Give to the
Shalom Mutual Aid Fund
“Keep loving each other like family.”
(Hebrews 13:1, CEB)
What is the Shalom Fund?
Eastern District & Franconia Conference has started a Shalom Fund to support pastors, congregations, and ministries in direct response to the Coronavirus and the ensuing economic crisis. We are seeking to raise $100,000 to respond to the most vulnerable within our membership and neighborhoods by empowering local ministries to meet real needs with Christ’s love and generosity in a time of fear and anxiety.
Read: Why Support the Eastern District & Franconia Conference Shalom Fund?
Who is being helped?
Our first wave of resources are being shared with Eastern District & Franconia congregations who are already distributing food in their South Philadelphia neighborhoods, beginning with eggs and potatoes to supplement canned meat that has been provided by Mennonite Central Committee. Shalom Fund distributions are also immediately going to Ripple Community Inc (a Conference Related Ministry (CRM) in Allentown that serves adults who are experiencing homelessness, living with mental illness, or have other conditions or experiences that can leave them isolated and alone), and Crossroad Community Center (a CRM which has been operating for nearly 60 years as a witness to Jesus by providing for the physical and spiritual needs of one of the most difficult neighborhoods in Philadelphia).
Just today, we have received projected initial needs of $50,000 for our congregations and these two CRMs alone to assist pastoral incomes, building mortgages, and mutual aid within the congregation and neighborhoods. These needs have been identified across our Conference and are immediate.
Who Can Give?
Everyone! If you have wanted a way to help others during this difficult and confusing time but didn’t know how, this is the fund for you. Whether you are an individual or family, a business owner, a youth group, someone who likes to run fundraisers, or a congregation with special or endowed funds, your contributions are vital.
- Considerations for Gathering Together Again – Leadership Ministers Scott Roth & Emily Ralph Servant, Dr. Sherri Binder, Executive Director of Ripple Community Inc., and Dr. Mariana Bernui from Drexel University hold a conversation on the possibilities for worship that bears witness of our love for God and our neighbors in a time of pandemic.
Pause and Reflect Before Reopening – MCUSA
- Glen Guyton – http://mennoniteusa.org/glens-blog/bearing-the-responsibility-of-reopening/
- Michael Danner – https://mddanner.wordpress.com/2020/05/06/one-hour-a-week/
- Melissa Florer-Bixler – http://mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/most-precious/
- Central Plains – http://www.centralplainsmc.org/uploads/1/3/1/1/13118061/now_what__introduction.pdf | http://www.centralplainsmc.org/uploads/1/3/1/1/13118061/now_what__.pdf
Guidelines for Consideration
- Everence – What Will Church Look Like When COVID-19 Restrictions Ease? (leer en español)
- Wisconsin Council of Churches – https://www.wichurches.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Returning-to-Church.pdf
- Ken Braddy – https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/22/reopening-the-church-4-phases-for-an-orderly-return/
- Erin Bromage – https://www.erinbromage.com/post/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them
Cleaning and Disinfecting Considerations
Distribution of Food
(Updated: April 21, 10:00 am EST)
- MC USA webinar on virtual tools for youth ministry – April 7, 4:00 pm EST (register by April 6) – featuring Eastern District & Franconia Conference’s Brooke Martin & Scott Roth
- Simple steps to use Facebook Live for a virtual service using a cell phone (video)
- Facebook Live general tutorial for beginners (video)
- Zoom Video Conferencing for beginners – setting up an account, joining and hosting a Zoom meeting (video)
- Best Practices for Hosting a Digital Event (Zoom blog)
- Zoom Events (live demos, webinars, online trainings)
- How to Livestream Your Church Service: A Practical Guide from The Gospel Coalition (article)
- Community Without Communing: Resources for Virtual Church – Sojourners (article)
- Mixing audio for your church service livestream (video) – intermediate skill tutorial for churches using a sound board to mix worship
- Top five questions about copyright coverage (article)
- Music Licensing info for streaming/podcasts (webpage)
- Dwell Scripture Audiobook App is offering 60 days free for congregations (email your request)
Need some personal assistance? Contact one of our staff persons below:
- Scott Roth – proficient in Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch
- Zoom coaching – Noel Santiago, Brooke Martin, Hendy Matahelemual, Danilo Sanchez, Chantelle Todman Moore
For children & families:
- 10 ways to keep kids safe with virtual learning (The Mennonite)
- Are the Kids OK? 11 Ways to Keep Children and Youth Safe While They’re at Home (Dove’s Nest – article with resources)
- 1st-4th grade (or younger) curriculum – (PDF) provided by Heather Gingrich (Plains congregation).
