A fundraising campaign geared towards assisting small churches affected by the COVID pandemic has donated $100,000 to the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S.
A fundraising effort to help small churches impacted by COVID pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns has donated $100,000 to the Church of God in Christ. The Churches Helping Churches fundraising campaign began early during the COVID pandemic in 2020 with the goal of getting larger churches to help smaller congregations and prevent them from closing.
The fundraising campaign benefited recipients in low-income neighborhoods that were disproportionately affected by the economic shutdown brought about by the COVID restrictions, the Religion News Service reported. A total of $3,000 grants were distributed to up to 450 U.S. congregations for a total of $1.4 million. Despite the fundraising campaign had ended, however, the donations still kept coming in during the past year.
COVID Pandemic Support Campaign was Led By Christian Group
The Churches Helping Churches fundraising campaign was led by the AND Campaign, a group whose goal is "to educate and organize Christians for civic and cultural engagement that results in better representation, more just and compassionate policies and a healthier political culture." AND Campaign president Justin Giboney said of the Church of God in Christ donations and fundraising campaign, "Surprisingly, the generosity has not stopped and churches continued to give."
Giboney added that the group feels "overjoyed" to be able to donate $100,000 to Church of God in Christ to help "so many of their smaller churches [that] are still struggling." He cited the "many poor and marginalized communities" who to this day are affected by the COVID pandemic.
Church of God in Christ Leader Calls Donations a 'Lifeline' from God
Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr.,. who serves as the world missions president for the historically Black Pentecostal denomination, confirmed that other Church of God in Christ congregations had received earlier donations from the fundraising campaign but did not expect additional support from the effort. He remarked that Giboney wished they "could have done more" when he visited the bishop's Mississippi church on Sunday for a ceremony that celebrated the new $100,000 donation. The bishop said, "It was definitely a lifeline from God."
Bishop Mathews shared that many churches have indeed felt the effects of the COVID pandemic, including Willow Creek Community Church, which recently announced a 30% staff layoff due to the decline in attendance and tithes. The bishop also cited the rising inflation as another factor that contributes to churches' difficulties today.
But the donations from the fundraising campaign are truly a helping hand for Church of God in Christ congregations and other small churches impacted by the pandemic. Bishop Mathews said that the Open Door Church of God in Christ, in Brooklyn, New York was one of 10 churches that received $10,000 in support, which helped them in "giving groceries to thousands."
The bishop added that many of those who used to donate to the Brooklyn Church of God in Christ congregation are now the ones in need of support. As for his church, Bishop Mathews said he would use the $100,000 to help support its new senior and afterschool youth centers, as well as plans for a Christian school.