Final grants for the year 2022 have been given by Church of the Brethren funds including the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), the Global Food Initiative (GFI), and the Brethren Faith in Action Fund (BFIA).
The GFI closed 2022 with 2 grants totaling $25,110.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff allocated 6 grants totaling $174,625 to close out the EDF year.
The BFIA announced 5 grants totaling $20,113 to close the year.
Global Food Initiative
An allocation of $11,000 helps fund a multi-crop thresher fabrication workshop in Nigeria, in partnership with the Agriculture Department of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The workshop began Jan. 11 and continues through Jan. 18. Ten participants are learning the skills to fabricate and sell threshers upon completion of the training. The workshop is led by staff from the University of Missouri with trainers coming from the United States and Ghana. Two GFI volunteers, Christian Elliot and Dennis Thompson, will represent the GFI during the event. Grant funds will cover materials to build one thresher, along with lodging for participants and volunteers, facility rental, and in-country transportation for EYN staff.
A grant of $14,110 helps l’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) to complete construction and to stock an agriculture supply store in the Central Plateau region. The story occupies the ground floor of a building that also will house new offices for the denomination’s National Committee and will serve as the center of operations for the Haiti Medical Project. Sales of agricultural supplies will not be limited to the immediate community, but will be offered to Haitian Brethren farmers and their neighbors across the country. The community also is the location of a tree nursery and a fishpond developed with help from the GFI and a partnership with Growing Hope Globally. Church leaders hope to build on past agricultural work and shift to an agribusiness model as part of a long-term goal of greater financial self-sufficiency.
Find out more about the Global Food Initiative at www.brethren.org/gfi.
Please pray… For God to bless these grants, their recipients, the work they will accomplish, as well as the generous donors who have made them possible.
Emergency Disaster Fund
An allocation of $64,625 funds an initial six months of work by Brethren Disaster Ministries at a rebuilding site in Dawson Springs, in western Kentucky. The project is rebuilding and repairing homes affected by an outbreak of tornadoes in December 2021. An initial allocation of $8,000 funded a short-term rebuilding response in Dawson Springs as a trial site. In 2023, Brethren Disaster Ministries will support a local partner’s goal of building 20 new homes in the area, including some as part of a program to help qualified renters own a new home built by Habitat for Humanity. Grant funds will cover operational expenses for volunteer support, including housing, food, leadership, and transportation onsite.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
An allocation of $41,000 supports the response of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the DRC) to the large-scale displacement of people due to violence. In the eastern part of the country, the most recent conflict erupted in May 2022 with fighting between a rebel group and the army near Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province. The violence has spread to other areas, resulting in more than 234,000 people displaced in this part of the DRC. About 70 percent of the displaced households (about 164,000 people) fled to the greater Goma area and have built temporary shelters with tarps and trash to survive this crisis. Goma was also the site of a volcanic eruption in 2021, from which the city and Goma Church of the Brethren are still recovering.
The church has developed a plan with the following priorities for support for displaced people: 1. healthcare assistance, 2. humanitarian assistance, 3. water and housing, 4. economic security, and 5. environmental protection. The church has identified 800 displaced households (about 6,400 people) who are particularly vulnerable and need immediate assistance.
An allocation of $39,000 was given as a humanitarian response to multiple crises in Haiti. The money was given to help provide emergency food distributions at all the congregations and preaching points of l’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The Caribbean island nation is suffering multiple economic and political crises, gang violence, gender-based violence, kidnappings, natural disasters, a cholera outbreak, and very high inflation, which is spiraling into a humanitarian tragedy. As the lowest per-capita income country in the western hemisphere, Haiti already is at high risk of food insecurity, poor nutrition, and poverty. The current round of crises stem, in part, from the killing of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021; the earthquake that struck southern Haiti in August 2021; the takeover of much of the country by violent gangs; and in October 2022, a new cholera outbreak.
“Leaders of the Haitian church and Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have been discussing how to address this growing crisis,” said the grant request. “Traditional interventions are not possible or safe because of the gang violence and likelihood of having food supplies stolen at gunpoint. These discussions resulted in a creative new pilot program designed to distribute relief funds to allow local church leaders to facilitate emergency food distributions from their church.” The response plan will provide drinking water, rice, dried beans, and cooking oil to 800 of the most at-risk families in the communities around the 30 churches and preaching points.
