The Brethren Faith in Action Fund provides grants to outreach ministry projects of Church of the Brethren congregations that serve their communities, strengthen the congregation, and expand the reign of God. It was created with funds generated by the sale of the upper campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Ministries that receive grants will honor and continue the legacy of service that the center has epitomized, while also addressing the dynamics of the present age.
Alpha and Omega Church of the Brethren in Lancaster, Pa., received $5,000 to support the congregation’s five outreach projects: a Food Bank program, Spanish Vacation Bible program, Fall Festival outreach, 40 Days of Prayer outreach and fellowship ministry, and Video and Internet Ministry. These ministries strive to meet the various spiritual and physical needs of the congregation and local community through outreach and contact with the community, sharing the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. A previous grant of $5,000 was made to this project in October 2018.
Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., received $5,000 to fund a project supporting asylum-seeking families in the US. The Witness Commission has pursued involvement with Latin American families in the caravans that are seeking help in the United States, with assistance from SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), which is helping with sponsorship. Currently the church is assisting a family from Guatemala that arrived several months ago and is now ready for more independence. Grant money will go toward job training, housing, the children’s school needs, and other expenses during the family’s transition to independence.
Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren received $5,000 to help replace the HVAC system in part of the church facility used to host homeless families that come to the church through its outreach ministry. The grant will cover $5,000 of the $54,142 replacement cost. The congregation has joined with other area churches to support Family Promise of Harrisburg Capital Region. The program works to secure stable housing and employment for families experiencing homelessness. Family Promise relies on churches to provide clientele with an evening meal, shelter for the night, a place to sleep, and breakfast in the morning, for one week at a time, staffed by volunteers from the host congregation.
Spring Creek Church of the Brethren in Hershey, Pa., received $5,000 to replace a heating system for its Parsonage Ministry. The church has raised $4,750 of the $9,750 replacement cost of a new energy efficient natural gas heating system. For 11 years, the congregation has used its former parsonage as a place for people to stay when family members are receiving care at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, at no cost. The ministry serves people who must travel more than 50 miles to be with loved ones during a medical crisis but who cannot afford to stay in a hotel. Since its beginning, the ministry has helped more than 1,200 guests save more than $1,800,000 in lodging costs.
Pleasant Valley (Va.) Church of the Brethren received $1,250 to host a marriage retreat focused on strengthening the marriage of couples in the congregation and surrounding communities. The retreat is for married people, from newlyweds to long-lasting couples, and offers participants relational bonding experiences in addition to receiving tools and resources to aid their communication and life together. Outside leadership has been secured for the event on March 20-21 at Highland Retreat Center in Bergton, Va.
Buffalo Valley (Pa.) Church of the Brethren received $1,000 to purchase materials for home renovation projects in the community. MifflinServe is the congregation’s ministry of repairing homes for community members identified with help from the police force, mayor’s office, social media, and word of mouth in the Mifflinburg community. The church recruits volunteers to do the repairs, and has contractors among its membership who provide guidance and support. In 2019, nine different families were served by 31 volunteers.
For more information about this fund go to www.brethren.org/faith-in-action .