June 22, 2020
Spirit of MDS Fund Makes Second Round of Disbursements in Canada
The MDS Canada Spirit of MDS Fund issued 19 new grants to churches across Canada in May and June. Since launching in April, MDS Canada has provided a total of $43,000 to 40 churches and other organizations for programs and services to help people impacted by COVID-19.
Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in Vancouver, will use the funds to provide refugees served by the church with food and personal hygiene items and household items.
Eben-Ezer Mennonite, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in Abbotsford, will use the funds to stay connected with seniors in its congregation. This will include upgrading their recording equipment and technology and purchasing other supplies.
Peace Church on 52nd, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in Vancouver, will use the funds to help a homeless man who lives on the church property buy a new sleeping bag and sleeping mat so he is more comfortable. They will also use funds to provide rent assistance for a recently arrived couple who have lost employment, and for grocery cards and other food for local people in need.
Eden Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in Chilliwack, will use the funds to help low income seniors get groceries, provide lunches for children in the local school system, and to help families with young children get things like diapers and formula.
River of Life Community Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Sorrento, will use the funds to top-up the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for a student who is interning at the church and who will be serving seniors. He will especially help them to get connected online so they can fully participate in the life of the congregation.
Abbeydale Christian Fellowship, an Evangelical Mennonite Conference Church, will use the funds to provide food for 25-30 families, and to buy a freezer and other storage items to store the food items prior to distribution.
First Mennonite Church in Edmonton, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation, will use the funds to help members access worship services. This would include buying phone cards for long distance charges for those without Internet access.
Rosthern Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation, will use the funds to provide seniors in a housing complex operated by Mennonite Nursing Homes with iPads so they can communicate visually with family members during this time of lockdown. They will also use the devices to participate in online worship services.
Home Street Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in Winnipeg, will use the funds to provide cleaning supplies and masks for individuals and families served by its “Coffee and Conversation” drop-in and “Home Plate” food bank programs.
Connect City, a Mennonite Church of Canada congregation in Toronto, will use the funds for masks and other protective gear for food distribution, and to upgrade their Zoom account so they can better reach and serve refugees and others in their community. This includes offering a virtual summer camp for children.
Waterloo-Kitchener Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation, will use the funds to help the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support to retrofit their office and guest house to allow for physical distancing measures.
Warden Underground Church in Scarborough, part of Mennonite Church Canada, will use the funds to set up a podcasting studio so the youth they serve can engage each other during lockdown by creating podcasts about issues of concern to them and their community.
Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines will use the funds to provide food, counseling and other service to people living near the church who are struggling with addiction, poverty and mental health issues. This will include providing a weekly lunch for families.
Wainfleet Be In Christ Church will use the funds to buy mini-DVD players for seniors without access to the Internet so they can participate in Sunday services, and to upgrade equipment to improve the quality of recording of services.
Westview Christian Fellowship, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation in St. Catharines, will use the funds to replenish its food pantry that serves low income people in its community. This includes items like bread, milk and eggs.
Toronto Mennonite New Life Church, part of Mennonite Church Canada, will use the funds to pay its building insurance. Since the pandemic started, the small congregation of newcomers and refugees has been unable to meet and hold offerings, with the result it had to borrow money. The grant will enable it to pay back the loan.
Port Colborne Be In Christ Church will use the funds to record and distribute DVDs of Sunday services to members who don’t have access to the Internet. They will also use the funds for food vouchers for people in the community.
Bluewater Be In Christ Church in Kincardine will use the funds to provide food for families and individuals hard-hit by COVID-19 through its drop-in ministry. Due to the pandemic, the food is now being delivered.
Northend Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in St. Catharines has received a second grant to help community children attend its virtual day camps. The funds will be used to help defray the cost of kits of materials such as pens, pencils, paper and other items for each child that attends the camps.
Welland Be In Christ Church will use the funds to enhance its online services, and to enable those without Internet to access them via DVDs and CDs. They will use the money to purchase editing software and DVDs and CDs.
The Spirit of MDS Fund was created by MDS Canada in April to help Canadian churches, especially in the Anabaptist/Mennonite traditions, respond to people in their communities facing hardship due to the virus.
“MDS normally responds to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes,” says Ross Penner, Director of Operations for MDS Canada.
“But the pandemic is a disaster for many people in Canada. Since we aren’t able to respond in the usual way, we want to do it through local congregations that are on the front lines of responding to needs.”
John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications Coordinator. Photo at top: Abbeydale Christian Fellowship.