Brethren Faith in Action grants help congregations welcome asylees, respond to pandemic challenges

The Brethren Faith in Action Fund (BFIA) has distributed three new grants in recent weeks. The fund gives grants to Church of the Brethren congregations and camps in the United States and Puerto Rico, using money generated by the sale of the upper campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Find out more and download application forms at

Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., received $5,000 for the congregation’s support of an asylum-granted family transitioning into the local community. In 2018, the church’s Witness Commission began involvement with Latin American families in the caravans seeking help in this country. In 2019, the church began to provide living expenses and supplies to a Guatemalan mother and her young children. With the church’s support and a 2020 BFIA grant, the family was able to move from a mobile home to an apartment. The congregation plans to continue supporting the family’s needs for childcare, counseling, and help to bring another child from Guatemala to the US. The congregation also is committed to learn more and become educated about the situation of refugees.

Myerstown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren received $5,000 to upgrade audio and video equipment, following challenging dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not able to meet in person, the congregation began pre-recording Sunday worship services and posted them on social media. When the congregation returned to in-person services, however, many members chose not to return due to age, health, or other concerns. Recognizing that people’s worship attendance patterns are changing, Myerstown is developing an updated system for live streaming worship services, Bible studies, and other church-related activities to reach people outside the church and to minister and reconnect with church members. Other possible benefits include the ability to collaborate with other churches in resource sharing, engaging youth, and live streaming services to a retirement community.

Potsdam (Ohio) Church of the Brethren received $2,350 to restart its Kids Club, a weekly program for children in grades 1-12. The program runs during the school year, providing a meal followed by a time for music, a Bible story, and memory verse, and breakout activities by age group. Kids Club is a significant outreach to the community that started in 2014. Before the COVID shutdown, 25 to 30 children attended, with 10 volunteers helping out (8 from the Potsdam church and 2 from the community). Only 6 of the children who participated were from families who attend the church regularly. The church planned to re-start the program on Sept. 8.


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