Brethren Faith in Action Fund announces grants to congregations and camps

The Brethren Faith in Action Fund has announced recent grants awarded to eight Church of the Brethren congregations and camps. The fund supports outreach ministry projects that serve their communities, strengthen the congregation or camp, and expand the reign of God, using monies generated by sale of the upper campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Camp Peaceful Pines, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, received $5,000 to fund a required geological assessment of the site resulting from the Donnell fire in Aug. 2018. The US Forest Service determined that five cabins with lodging for up to 80 campers were no longer usable unless the camp provided a geological assessment. The evaluation will assess the risk of landslides in the event of thunderstorms exceeding 30 minutes in duration, and is required before the camp can reopen the cabins in 2021. The additional expense for the $8,800 evaluation will be covered by camping fees, donations, and monies approved by the camp board. The camp was granted a matching fund waiver.

The Gathering Chicago, a new church plant in Illinois and Wisconsin District, received $5,000 to support its Healing Racism programming. A need has arisen in the current context of racial injustice, healing trauma, and communities overwhelmed by COVID-19 to offer an intensified program titled “Healing Bridges” that includes two retreats on Aug. 28-29 and Oct. 22-23, online training with Chicago’s Crossroads Antiracism Organization, and a strengthened website and web engagement. The church was granted a matching fund waiver.

Restoration Los Angeles, a Church of the Brethren congregation in southern California, received $5,000 to complete the building of a youth center. The congregation averaged approximately 200 people in worship before the pandemic. It began construction of a multipurpose youth room in Jan. 2020. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the inability to gather affected giving and the momentum of the project. The church hopes to complete the project before the lifting of gathering restrictions in order to have a permanent space for the congregation’s youth and to draw community youth.

Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa., received $4,000 to will help replace the roof of the Tree of Peace Lodge. The lodge, one of the camp’s main sources of income, “eases people into an outdoor experience while providing some of the comforts of home,” said the grant announcement. “It is an excellent resource for people who like to be outdoors but are not accustomed to more rustic lodging. It provides a place for generations of people to come and experience the beauty of God’s creation firsthand.” Leaks have starte to cause rotting to the roof’s structure. Three Springs Church of the Brethren has agreed to match the grant and provide volunteer labor, with the camp covering the expense of materials, estimated to be $11,644.

Brethren Woods, a camp and outdoor ministry center in Keezletown, Va., received $3,550 to help fund a family camp and virtual camp experience. Due to COVID-19 the camp cannot offer a traditional camping experience so the staff has planned two alternative experiences: a family camp during phase 2 of Virginia’s reopening plan, with social distancing protocols; and “Watz’s in the Woods,” an online camp to help current, past, and future campers stay connected or get connected, with a focus on “This Is Our Prayer” Bible themes.

Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Bradenton, Fla., received $3,200 for a four-week arts camp in July, offered for community youth and young adults with leadership by church member and former art teacher Cindy Reyner and presentations by speakers from local colleges. The area has impoverished and victimized children, many from broken home settings, and the arts camp provided them with high-quality art supplies and instruction, and lunch each day. The church’s spacious fellowship hall provided space for social distancing, and participation was limited to eight students each week with parents welcomed to accompany their child.

Hanover (Pa.) Church of the Brethren received $2,166 to renovate a classroom into office space for a new youth director position. The goal of the position is to draw youth from the Hanover community to the church. The youth director will work with youth at neighboring elementary and high schools, with a homeless shelter where the youth will serve meals during scheduled school vacation days, and will be involved with church programs serving children and youth.

A grant of $1,000 is pending to Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., for its “Cooking for the Homeless” ministry serving people in Loudoun County, Va., and the District of Columbia. Church members and community volunteers prepare meals packed in paper bags and distribute them to homeless residents, along with hygiene products and clothing. The congregation prepares meals for 80-120 people in Washington and 200-250 people in Loudoun County. Volunteers from the church and community make and pack the meals and the Salvation Army helps with distribution. Recent information received from Dranesville indicated the program is on hold due to pandemic regulations and will resume when restrictions are lifted.

The Brethren Faith in Action guidelines and application form are in English, Kreyol, and Spanish at www.brethren.org/faith-in-action .

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