Churches, people benefit from Everence assistance program

Six Mennonite churches in Marion County were among the 44 churches that received financial assistance through a grant program offered by Everence Financial.

In 2011, the Everence Sharing Fund program provided more than $68,724 in matching grants to churches in the central Kansas region.

Participating locally were Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren, First Mennonite, Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren, Trinity Mennonite, Alexanderwohl Mennonite of Goessel and Spring Valley Mennonite of Canton.

The grants help members facing financial distress because of lost employment, medical bills or those struggling to pay for basic living expenses. The program also supports other church needs like community aid or service projects.

Pete Flaming, Everence church relations representative in central Kansas, said the grants are part of how Everence and Everence Federal Credit Union fulfill their joint mission and work together to support the financial needs of local congregation members.

?To our members seeking to express their faith in their financial lives, the Sharing Fund is one of the most important ways we work with their congregations,? Flaming said.

The grants are funded primarily by members who own Everence products or use Everence Federal Credit Union banking services. Because of the organization?s unique tax status, money that would be paid in federal taxes instead is distributed through mutual aid, including the Sharing Fund.

Flaming said grant money also comes from other sources, too.

?As a company, Everence tithes on its income by donating to the Sharing Fund, plus many staff contribute generously, and we also receive contributions from others who support the Sharing Fund,? Flaming said. ?These grants are part of our commitment to help our communities thrive.?

In 2011, the Everence Sharing Fund awarded more than $924,000 in matching grants to 2,049 families across the country.

Everence is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and other churches. It offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education.

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