After receiving Sharing Fund grant money from Everence, Living Hope Church (LHC) in Henderson, Neb., purchased and distributed $4,000 worth of local Chamber Bucks to help people in need.
Karla Block, who serves as the LHC Everence stewardship advocate, says she learned about the opportunity while listening to an online class, “Ministering in times of crisis” in April. Everence is the stewardship agency of Mennonite Church USA and serves individuals, organizations and congregations that share their stewardship values. USMB is among Everence’s partner denominations.
The Everence Sharing Fund helps meet basic needs through matching grants. This year, to help churches assist those with financial needs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Everence doubled the amount of eligible Sharing Fund grant money available to churches with an advocate.
“As Living Hope Church’s advocate, I could see that this could be a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people that would be facing ‘unknowns,’” Block says.
LHC contributed $2,000 and received $2,000 from Everence, using the grant money to purchase $5 Chamber Bucks, which can be used at more than 50 area businesses.
The LHC Care Team, of which Block is team leader, selected 13 families—including some with health needs and others who recently moved to Henderson—to receive the Chamber Bucks, encouraging them to “pay it forward.”
“We encouraged our recipients to use these Bucks as they had needs, but they could also feel free to share these Bucks with others that they saw had needs,” Block says. “We have had many positive responses and tears of joy—probably even more that we don’t know of. Several responses were that these Bucks came at ‘just the right time.’”
At the beginning of the pandemic, LHC transitioned to offering its services on Facebook. Although several small groups met to watch Sunday services, most people worshiped in their homes. The Care Team connected with people through emails, texts, phone calls, cards and Zoom.
LHC has now transitioned back to in-person Sunday services.
“The year 2020 has created a time of certainly relying on Jesus to be our source of hope, and it is our privilege to share this hope with those around us,” Block says.