​In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mennonite Mission Network is striving to make the shifts in ministry needed to extend hope and healing in a hurting world. This photo was taken by a Mission Network staff member during a trip to India in 2008. Photo provided. 

By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Friday, March 20, 2020

NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) In a spirit of care for personnel and their families, Mennonite Mission Network is committed to not expose personnel to undue risks whether international workers, domestic staff, or volunteers.

As a result, the mission agency leaders have implemented new policies regarding how the organization conducts its ministry at home and abroad. Here is the current list of ministry shifts, though the scenario is likely to change quickly without notice. Mission Network will communicate other large shifts as they happen. As of Mar. 20:

  • International workers have not been mandated to evacuate any location but have been counseled that through conversation with local partners they should track the situation and evacuate if necessary or advised.

  • All staff members within the United States have been instructed to work from home, unless there are tasks that absolutely need to be done from offices. They are also instructed to practice physical distancing as recommend by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. All domestic travel has also been canceled for staff until at least June 1. 

  • In addition, several public events, including board meetings, volunteer trainings, and constituent resourcing events like the Sent Conference have been postponed or canceled.

 

Leaders of Mission Network's Christian Service programs have made some large shifts as well:

  • At least one group serving with the DOOR Discover program has left early, and other groups planning DOOR Discover experiences over spring break have been canceled. 

  • On Mar. 17, Service Adventure participants from Germany were mandated by their government to return to Germany as soon as possible. On Mar. 19, the Service Adventure cabinet recommended closing units and encouraged all participants to return home before the end of the month.

     
  • Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) staff members are communicating with local unit leaders and are monitoring situations. At this point, no units have closed, and one participant has chosen to return home. The MVS local leaders' gathering will happen virtually rather than in person.

     
  • Youth Venture has canceled two trips planned for summer 2020. Staff members are communicating with applicants and monitoring situations but have not canceled any of the other planned trips.

 

  • SOOP (Service Opportunities with our Partners) participants have been informed that if their assignment is scheduled between now and June 1, Mission Network recommends that they cancel. Several locations have sent home SOOP participants in current service assignments.  Some participants have chosen to alter their travel plans or end their assignment early.

 

Ken Regier, director of Program Human Resources for Mission Network, said Mar. 19, "It has been a very busy week for Mission Network program staff and Program HR." "I have appreciated the cooperative spirit that I have experienced in every part of our program and HR staff. It has reminded me of the blessing of getting to work with dedicated, caring and passionate people. We are truly blessed!"

 

 

 

 

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https://www.pjsn.org/news/Mennonite-Mission-Network-shifts-how-it-does-ministry-in-response-to-COVID-19-pandemic

​Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor for Mennonite Mission Network.

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