With the COVID-19 outbreak impacting nearly every aspect of life and society, here is a roundup of recent news and resources from across the Mennonite church. Compiled by The Mennonite staff as of April 3.
Congregations across the United States and the world are responding in myriad of ways. Here are several examples of Mennonites seeking to spread hope.
Dove’s Nest notes that as the COVID-19 outbreak has led to school closures, economic stress and unmet childcare needs, leaving many parents in a lurch, child abuse, neglect and domestic violence are predicted to increase. Here is a resource of ways to keep children and youth safe while they’re at home.
Everence has announced initiatives aimed at providing financial support. Among the initiatives is a doubling of the amount of eligible Sharing Fund grant money available to congregations with an Everence stewardship advocate. This is designed to help churches assist members or community individuals facing serious financial needs due to COVID-19, including pastors who may be losing income due to reduced giving in the midst of the pandemic.
MennoMedia has been forced to make temporary staff cuts in all departments and to make several product cuts. At the same time, MennoMedia is sending out its weekly Shine Sunday school curriculum for children, Adult Bible Study and Rejoice! daily devotional via email.
Mennonite Central Committee is scaling up its work in some locations. MCC hygiene kit shipments are on their way to Jordan, Ukraine and Mozambique, while MCC supports several hospitals and clinics that serve people at risk of COVID-19. MCC thrift shops in Canada and the United States are temporarily shuttered, drying up funding that averaged more than $1.2 million a month in 2019. Ten relief sales have canceled or postponed sales this spring, events that last year brought in more than $1.7 million.
Mennonite Church USA has launched initiatives such as a blog series aimed at raising awareness of social justice issues impacting vulnerable groups during the pandemic and a webinar series led by denomination ministers to equip pastors and congregational leaders to address pandemic-related faith formation topics. MC USA issued a statement April 2 on anti-Asian racism in the wake of COVID-19. Additional MC USA-related initiatives are here, and an MC USA page of resources is here.
Mennonite Disaster Service has closed all current projects and suspended all summer programs. Three of the six staff who work in the MDS office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will be laid off. They will receive government unemployment benefits, topped-up by MDS. MDS hopes to restart projects in the fall.
Mennonite Education Agency has offered a prayer resource to congregations in its April Prayers for Faith & Learning monthly bulletin.
Mennonite Health Services has a COVID-19 resource page with links to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the MHS e-Connections monthly newsletter includes webinars, presentations and reading recommendations.
Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship has produced two special podcast episodes related to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the most recent episode, Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Kotva Jr., an Anabaptist bioethicist, discusses some of the ethical conundrums related to patient care and provider protections. In an episode recorded March 12, Dr. Dan Nafziger, chief medical officer at Goshen (Indiana) Health, discusses the new coronavirus, some common terminology used to discuss the pandemic and how it might affect church community culture.
Mennonite Mission Network says multiple workers and family members in Europe are recovering from COVID-19. They are located in France, Germany and Spain. Mission Network is making changes to its five Christian Service programs, including the closure of all Service Adventure units for the 2019-20 season, and hopes to renew a full slate of volunteer opportunities in the fall. As documented here, Mission Network is sharing fiscal, pastoral and communication resources with its domestic and global partners, constituents, staff members and the wider church.
Editor’s note: This is not an exhaustive list of news and resources. To suggest an item for this list, email email@example.com.