This past fall, Mennonite Men presented a grant of $40,000 to African Community Church of Lancaster (ACCL) for their new church building in Manheim, Pennsylvania through JoinHands, Mennonite Men's program to provide grants to help new congregations acquire their first church building. After renting space from other churches for several years, the congregation recognized the need for their own space so that they could hold longer worship services, prayer meetings, and have increased space for children and youth activities.
The grant from Mennonite Men enables ACCL, an MC USA congregation in Atlantic Coast Conference, to make necessary improvements to the property and furnish some of the rooms in the church building.
While members of the church are taking precautions due to the pandemic, having their own space allows them to expand not only their congregational ministries, but outreach to the community as well.
The congregation, which is made up mostly of members with roots in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Kenya, Nigerian, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, holds an annual summer event inviting neighbors to share African food with them, and they are exploring ways to do a safe, socially-distanced version of the event this summer. They also hold a yearly conference to evangelize and make disciples, which they are looking forward to hosting at their new building in the future.
2020 was Mennonite Men's biggest year ever for JoinHands, with a total of $170,000 granted to five congregations. Mennonite churches Mennonite Men assisted this year were all ethnic-racial congregations serving African, Chin, Haitian and Hispanic communities of faith.
If your congregation is a Mennonite congregation that is 10 years old or less and is looking to acquire its first building, you can find out more about the JoinHands program at www.mennonitemen.org/joinhands or by contacting Mennonite Men at firstname.lastname@example.org.