canada 201-50 Kent Avenue, Kitchener, ON  N2G 3R1 (mcec.ca/giving)

Related stories:
MCC announces program cuts, changes due to COVID-19
COVID-19 impact on world hunger cause for high concern

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing pre-existing systemic inequalities that benefit some and disadvantage others. How can the Anabaptist family respond? (MWC photo by Henk Stenvers)

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