Eight Mennonite Church Manitoba congregations will receive a total of $30,000 for missional engagement in their local communities.
“Finding intentional ways to love our neighbours is an important practice for the church,” says Melanie Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s director of mission engagement. “We’re excited to see what God will do with these new and ongoing initiatives.”
The Local Mission Grant Fund was created out of the regional church’s 2021 budget surplus. After setting aside surplus for general reserve and capital funds, the board decided to leave $30,000 for a one-time fund to spark community involvement among MC Manitoba’s congregations and to encourage congregations after two-and-a-half years of pandemic.
The application evaluation committee included Neufeld, executive minister Michael Pahl, and board member Andrea Hildebrand. The congregations which applied for and received funding are:
- Carman Mennonite Church, to help start a community food bank out of its church, in partnership with Manitoba Harvest and other local churches and community organizations.
- Jubilee Mennonite Church, to continue its after-school program for kids, in partnership with A Rocha Manitoba.
- Little Flowers Community, to provide peer support and emergency funding for people with mental-health challenges in its inner-city neighbourhood.
- North Kildonan Mennonite Church, to build an outdoor basketball court in its parking lot as part of a larger outreach effort into its community.
- Prairie Mennonite Fellowship, to help with its sponsorship of a family from Syria.
- Seeds Church, to contribute to the renovation of its church space to become a resource hub for the community, in partnership with other local churches and organizations.
- Springstein Mennonite Church, to equip its church building to serve as a community centre, in partnership with the local community club board.
- Sterling Mennonite Fellowship, to support its ministry, in partnership with Living Word Church in Cross Lake, providing a week of summer camp for children and youth there.
Grant recipients are eager to get working.
Mackenzie Hildebrand, faith development pastor of North Kildonan Mennonite Church, says the church “is excited to build meaningful connections by creating an accessible activity and hospitable space for members of the community to connect. Without the support of [the] Local Mission Grant, this project might have never made it past the ideas stage.”
Bob Pauls of Carman Mennonite Church echoes these sentiments. “The invitation from [MC Manitoba] for churches to apply for a mission grant served as an encouragement for our congregation to look beyond itself and see where we could make a positive difference in the community,” Pauls says. “While the grant money will be of great assistance in helping to start such a project, just as important was [MC Manitoba’s] encouragement for congregations to imagine missional possibilities that we could be part of.”
MC Manitoba is a covenant community of 37 congregations and is a member of Mennonite Church Canada.
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