Many small churches have been hit hard by reduced giving during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, more than $400,000 already has been raised to help them, and more than 1,000 churches already have applied for assistance.
The Churches Helping Churches Initiative set up a relief fund to provide $3,000 grants to churches at risk of closing because of decreases in financial giving during the pandemic. The initiative is led by the AND Campaign, with support from other organizations such as the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Pinkston and the Pinetops Foundation.
As part of this effort, national Christian groups are urging larger and more stable churches to contribute to help keep these small churches open. Organizers hope to raise at least $500,000 through help from Christian donors, foundations and large churches. They will continue to fund-raise money through May, Pinkston Vice President D.J. Jordan said.
An application process opened April 6 for small churches to apply for grants. Through the relief fund, 109 churches have been earmarked for funding, Jordan said. More than 1,010 applications have been submitted. Deliverance Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, Hold the Light COGIC in Detroit, Plantando Iglesias in Minneapolis and Union Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago are among the churches that have been identified for funding.
This initiative is targeted toward congregations of 25 to 150 members in low-income communities in urban areas that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Rural churches in low-income communities also will be considered.
Data across the nation show that blacks and Latinos have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Organizations, churches and individuals who want to give to the fund can do so through the National Christian Foundation, which is administering the grants. Pastors of small at-risk churches can submit applications at ChurchRelief.org.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice