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MDS Canada launches new round of Spirit of MDS Fund grants

September 24, 2021

Volunteers from the Abbeydale Christian Fellowship in Calgary. Alberta who helped pack and distribute food purchased with help from the second round of the Spirit of MDS Fund.

After a successful first two rounds of funding, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada is once again offering its Spirit of MDS Fund to Canadian congregations.

Created in response to the pandemic, the Fund provided a total of 81 grants worth $206,900 CDN/$161,500 U.S. in 2020-21 to help congregations and other organizations respond to needs in their communities due to COVID-19.

Now MDS Canada is offering the Fund again, this time making it a regular part of its program.

“When the pandemic hit, we were greatly limited in the ways we could respond due to safety and health concerns and travel restrictions,” said Director of Canadian Operations Ross Penner.

“The Spirit of MDS Fund was a way for us to support congregations working on the frontlines of the pandemic disaster, doing things we couldn’t do in the spirit of MDS.”

When the MDS Canada board saw the success and impact of the Fund during the pandemic, they decided to make it part of the regular program, Penner said.

“There are many other ongoing practical needs churches want to meet in their communities, but maybe they lack funds or expertise,” he said.

“A grant from the Fund could be just the thing they need to get some volunteers together, buy materials or other needed items, and help people in their community.”

Grants of up to $5,000 are available and can be used for construction or renovation projects to repair a home or make it more livable, Penner said.

Other ways grants can be used include providing food or other needed resources for those in crisis, such as from the ongoing pandemic; for neighbourhood ministry projects; or for other creative ideas that fit with MDS Canada’s core values of faith in action and caring relationships.

MDS Canada is also open to providing assistance in leadership or volunteers to churches that want to do repair or construction projects, he said.

As in the past, the new round of funding will focus on Mennonite/Anabaptist churches and organizations, with funding available for other churches and church-related groups on a case-by-case basis.

Priority for funding will be given to applications where volunteers are mobilized to use the grants.

“Our goal at MDS Canada is to partner with local congregations as they seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities,” said Penner.

“They know where the needs are in their communities and how best to meet them. We can be a support to them, and together we can help people recover from disasters both big and small.”

An application for funding for the 2021-22 Spirit of MDS Fund is available on the MDS website or by calling 1-866-261-1274.

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications Manager