GOSHEN, Indiana — Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), Everence® and Mennonite Central Committee U.S. (MCC U.S.) have joined together to launch a COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund to aid churches facing financial crisis due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The new fund was seeded with a combined $550,000 commitment from MDS, Everence and MCC U.S. The fund will be administered by Everence Foundation. A special committee with representation from MDS, Everence and MCC has been formed to review requests and allocate grants based on need.

The fund will accept grant requests of up to $5,000 each from churches that might not have means to recover from this unprecedented global situation. Recipient churches may use the grants to meet their congregational financial needs (such as rent, mortgage, utilities, staff salaries, etc.) or to assist families and individuals in their midst recover from COVID-19 hardships. Churches with historic roots or relationships with the Anabaptist faith community are eligible to apply for a grant. Priority will be given to racially and ethnically diverse churches serving in historically under-resourced communities, i.e. communities and households that are underbanked, underinsured and/or uninsured.

While primarily focused on domestic relief needs, a portion of the fund will support global partners through the Mennonite World Conference Global Sharing Fund. Established in 1997, the Global Church Sharing Fund supports the ministries and mission of Mennonite World Conference member and associate member churches in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The coronavirus disease and its accompanying impacts will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations, particularly those who are part of racial or ethnic communities,” said J Ron Byler, MCC U.S. executive director. “It’s imperative that we recommit ourselves to caring for our neighbors, acting generously, and sharing God’s love and compassion with all in the name of Christ.”

To learn more and/or apply for a COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund grant, visit everence.com/covid-19-congregational-relief-fund. Individuals, churches, businesses and organizations may also support the fund through charitable donations.