By MC USA staff
(Mennonite Church USA) — Iglesia Menonita Hispana (IMH), a racial/ethnic group of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), has launched the Grace Fund. This mutual aid fund will support the denomination’s Hispanic congregations and ministries directly impacted by COVID-19 and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Hanna. In July 2020, the Category 1 hurricane caused catastrophic flooding and widespread property damage in South Texas, home to nine Hispanic MC USA congregations.
“Hispanic churches are not only places of prayer where the gospel is proclaimed, but also resource centers as places of refuge for many immigrants left behind by the system,” said Sandra Montes-Martinez, executive director of IMH. “In many cases, immigrants do not have many options for relief to cope with the crises that affect them.”
In recent months, numerous factors have disproportionately impacted Hispanic communities:
- Hispanic residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected by COVID-19 than their white neighbors and twice as likely to die, according to a New York Times analysis of information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The jobless rate among Hispanics has increased from 4.5% in July 2019 to 12.9% in July 2020, outpacing unemployment rates for white men and women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Economic hardship and compromised access to healthcare and government assistance make immigrant populations especially vulnerable.
- In turn, disadvantaged communities suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change and natural disasters, such as hurricanes, making it harder for them to cope and recover, according the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Grace Fund provides grants that offer needed support to IMH congregational members, church ministries, church facilities and local communities.
“We encourage everyone – individuals, families, congregations, and organizations – to prayerfully consider contributing to the Grace Fund to help our brothers and sisters, as they continue to care for their congregations and community during these difficult times,” said Montes-Martinez. “Your support is vital and a way to extend grace to those who are most vulnerable.”
Congregations interested in applying for financial relief may visit the Grace Fund webpage to download a grant application. Completed applications may be submitted by email to: email@example.com.
Grant applications will be reviewed by Montes-Martinez, Abraham Ulises Arena, moderator of IMH, and Alberto Parchmont, treasurer of IMH.
Donations to the Grace Fund may be made online or by mailing a check to: Mennonite Church USA, 718 N. Main Street, Newton, KS 67114-1703. Designate “IMH Grace Fund” in the memo line.
Iglesia Menonita Hispana provides discipleship, networking and a voice for Hispanic concerns within MC USA. https://www.iglesiamenonitahispanausa.com
MC USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 86 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org