The United Church of Canada will loan congregations up to $10,000 as part of a new emergency support program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans are intended to be a top-up to communities of faith that have already accessed emergency government funding, or for those who aren’t eligible.
“In a fast-evolving environment, we are trying to help our congregations and other ministries remain financially solvent,” Erik Mathiesen, chief financial officer for The United Church of Canada, told Broadview in an email. “And provide breathing room to make difficult decisions while the duration of this pandemic is unknown.”
Churches won’t have to pay interest on the loans if they are repaid in full by Sept. 30, 2021, and if the full $10,000 is repaid within that interest-free period, $500 of the loan will be forgiven.
The money for the program comes from a $3-million grant from The United Church of Canada Foundation, made up of bequests from church members over the years.
Churches can apply through an online portal. Once submitted, a church’s eligibility will be determined by its regional council.
The United Church of Canada has also been providing weekly webinars for church treasurers to help them negotiate the subsidy and grant programs provided by the federal government to keep businesses afloat throughout the pandemic. This emergency loan program will help churches bridge the gaps in funding and donations.
“Throughout the closure period, we are trying to keep our ministries going where feasible and hopefully minimize layoffs,” Mathiesen wrote.
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