Throughout 2020 and 2021, when the effects of COVID were hitting the US and exposing glaring inequality across the country, many churches were stepping in to meet needs in their communities.
Centro de Albanza, a small Latino congregation of Mosaic Mennonite Conference, offered its facilities in South Philadelphia to meet the new needs of their community. The congregation, along with several local agencies using their space, provided Covid tests and assisted with ID card registration. They also provided space and supervision for kids taking virtual classes whose parents needed to work and didn't feel comfortable leaving their kids at home alone.
The congregation received a grant from Mennonite Men's JoinHands program in 2020 to help renovate the 160-year old building. The grant helped replace a leaky roof, install more efficient windows, and generally allowed the congregation to continue offering their building as a place of ministry and outreach for the community.
"Its definitely our priority is to share the Gospel and have activities related with discipleship," said pastor Fernando Loyola. "We have two other churches that share the building, one is Indonesian and the other is Burmese."
Together the three congregations continue to serve their community and make the word of God known in South Philadelphia. To learn more about assisting congregations in purchasing or renovating their first church building, visit mennonitemen.org/joinhands.