- Preschool Lessons – (PDF) provided by Sarah Rittenhouse (Franconia congregation, and a PreK teacher at Little Sprout Learning Center)
- Facebook Live daily story time (9:00 am) – Zion Mennonite Nursery School; previous story time videos are also on their Facebook page
- Turn Quarantine Into Quality Time: 14 Days of Questions and Activities – blog from a local stay-at-home mom who used to work as a teacher
- Shalom at Home – (PDF) resource guide provided by The City School
- Mennonite Early Childhood Network
- Redeem TV – free online streaming service from the Christian History Institute featuring biblical and historical documentaries and children’s programs as well as family-friendly dramas and TV-shows. Go to RedeemTV.com or find it in the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon, and Roku.
Worship and devotional resources from around MC USA:
- A Time Such As This, a special publication of Rejoice! (MennoMedia)
- Planning Easter & Good Friday worship: Fostering meaningful interactions while physically separate – AMBS webinar
- MC USA’s 2020 Lent At Home
- Weekly devotional email from MennoMedia. Subscribe here and click “Pandemic Resources”
- Congregational prayer, entitled “Prayer in a time of fear,” from Eastern Mennonite Seminary
- AMBS’ compilation of resources for prayer and worship
- Free resources to help calm the fears of your congregation from MennoMedia:
- Beyond Our Fears: Following Jesus in Times of Crisis – study for adults
- Don’t Be Afraid: Stories of Christians in Times of Trouble – for children
- Shine resources for Sunday school at home from MennoMedia
- Spotify worship resources/piano performance tracks of favorite hymns of hope
- Corporate reading of Tales of the Kingdom on Doylestown Mennonite Church’s Facebook Live, Monday through Saturday at 10am. The chapters are about 25 minutes long. Great for both children and adults. Catch up with the recordings.
- The Stations of the Cross – Zion Mennonite Church picnic grove; you’re invited to walk around 15 stations, that contain images and short scripture passages to help your time of prayer and reflection as you walk
- Supporting you during the COVID-19 outbreak (Everence resources)
- A Note from Conrad Martin, Director of Finance
- Everence announces initiatives aimed at providing financial support (The Mennonite)
- Celebrate Recovery program at Franconia Mennonite Church is now offering online small groups. Please contact 215-723-3220 or email@example.com if interested.
- Mental Health support lines (Montgomery County, PA)
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Help for Domestic Violence Victims – sadly, the stress of these times can lead to higher rates of violence. If you are not safe in your home due to domestic violence, there are places to turn to. Call PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-799-7233 or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
- Suicide Prevention Hotline – these can be very lonely times. If you or someone you need to talk or are in crisis, please call 1-888-273-TALK. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.
- Mental Health support (YouTube video) – provided by Maureen Gingerich, social worker (Blooming Glen congregation)
How to find volunteer opportunities:
- Contact a volunteer agency or center directly to inquire about their needs
- Visit PA211 for volunteer opportunities posted by agencies seeking volunteer help; or
- Register at ServPa to create a volunteer profile. When prompted, choose “COVID Volunteers” as your “organization”, then follow the links.
Anti-Asian discrimination/racism resources and statements:
UPDATED: May 7, 9:00am EST
We are in a very different time. Join together with other leaders from across our Conference in Zoom conversations and feel free to pass this information on to youth leaders in your congregation.
Are there other conversations that you would like to have? Or like to lead? Please let us know!
Leading and Pastoring in a Time of Social Distancing
Share, brainstorm, and support one another as we pastor during the Coronavirus epidemic. Potential topics for discussion include worship (planning and formats), pastoral care, communication, connection in isolation, self-care, partnership with congregations in the conference and in your community, supporting one another.
- Every Wednesday, 10-11am EST – led by Mary Nitzsche and Josh Meyer (English) new Zoom link beginning 5/27: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81324082049
- Every other Thursday night – 9pm EST/6pm PST – led by Aldo Siahaan and Hendy Matahelemual (Indonesian). The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/262849343
- Every other Wednesday night – 7pm EST/4pm PST – led by Noel Santiago and Marco Guete (Spanish). The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/557606813
Spiritual Formation for Youth in a Time of Social Distancing
All youth leaders are welcome, we will be connecting, sharing, and praying for our ministry settings as we work with the Holy Spirit for creative community engagement. We can share ideas and practices and resource one another. We can also all just enjoy some time together.
