06 April 2020
The Methodist Church of Britain has released almost £65,000 in grant aid to support partner Churches and overseas projects that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. The money has been made available from the World Mission Fund, donated by the Methodist people to support mutual partnership with Churches overseas. The emergency, ‘solidarity’ grants are given in response to an urgent crisis and to provide immediate aid for humanitarian or missional purposes overseas.
Church of South India
A solidarity grant of £10,000 is to be given to the Church of South India to assist their response to the crisis. In south India, where severe poverty makes the situation especially dangerous, many are struggling, particularly those with disabilities, casual labourers, the aged, women and children. Packed slums, with a lack of sanitation, means that the virus could quickly take told in communities. Church of South India schools are being used to house the homeless and the Church hospitals are working with the district government authorities to prepare for a pandemic. Church community kitchens are distributing food and essentials and youth groups are preparing hand sanitizers and masks, and spreading awareness among public on safety and sanitization.
Maua Methodist Hospital, Kenya
A grant of £10,000 from the World Mission Fund has been sent to Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya to purchase personal protective equipment to be used in the hospital and by a newly formed rapid response team to treat coronavirus patients in the community. Methodist Mission Partner Dr Claire Smithson is with the Methodist Church in Kenya, and says that, “All non-elective surgeries and non-essential services in the hospital have been closed down and many staff have been sent home. However, medical staff are very vulnerable to infection spread due to lack of essential resources.”
Methodist Church (Upper Myanmar ) Conference
The Methodist Church of Upper Myanmar is to receive a solidarity grant of £10,000. In Myanmar the virus has meant many people are out of work and the price of basic food such as rice has increased significantly. The money will be used to help around 200 families who are being supported by the Church.
Pacific Theological College, Fiji
A grant of £5,200 has been given to the Pacific Theological College in Fiji for corona virus protection measures and to enable learning to continue online. The college is based in Suva, the capital city of Fiji, where many people are ‘in lockdown’. Pacific Theological College a regional, ecumenical theological college offering academic programmes and serving the churches of the Pacific Islands.
Latin America and the Caribbean, CIEMAL
The Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean has been granted £9,225. CIEMAL is an organisation that works on behalf of regional Methodist church partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to encourage unity, solidarity, regional working and collaboration. The Council’s work is threatened as Methodist Churches across the region, whose giving supports CIEMAL, are unable to meet due to coronavirus.
Methodist Christian Community of Venezuela
Venezuela is one of the least prepared nations in the world to deal with coronavirus. A grant of £10,000 has been made available to buy food, hygiene products, medicine and facemasks for the 30 families the church supports who are vulnerable and in desperate need.
Italy – The Methodist Retreat Centre ‘Ecumene’
Many people have died from the coronavirus in Italy, where the Methodist Church has been hit especially hard. The on-going crisis has meant that the Methodist Retreat Centre ‘Ecumene’, just outside Rome, is threatened with closure. A grant of £10,000 has been made to help the centre survive.
Andy Dye, Programme Team Leader in Global Relationships, commented, “Grants from the World Mission Fund are a response from the Methodist Church in Britain to a partner who is facing particularly difficult circumstances or an emergency situation. Although the grants may seem quite small in the global scale of things, they are a rapid response that express solidarity in partnership and can often open the door for our partners to receive other funding from around the world. For us and our partners these grants are an important part of our shared work in God’s mission.”
“As the crisis develops and the infection spreads to some of the world’s poorest communities, we are going to be working with our sister organisation All We Can, the international development and emergency relief organisation of the Methodist Church, to provide further response to the unfolding situation.”