A grant of $20,000 supports the winter weather aid projects of the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD) for displaced Syrians and vulnerable Lebanese families. Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, with one in three people in the country being a refugee. Most of the refugees fled during the civil war in Syria. The project goal is to support 5,500 vulnerable families in Syria (about 26,950 individuals) through the provision of relief goods such as blankets, jackets, boots, and hats; and in Lebanon to support 5,000 Syrian refugee families (approximately 21,000 individuals) with blankets, mattresses, carpets, jackets, emergency lights, heating stoves, and fuel.
A grant of $5,000 supports a relief program for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, through the Rwanda Church of the Brethren. With so many displaced in the Goma area of the DRC, some have fled to Uganda and Rwanda. Some of these refugees have temporarily settled in villages near congregations of Rwanda Church of the Brethren. Thirty refugee families (about 200 people) have been identified by the Rwandan church as needing assistance. The Rwanda church has developed a response plan to assist the refugees and support their host families with food distributions. Grant funds will provide weekly distributions of rice, maize flour, cooking oil, potatoes, and soap.
A grant of $5,000 supports work to aid asylum seekers who have been bused to the nation’s capital from the southern border. “Due to numerous humanitarian crises around the world, thousands of people are seeking asylum in the United States, some of whom make perilous journeys to the southern border,” said the grant request. “In April 2022, the state of Texas began sending many of these asylum seekers in buses to Washington, D.C., without plans for their care or in coordination with the city government or others in the area. When no response was initiated to receive these groups, a community-based effort began between a network of mutual aid groups and faith-based partners wanting to support the welcome, respite, and humanitarian needs of these individuals and families.” This response is a partnership with several local congregations of different faiths with help from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers from districts and congregations of the Church of the Brethren.
Find out more about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm.
Brethren Faith in Action
A grant of $5,000 to Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., helps support a family from Colombia seeking asylum in the United States. The Manchester congregation has supported asylum-seeking families for several years. The congregation’s support for this family includes food, medical connections, transportation, translation assistance, basic supplies, and emotional support. The congregation anticipates that 100 percent of the grant funds will go toward the cost of an immigration lawyer.
A grant of $5,000 to West Charleston (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, a multicultural and tri-lingual church, helps fund the church’s support for immigrants and refugees who face cultural, social, and spiritual adjustment as they navigate complicated legal processes to gain citizenship and learn English. The grant will help pay for transportation costs to and from hearings, provide pastoral advocacy support, train volunteers as English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers and purchase related materials, and provide translation assistance.
A grant of $5,000 aids Oakland (Ohio) Church of the Brethren to update and improve audiovisual equipment in the church’s sanctuary. Oakland expects to complete the project over 18 months. Additional funds will be raised from other sources.
A grant of $3,000 to Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren helps fund its recovery house outreach. The church held its first fellowship meal with people in recovery in October 2022. The dinner and companionship were well received. The church then provided a meal for Thanksgiving, planned a Christmas meal, and now wants to make the meal a regular monthly occurrence. Some of the recovery house residents have joined the congregation for morning worship.
A grant of $2,113 to Topeka (Kan.) Church of the Brethren has funded a live nativity project that was part of the congregation’s Jesus in the Neighborhood initiative for 2022. The interactive event open to the community took place on Dec. 18, 2022. Members and friends of the congregation built a stable, assembled cutout animals, prepared costumes, performed as actors, provided hospitality to visitors, and oversaw parking lot control. A local farmer brought a donkey and two sheep.
Find out more about the Brethren Faith in Action fund at www.brethren.org/bfia.
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- CDS helps care for children and families among asylum seekers in Chicago area
- Church of the Brethren general secretary signs letter from Christian leaders to President Biden
- ‘Prayer Vigil: Ceasefire Now!’ will pray for peace in Israel and Palestine
- Next online meeting of Standing with People of Color process is Nov. 18
- Standing Committee of Annual Conference to hold online meetings open to the public