The generosity of Manitoba believers in the face of ongoing COVID-19 difficulties has been a blessing to local churches over the past year.
Several Steinbach churches this year say they were pleasantly surprised by the sustained generosity of their congregants.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic posed no shortage of financial challenges this past year, EEFC Senior Preaching Pastor Kent Martens says the tithes and donations from his churchgoers remained stable in spite of their circumstances.
“That kind of spirit of pre-deciding to give a certain amount has really meant a lot,” he says. “We are very thankful that people see that giving is an important part of their life even in a difficult year.”
“It’s absolutely impressive," agrees Steinbach CMC Pastor Stan Friesen. "For people to continue to give even though they are losing their jobs and such has been very encouraging.”
At St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Council President George Sawatzky admits that many of their usual money-raising functions lacked the usual drive. Still, he says, congregants maintained their giving.
“We’re very grateful and we are very surprised by how steadily the people have been making their donations. With that, in addition to the assistance from the provincial and federal governments, we will probably end up with a small surplus at the end of the year.”
Jason Heide, the youth pastor over at Steinbach Evangelical Mennonite Church, says he too was grateful to see the level of dedication from his church body.
“One of the temptations people could have is to hoard, but I’ve been really impressed by people choosing to make giving back to God a priority in their lives, even with all of the stuff that is going on,” offers Heide. “Their faithfulness in giving is quite admirable.”
“Faith” is the same word used by Senior Pastor Eric Honsberger of Cornerstone Bible Church.
“When things get shaken up, the Lord is working in his people and they are faithful to their responsibilities as Christians,” he states. “Here we see that generosity does not depend on things fundamentally going well.”
All five church leaders say their year has been difficult for plenty of reasons, but the open-handedness of their respective communities was a factor they could rely on. Because of that support, these churches, and many others across the city, are able to start the New Year in a secure financial position.