- Weekly – Thursday mornings, 9:30 am – led by Brooke Martin
The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/500032991
- Pray with us through the summer. Every Wednesday through August 19, 12:00-12:30pm EST/9:00-9:30am PST, led by Noel Santiago, Marta Castillo and Jeff Wright. (For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org) The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/961945265
- Centering Prayer in a Time of Disruption – led by Jessica Miller and Franco Salvatori – Tuesdays at 3:00PM EST through the end of May. Zoom link to join is: https://zoom.us/j/99895914233
We will continue to look for opportunities and conversation together in new ways and formats over the next weeks.
(Updated March 26, 2:00pm EST)
If you know of other reputable sources for information of ways to help, please send them to email@example.com.
Eastern District & Franconia Conference has started a mutual aid fund to support pastors, congregations, and ministries in direct response to the Coronavirus and the ensuing economic crisis. We will seek to respond to the most vulnerable within our membership and neighborhoods by empowering local ministries to meet real needs with Christ’s love and generosity in a time of fear and anxiety. Give now.
Blood donations are seriously needed as many blood drives have been canceled. To find a blood drive near you follow the links below:
- Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://www.giveapint.org/blood-donor-center-locations/. St. Lukes Hospital in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania is sponsoring a blood drive the first week of April (more information here).
- American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html. For those near Lansdale, PA, there is a drive being held this week (last week of March) at Towamencin congregation (Facebook Event Page).
From PBS NewsHour: “Due to panic surrounding the virus, donations to many local food banks are down significantly. This is the case in Washington state, where dozens have already died from the virus, and states like Ohio, where food banks have seen volunteers cancel shifts. Supermarket chain Harris Teeter on Friday said that key items in its stores may be out of stock due to high customer demand, and some food banks in Washington state have reported that people have come to their facilities for the first time because their regular grocery stores don’t have what they’re looking for…. Organizations like Feed America allow you to search for food banks in your area. Many food banks across the U.S. are now putting their resources toward dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak directly.”
- Feeding America Directory of Food Banks
- A list of organizations offering direct services related to COVID-19.
- Donate to Ripple Community, Inc, a Conference Related Ministry that is providing food and services to the homeless in Allentown, PA while other local organizations have closed.
Medical Supply Donations
The St. Lukes Hospital Network in Pennsylvania is one of many hospitals that is currently receiving donations of medical equipment and accepting homemade masks or the supplies to make them. For the full list of what you can donate and drop-off locations, check out this page. For instructions on how to sew the masks, download this pdf.
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Hospital patients need to be especially protected from viruses and other germs, but they also need prayer, support, and love.
It was a great opportunity for our younger kids to reconnect, our youth to lead and participate in the planning process, and for me to consider fresh approaches to family ministry.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s generosity to each other and to their communities. People have gone above and beyond.”
While Jim King is glad to have some extra room now in his freezer, his purpose is less about food and more to do with community.
“Taking care of these patients is emotional because you are the only person they see in a day,” Moyer said. “We are that person’s only support.”
Do the right thing, no matter what anyone else is doing.
“If the virus didn’t kill them, hunger would kill them. It was important for the church to ask itself how to help and find ways to do it.”
How does one use their gift of hospitality to serve others while practicing social distancing?
Courageously doing the work of trauma healing for ourselves and others requires all of us to do our part so that we do not transmit our unhealed pain and suffering on to others.
We have the opportunity to continue to change and live into our new name which emphasizes the value of each piece, each person, each community, created in the image of God.
Even under normal circumstances, our unsheltered friends and neighbors live precarious lives.
Churches throughout the conference are trying a variety of approaches.
There are so many opportunities that are available right NOW for being Christ-like in a healthy, positive way with a bicycle.
How does our re-opening, re-gathering, or refraining from gathering express our love of God?
Resources, information, articles and updates during the COVID-19 crisis.
Now is not the time for a scarcity mentality but a joyous generosity to give people hope one day at a time.
I changed my mindset from one of fear to one of strength by focusing on healing.
Desde la desesperanza y la angustia nace la esperanza y la solidaridad con otras personas.
This pandemic invites people of faith to hold in tension fear and trust, despair and hope, death and life.
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)