Friends in Christ,
Life has certainly changed in the past few weeks. Change is hard and the uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID-19 makes it even more difficult. We encourage you to uphold the principles our leaders – both in the church and secular spheres – are requesting. Stay home and stay safe.
Our staff are doing the same, working from home and trying to balance family and work while doing so. This does mean some of our services are affected. For example, we continue to be able to make grants via wire transfers or direct deposits in a relatively timely, albeit some what slower, way.
Grants made by cheques will take longer than usual. If you are an organization that normally receives your grants via cheques, we encourage you to send us your banking information by email or voicemail so that we can provide support in a more timely way.
If you are an organization that receives an annual grant, we anticipate sending out these during the usual time frame which is in late April or May. Again, if you normally receive a cheque, please send us your banking information so we can get the grant to you in a more timely way. Grants made this year are based, as usual, on a two-year average of the fund balance. That means in 2020, grants are based on the average balance between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019 of the fund the grant comes from. Any prolonged effect of COVID-19 on the markets and economy will impact the 2021 and 2022 grants.
If you are a donor, we encourage you to do all you can to maintain your support of your congregation. You can make gifts online directly to your congregation via CanadaHelps; simply search for your congregation by name on https://canadahelps.org
If you are a donor and would like to modify your grants for this year given the current emergency, please call or email us to discuss options.
If you are a church leader, United In Learning, The United Church of Canada’s distance learning portal, has a series of upcoming free webinars that may help you in your work: https://www.united-in-learning.com/index.php/webinars/upcoming-webinars and you can find information on the church response here: https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19 .
The United Church of Canada’s Philanthropy team has also created a resource to help you continue to encourage generosity in the face of this pandemic. You can find that resource here: https://www.unitedchurchfoundation.ca/wp-content/uploads/Generosity-in-Unprecedented-Times-Mar28-20-v2.1.pdf
We offer you this prayer by The Right Rev. Richard Bott:
In this time of COVID-19, we pray:
When we aren’t sure, God,
help us be calm;
when information comes
from all sides, correct and not,
help us to discern;
when fear makes it hard to breathe,
and anxiety seems to be the order of the day,
slow us down, God;
help us to reach out with our hearts,
when we can’t touch with our hands;
help us to be socially connected,
when we have to be socially distant;
help us to love as perfectly as we can,
knowing that “perfect love casts out all fear.”
For the doctors, we pray,
for the nurses, we pray,
for the technicians and the janitors and the
aides and the caregivers, we pray,
for the researchers and theorists,
the epidemiologists and investigators,
for those who are sick,
and those who are grieving, we pray,
for all who are affected,
all around the world…
May we feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and house those without homes;
may we walk with those who feel they are alone,
and may we do all that we can to heal
in spite of the epidemic,
in spite of the fear.
Help us, O God,
that we might help each other.
In the love of the Creator,
in the name of the Healer,
in the life of the Holy Spirit that is in all and with all,
May it be so.