Since early 2020, Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have followed a broad, proactive course in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In collaboration with health professionals, missionaries, disaster management coordinators and faith leaders, Global Ministries has sought to alleviate the many forms of human suffering resulting from the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
The creation of the “Sheltering in Love” Advance in April 2020, coupled with other sources of funding, enabled the release of over 340 grants totaling $4.5 million to more than 300 partners in 57 countries. These funds provided educational resources about COVID-19 prevention, ensured food relief to communities affected by job losses, and helped with the purchase of health supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), respirators, hospital equipment and hygiene items. Regionally, Global Ministries and UMCOR have spent $1.5 million in the United States, $1 million in Africa and several hundreds of thousands of dollars in other regions of the world.
Global Ministries staff participated in the development of the declaration on vaccine equity and affirm its call for worldwide distribution and accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine. The “Love Beyond Borders” Advance (#3022671), launched in October 2021, represents Global Ministries’ participation in the interfaith movement to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines. This campaign was inspired by First UMC, Boise, Idaho, and is part of the effort of the international COVAX Alliance to ensure that low and middle-income countries receive their fair amount of vaccines.
The ongoing response to COVID-19 will include support of essential health services throughout the UMC health network and humanitarian aid for communities affected by the burden of COVID-19.
Together, with God’s help and working in partnership, the United Methodist connectional family has and will continue to find ways to break the grip of the coronavirus on our local and global communities.
Read Stories of Impact
When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in South Asia, support made it possible for partners to mobilize, prevent and treat the virus in their local communities.
Seven UMCOR COVID-19 grants from the Sheltering in Love campaign are making a difference through caring Methodist congregations in Brazil. Support in the form of food, rent assistance, masks and protective equipment, and education about the best preventive hygiene are ministries Brazilian Methodists undertake to serve their neighbors.
The Rev. Dr. Leo Garcia, a missionary doctor serving in East Angola, rallied churches, health professionals and volunteers in his community to make COVID-19 prevention resources available to every household.
A few grants and strong connections opened UMC food pantries and kitchens in key underserved areas of New York during the pandemic.
As a federal moratorium that protected an estimated 12 million people from eviction expires, two United Methodist agencies, Restore Hope Ministries in Oklahoma and Good Neighbor Settlement House in Texas, have used UMCOR COVID-19 grants to keep people from being evicted and assist them when they have nowhere else to go but the streets.
Global Ministries’ coronavirus response is reaching those in need internationally and in the U.S. In addition to grants from the Sheltering in Love UMCOR COVID-19 Response Fund, 32 solidarity grants have been dispersed from UMCOR, Global Health and other program units, totaling about $346,000.