Posted June 29, 2009

Memorial fund provides grants to projects in Laos, Waterloo and St. Catharines

Waterloo - Expanding the Mennonite faith was the theme amongst Schlegel grant winners in 2009. A Mennonite Laotian church conference, a Waterloo-based Mennonite publisher, and a St. Catharines Mennonite church plant are the 2009 recipients of “venture capital” grants from the Wilfred Schlegel Memorial Fund.

Lao Mennonite Conference of Canada, a group of 10 Lao Mennonite churches stretching across Canada, will receive $9,000 to explore planting Mennonite churches in Laos. In the 1980’s, a number of Laotians settled in Canada and became acquainted with the Mennonite faith. Doors are now opening for Mennonite churches to be established in Laos. The Schlegel grants committee is excited to help support the costs of an exploratory trip to Laos in 2010.

Mennonite Publishing Network has developed Via, a program to explore what it means to be Mennonite. Designed for those new to the Mennonite faith, MPN will use the $7,000 to product a DVD to accompany the print materials. MPN is based in Waterloo and is the publishing agency for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

$3000 was granted to establish an Art House as part of Quest Christian Community in St. Catharines. Quest plans to use the Art House to engage people in telling and hearing stories. Quest is an ecumenical movement of people who follow Jesus while walking with seekers in our postmodern world.

The Schlegel Fund was established in memory of the late Wilfred Schlegel. Schlegel was a visionary minister and leader in the Western Ontario Mennonite Church conference (now part of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada). The Schlegel Fund supports visionary initiative and leaders of the Mennonite Church who take risks in order to explore new programs. The fund, administered by Mennonite Foundation of Canada, will provide one-time “venture capital” grants of up to $15,000 annually.

Grants are made to support either projects or persons carrying out the projects. Preference is given to new projects that demonstrate vision, are church-based initiatives which impact the broader community, and require risk dollars to start. While applicants must be members of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada constituency, the implementation or location of the project has no geographic, national or church conference boundaries. People interested in applying should submit a three to five page proposal with a description of the proposed activities and an explanation of how their objectives align with the fund’s goals and a budget. Applications should be sent to the chair, Wilfred Schlegel Memorial Fund Administration Committee, c/o Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, 4489 King Street East, Kitchener, ON N2P 2G2 by April 15, 2010.

Donations to the fund will receive a charitable receipt. Cheques can be made out to Mennonite Foundation of Canada, 50 Kent Avenue, Kitchener ON N2G 3R1, designating Wilfred Schlegel Fund on the memo line.

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