MC USA awards first Justice Fund grants to support community outreach

Mennonite Church USA has awarded grants to 10 congregations supporting social justice work. The grants of $1,000 to $2,500 are the first from the denomination’s Justice Fund, established in June to support conferences and congregations working to combat poverty, dismantle racism, seek immigration justice or address police brutality/reimagine policing.

“This is a way for us to engage locally in our communities and be a part of a narrative that advocates justice, love and kindness to counter hate and violence,” said MC USA associate executive director Iris de León-Hartshorn.

The grant recipients are:

C3 – Calvary Community Church in Hampton, Va., $2,500 for partnering with community organizations to work on racial justice.

Central Plains Mennonite Conference in Freeman, S.D., $2,000 for Agape Peace Center, a conference-affiliated ministry, for its work in partnership with other churches and organizations in race relations and restorative justice.

Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in North Carolina, $1,000 for antiracism work in partnership with other community organizations.

Eugene Mennonite Church in Oregon, $2,500 to provide laundry services for unsheltered people.

Frazer Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania, $1,000 to support its Ploughshares Community Garden program.

Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland, $2,000 to provide internet accessibility for community members and support outreach work addressing racial justice, police brutality and poverty.

North Baltimore Mennonite Church, $2,000 to help provide housing and services to asylum seekers, in partnership with other community organizations.

Pasadena Mennonite Church in California, $1,000 to provide spiritual support for pastors leading peace and justice work.

Philadelphia Praise Center, $2,000 to help maintain safe drop-off sites for virtual learning for families in need, in partnership with Mosaic Mennonite Conference and two other Mennonite churches.

San Antonio Mennonite Church, $2,000 to support its Interfaith Welcome Coalition, which provides trauma-healing programs and other services to immigrants and their families.

Individuals and congregations have donated more than $37,000 to the mutual aid fund, exceeding the initial goals. MC USA contributed $2,000.

“The Justice Fund provides a way for us to live into our vision of healing and hope by centering the needs of the most vulnerable and amplifying the work that we are already doing — and doing well together,” said Sue Park-Hur, denominational minister for transformative peacemaking.

MC USA plans to continue to award Justice Fund grants, giving priority to churches with fewer than 150 members. Information on how to apply for a grant or donate is at: mennoniteusa.org/news/first-justice-fund-grants.

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