The Spirit of MDS

During the Christmas season, we often look for extra ways to spread the joy and excitement of the season by blessing our family, our friends, co-workers and neighbours. This is also the time that we look around us for the people in our community, towns and cities in order to bring gifts and blessings to those who may pass through this season without. Below is one of the ways that one of our partner organizations found a way to support churches to do just this. Here is a story from MDS…

When the pandemic struck in 2020, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada had to close all its projects due to COVID-19. But across the country, churches faced increased needs as people sought food and other services.

Unable to do its regular responses, MDS Canada decided to provide financial support to congregations struggling to keep up with rising demands. 

“At a time when MDS Canada was unable to operate because of the pandemic, we are so glad we could come alongside churches and help them serve people affected by the virus in different ways,” says Ross Penner, Director of Canadian Operations. 

With the pandemic easing its grip, this year MDS Canada operations returned to near normal conditions. But the needs facing local congregations haven’t gone away. As a result, the MDS Canada Board decided to make the Fund permanent in 2022, offering grants of up to $5,000 to churches to help them serve people in their communities. 

So far this year, 16 grants worth $75,000 have been made. Since 2020, a there have been a total of 164 grants worth over $350,000. 

Manitoba Mennonite Brethren churches that have received grants since 2020 include Fort Garry, River East, Winkler and Living Word Temple. 

“Through the Spirit of MDS Fund we can help churches respond to needs on their doorsteps,” says Penner. “It enables us to extend our ministry through congregations, in the spirit of MDS.” 

To apply for a grant from the Fund, visit