By Eileen R. Kinch
In June 2022, the Mosaic Shalom Fund was closed. The Fund was a mutual aid effort that began early in the pandemic with an initial goal of $50,000 to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities in Mosaic Conference. During its two-year life, the Fund collected $217,945.
Jaye Lindo, the first person to donate to the Shalom Fund, said, “I knew that the only way we would get through this COVID-19 pandemic is for us to do it together.” Some donations to the Fund were larger; others were small, but the Shalom Fund had a big impact.
The Shalom Fund was created after Leadership Ministers listened carefully to the needs of Mosaic congregations. Over the course of two years, over 130 individuals, churches, and businesses contributed to the Shalom Fund; some did so multiple times. Congregations and ministries that received help from the Shalom Fund had to be members, Partners in Ministry, or Conference Related Ministries of Mosaic Conference. They requested funds through a simple application process.
COVID-19 affected everyone in Mosaic Conference, but students faced special challenges since schools closed to in-person instruction. Not all students have an internet connection in their homes, and others had working parents who were unable to stay at home to help them. Crossroads Community Center in Philadelphia (PA) created special learning pods for 35 students to do their schooling online. A grant from the Shalom Fund helped to feed the students and to pay the staff.
Ripple Church in Allentown (PA) saw immediate and increased needs for food in the community. Soup kitchens had shut down in the spring of 2020, so Pastor Charlene Smalls provided meals from the parking lot of the local bus station. “The Shalom Fund was there,” said Smalls, “and we found out what is meant by all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord.” The Shalom Fund provided food, bottled water, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. The Fund also paid for a canopy so that Ripple Church could more safely worship outside.
Mark Wenger, Pastor of Franconia (PA) Mennonite Church, explained that donating to the Fund was an opportunity for him and his wife to “bless others in our Conference family of congregations and pastors.” Mosaic pastors and leaders worked very hard during the pandemic. Many were involved in food distribution efforts, especially among immigrant congregations in South Philadelphia.
The Shalom Fund also had a global reach. Herman Sagastume of Healthy Niños pointed out that the pandemic made life harder for rural communities in Honduras. Children were “attending … school on an empty stomach because the only food they ate was early in the afternoon in order to last the whole day,” he said. “It broke our hearts.” The Shalom Fund provided food for these children and their families. Shalom Fund donations traveled even farther to Peace Proclamation Ministries in India, and eventually to Mennonite World Conference in Indonesia.
The Shalom Fund is a testimony to the love and unity of the body of Christ. Paul writes, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV). Mosaic Conference lived into this reality in both giving and receiving during the pandemic. May we deepen in Christ’s oneness now and in the future.
Watch this short video to get a visual representation of Shalom Fund’s impact:
Eileen Kinch is part of the Mosaic communication team and works with editing and writing. She holds a Master of Divinity degree, with an emphasis in the Ministry of Writing, from Earlham School of Religion.