Mennonite Church USA released a “statement on racial injustice” June 1 in response to events surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The […]
As part of its mission to help people, churches, businesses and organizations integrate their faith and values into their financial decisions, Everence is offering assistance and relief options to help members and customers impacted by the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.
“As people of faith, we are called to live together in community, in service to each other and to God,” says Ken Hochstetler, Everence president and CEO. “This includes caring for the physical and financial health and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors.”
Everence Sharing Funds doubled to help individuals, including pastors, facing lost income
For the remainder of 2020, Everence is doubling the amount of eligible Sharing Fund grant money available to congregations with an Everence stewardship advocate. This change is designed to help churches assist members or community individuals facing serious financial needs due to COVID-19, including pastors who may be losing income due to reduced giving in the midst of the epidemic.
Now in its 41st year, the Everence Sharing Fund helps thousands of families meet basic needs each year through matching grants. In 2019, Everence awarded some $875,000 in Sharing Fund grants, which was in addition to $1.2 million given by congregations, employer groups and Everence chapters.
As in past years, Sharing Funds are accessible as long as the funds are available or until Dec. 10, whichever comes first. Congregations with greater capacity to meet the coronavirus-related financial difficulties within their faith community are encouraged to support other churches by applying for a grant to share their extra funds with another congregation or waiting until later in the year to apply for their additional amount.
Individuals and congregations may also support the Everence Sharing Fund with a fully tax-deductible donation. For more information and for updated eligibility guidelines and applications, visit everence.com/sharing-fund or talk to your Everence stewardship consultant.
Everence Federal Credit Union Skip a Pay program1
Individuals may experience difficulty in making their monthly payments on personal loans and/or vehicle loans. Everence Federal Credit Union is waiving the usual skip-payment fee, and qualified borrowers may skip their March, April or May 2020 personal and/or vehicle loan payment. In addition, minimum required payments for all personal MyNeighbor credit cards will be waived for April 2020. For more information, access Everence Federal Credit Union account information online or call 800-451-5719.
Everence church loan forbearance
Congregations with a church loan through Everence may be eligible for a one-month payment forbearance. To find out if a church qualifies, call 800-451-5719.
Free budget and debt counseling services
Everence offers a budget and debt counseling program, in partnership with LSS Financial Counseling, to help individuals tackle financial concerns such as how to get out of debt and what to know about loans and credit scores and to offer assistance with other money-related issues.
LSS is a consumer credit counseling agency with a 30-year history of providing nonprofit, certified financial counseling. Individuals may access this service toll-free at 877-809-0039 for English-language counselors or 855-292-0131 for Spanish-language counselors. Amish and related faith communities may use this service through mail correspondence, details of which are available through local Everence offices. Additional details are available at everence.com/budget-and-debt-counseling.
Other ways to address financial challenges
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, additional assistance and relief options from Everence may be forthcoming and announced on everence.com.
Individuals and churches may also use this time to consider other ways to address issues of finance and generosity. For example, congregations may experience reduced giving as a result of discontinued in-person worship services, creating additional stress for supporting church ministries and meeting financial obligations. Individuals might consider using electronic bill pay options to generate and send their tithes and offerings, or supporting their church through a donor advised fund.
“We understand this is a difficult time for many in our communities,” says Jim Alvarez, Everence chief financial officer. “Perhaps more than ever, now is the time for each of us to consider the needs of our neighbors and live into the call for Christian charity and mutual aid.”
Madalyn Metzger is vice president of marketing at Everence.
1Terms and conditions may apply; not all members and loan types are eligible. Members may skip either their March, April or May 2020 payments on eligible loans. Interest on loans and credit card finance charges will continue to accrue.
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