As the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact our lives in mid-March, CBFNC quickly discerned ways we could provide relevant support to partner congregations and ministry organizations across North Carolina. With the pace of change accelerating to warp speed, it has been difficult to keep up with the needs. However, one of the practical ways CBFNC has offered support to congregations has been through two different grant programs: the new technology grants and the ongoing grant opportunities such as disaster relief and hunger funds.
Over the past month, CBFNC has awarded technology grants of up to $500 to nine different congregations. The primary purpose of the technology grant was to help churches quickly transition to have an online presence so they can continue to gather, now virtually, during this time of physical distancing. For some, the funds have helped to purchase needed equipment to begin streaming worship services online. For others, the grant has helped to purchase subscriptions to online meeting platforms such as Zoom. Regardless of the specific uses, the ultimate goal is to keep congregations connected through this season.
First, Mount Holly was one of the first congregations to receive the technology grant. With the support of CBFNC, combined with church funds, First, Mount Holly was able to purchase a recorder, tripod and rechargeable battery for its camera monitor to produce a “professional” online church service for the congregation and community. Scott Griffin, chair of the church’s Technology Team said, “We have found our service being watched and appreciated far beyond the boundaries of our congregation and community. We anticipate this will draw new people to our church once we can resume our worship together, in-person, in our renovated sanctuary from our 2016 fire!”
In addition to the technology grants, CBFNC has awarded $15,000 to nine partner congregations or organizations through the ongoing Hunger Fund. Because of the novel Coronavirus, many churches and organizations have realized greater hunger needs within their communities. The CBFNC Hunger Fund grants are designed to assist congregations in reaching out to their community during a time of immediate crisis to meet issues of food insecurity.
One of the congregations that received a hunger grant was Temple Baptist of Raleigh. The church partners with the Wake County Urban Ministries to provide food for the Helen Wright Women’s Shelter. In addition, Temple, Raleigh has partnered with Princeton Church of God in Johnston County to distribute lunches to those in need. Just recently, the church also began a new partnership with the women’s shelter at the local Salvation Army to provide lunches for the residents. Added all up, the church provides over 1,700 lunches to those in need on a weekly basis. Mike Parnell, pastor of Temple, Raleigh said, “We are grateful to CBFNC for providing us funding for this vital ministry. Our numbers will continue to increase as more and more feeding programs are forced to shut down due to the coronavirus.”
The Memorial Baptist in Greenville also received a Hunger Fund grant from CBFNC. The grant was used to help purchase food for families the church was already supporting through the Backpack Buddies program at Eastern Elementary School. Church volunteers have been packing and distributing food boxes to 34 households every two weeks since the school has been closed. Associate Pastor Rev. Abbi Mullens commented, “I feel this grant is one more example of the way the universal Church is working together beautifully during this time to provide the needs in our community. We cannot do this work alone, but Christ never expected us to. In all the hardship COVID-19 is presenting, I am so thankful for the blessing of watching the body of Christ work as one for the betterment of humankind.”
CBFNC will continue to provide these grants as long as funding is available. For more information on technology grants, please email Andy Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org). To apply for CBFNC’s Hunger Fund, please complete the application here.