The Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA, gratefully announces the award of an ELCA COVID-19 grant for $7,500.00. As part of an ELCA COVID-19 response, the ELCA Church Council authorized a new fund to receive revenue to directly support ministries of the ELCA, including congregations and ELCA ministries, such as camps. These funds are being awarded to synods as a block grant gift to be shared with ministries most in need and best positioned to help.
We are thankful for the generosity of those who have helped grow the ELCA COVID-19 Fund. As part of the ELCA, we are church together and we are better together. Our call as a synod is to walk alongside congregations as they “Embrace God’s Mission + Equip God’s People.” We know that in the time of this global pandemic our congregations, leaders, and communities are experiencing immense challenges. We are honored to receive this gift and intend to steward it well.
The pandemic is taking a toll on ministries that we all hold dear, including Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Therefore a portion of this grant will be shared with ministries in our territory that are prayerfully mapping a path forward for the coming months: Green Lake Lutheran Ministries – $1,000.00), Shetek Lutheran Ministries ($1,000.00), and Shalom Hill Farm Retreat Center ($500.00). We hope these gifts will serve as a sign of our support for the life-changing ministries of our synod camps and our hope for the future.
We also know there are many communities where the COVID-19 pandemic is having significant economic impact, especially hard-hitting those in communities where meat production and processing are major employers. We recognize that people working in these areas face additional fear, sickness, and economic difficulty. In addition, small businesses like restaurants have been significantly impacted by recent closures. Many of you are finding ways to show our neighbors that people in faith communities see their situation and stand with them.
The remaining $5,000.00 of our grant will be shared through an application process with congregations who are best positioned to assist people in their communities. Congregations may utilize the funds to purchase gift cards to share with people in need, provide for bag lunches and hot meals, and provide monetary support for food pantries. Up to 10% of gifts congregations receive may also be used for gift cards to be given to households for use in, and to support, local restaurants.
The COVID-19 Grants Team includes: Pr. Anthony Christoffels (Endowment Committee), Julie Mischke (Serving in God’s World Board), Pat Branstad (Synod Council), Pr. Steve Rasmussen (Conference Minister), and Pr. Dee Pederson (Director for Evangelical Mission).
With gratitude to God, and with thanks to the ELCA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, we invite congregations to apply for these funds.
Application Deadline is June 15, 2020.