​Yenny Rangel sews COVID-19 face masks at the Teusaquillo Mennonite Church in Bogotá, Colombia, where she has lived with her family since arriving from Venezuela in 2018. Rangel donates many face masks to people in need and sells others to help support her family. The collaborative relief fund organized by Mennonite World Conference will augment the capacity of local congregations to respond to the needs in their communities. Photo by Linda Shelly.

Mennonite agencies collaborate on COVID-19 response

By Karla Braun, Mennonite World Conference
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A dozen Anabaptist agencies have joined Mennonite World Conference in a global effort that seeks to respond to emerging needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic." This article has been adapted from Mennonite World Conference's original release.

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing pre-existing systemic inequalities that benefit some and disadvantage others. How can the Anabaptist family respond?

Mennonite Mission Network is one of 12 Anabaptist mission and service agencies that accepted the invitation from Mennonite World Conference (MWC) to collaborate on a coordinated financial response to COVID-19 hardships experienced by under-resourced member churches around the world.

Conditions in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America (where 81 percent of MWC members live) are not advantageous to protecting people from the virus. Isolation is difficult in crowded living conditions. Clean water for handwashing may be scarce, while soap and hand sanitizer are expensive or unavailable. Hospitals are not well-supplied with equipment or staff. Informal economies function with difficulty in lockdown. Social safety nets are often inadequate.

Communion for worship, fellowship, service and witness

"When crisis strikes, some of our members are not as well resourced to access agency aid," said César García, MWC general secretary. "We are called to be a communion of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service and witness. By coordinating with Anabaptist agencies, we are fulfilling our mission and ensuring that help is available to all without duplication of efforts."

Mennonite World Conference worked with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to organize similar interagency responses to the ongoing crisis in Kasai, Democratic Republic of Congo, and to severe flooding that affected MWC member churches in Peru.

Global Church Sharing Fund

The MWC Global Church Sharing Fund will receive donations. A task force representing a dozen Anabaptist agencies will determine criteria of accountability and coordinate responses to requests. MCC will lead the task force, including leadership from the Deacons Commission and delegates from around the world.

This interagency response will maximize the strength of diverse organizations, build on existing networks of primary relationships, and mitigate competition for scarce funds.

Requests for assistance funds will come from MWC member churches, associate members, or related organizations. Under oversight from the task force, they will be channeled to an appropriate member agency. 

"Crises are not new," García said. "In the Bible, we learn from Joseph to plan ahead (Genesis 41), from the year of Jubilee that re-organization of oppressive systems is part of faithful living (Leviticus 25:10), from the Jerusalem church that we can risk generosity for the sake of others in need (1 Corinthians 16:1-4), and from 1 Peter 4:7-10 that we should practice hospitality and use our gifts in service of others."

Designate "COVID-19 response" on your gift at www.mwc-cmm.org/donate or https://www.MennoniteMission.net/Donate.

Participating agencies

  • Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
  • Brethren in Christ World Mission (BICWM)
  • CIM – Council of International Anabaptist Ministries
  • EMM – Eastern Mennonite Missions
  • Evangelical Mennonite Conference Missions
  • Mennonite Church Canada
  • Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
  • Mennonite Mission Network
  • Mennonite World Conference (MWC)
  • Multiply (formerly MB Mission)
  • Rosedale International (Conservative Mennonite Conference)
  • Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMMissions)






​Karla Braun serves on the Mennonite World Conference communication team.







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