The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded four grants totaling $7,395 for local ministries. The MDT approved these grants at its meeting on Aug. 22, 2023. Grants will provide funds toward the following projects:

Millersburg Mennonite Church Refugee Resettlement Program — Several members of Millersburg Mennonite Church are making plans to support a family of Congolese refugees to come to Ohio to live. MDT grant funds will be used to help purchase computers and internet access for the refugees so that they can gain access to English language learning resources and tutors.

Raw Tools Capacity Increase (Toledo Mennonite) — Since 2016 Toledo Mennonite Church has been partnering with RAW Tools. Toledo Mennonite Church’s pastor, Joel Shenk, said, “We turn guns into garden tools with an old-fashioned forge and anvil, thus enacting the vision of Micah and Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares. The vision is to disarm hearts and forge peace with tools that build and cultivate life rather than destroy it.”

Grant funds will go toward creating a fully functional permanent blacksmithing workshop. Currently RAW Tools Toledo’s equipment is housed in a small trailer. While the current arrangement is helpful for taking the ministry to other locations, it is not optimal for allowing people regular time to work on the forge, since a significant amount of time is required to set up the forge and then tear it down after use.

Generator work for designated regional emergency/disaster community shelter (Salem, Waldron, Michigan) — Salem Mennonite Church in Waldron, Michigan, has been working with the Red Cross, and the congregation’s building has been designated as a regional emergency/disaster community shelter.

Because the Salem congregation is located in a rural area, the potential for prolonged power outages is greater in this location, since electrical coverage repair work tends to prioritize areas that are more densely populated. Grant funds will go toward work needed for a generator to provide electrical power to the church building in the case of a power outage during an emergency.

Disarming Violence Event (Northwest Ohio) — A group of churches in northwest Ohio plans to hold an event designed to promote conversation and awareness about gun safety. The theme of this event will be “Disarming Violence: Starting a conversation about gun safety in our community.” Goals for this event include helping the community think about gun violence and how to prevent accidental gun deaths, as well as healing from past violent events.

This event is being planned by members of Central Mennonite Church, Lockport Mennonite Church, Tedrow Mennonite Church and Zion Mennonite Church, along with Shalom Counseling & Mediation Center and representatives from Fulton County and Williams County.

Since 2012, the Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team has awarded Ministry Grants to Ohio Conference congregations and related groups for ministry projects.

Funding for these grants comes from funds accumulated in years in which the Conference completed the fiscal year with a surplus.