65 church projects in 40 countries in the first phase
(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation has launched a second phase of the communion’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) to continue supporting its member churches that are still dealing with the social, spiritual and economic challenges of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“The generous support of LWF partners and member churches made it possible to fund 65 church projects in the first phase of the Rapid Response Fund,” said Ms Eva Christina Nilsson, director of the LWF Department for Theology, Mission and Justice.
It has been enriching to see the meaningful difference churches made in their communities
“It has been enriching to see the meaningful difference churches made in their communities,” Nilsson added. By mid-October, the first RRF call had raised approximately EUR 560,000 from LWF partners, member churches, private donations and internal reallocations.
The individual country and global impact of the pandemic—over 40.6 million cases including more than 1.1 million deaths with numbers increasing—occurs amid situations of injustices and conflicts in many world regions, Nilsson noted. These uncertainties call for “mutual solidarity with each other” and encouragement “to create hope, share courage and compassion.”
Assisting vulnerable families
Church response to COVID-19 has been varied, according to Marina Dölker, LWF Program Executive for Diakonia and Development who coordinated the first RRF phase. It has mostly included prevention activities such as distributing facemasks, hand-washing soap and hygiene kits, providing food items and supporting small income-generating initiatives. Churches have also established online worship and communication platforms as alternatives to the temporarily suspended in-person contacts and other regular activities with congregation members.
Many of LWF’s member churches continue to assist particularly vulnerable community members including poor families, the elderly, children, students, and indigenous communities among other groups.
Several countries around the world are relaxing the strict lockdown that governments had imposed as people adapt to measures to reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19. However, “the care and recovery phase requires a long-term approach, and this is where the Lutheran communion support is important,” Nilsson added.
The application deadline to the second LWF RRF phase is 15 November. Interested churches are invited to submit their requests via LWF’s online project application platform.
The LWF COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund was launched in April with the goal to support the communion’s member churches that are particularly vulnerable during the global health emergency. During a first application round, churches received a grant of up to EUR 5,000 for their approved projects from the global fund supported by LWF’s member churches and partners around the world. A second RRF phase will ensure that churches continue to reach out to many people and communities who still require urgent assistance.