Faiths of all denominations have been feeling financial pain since the coronavirus shut down the country back in March. Now, as states begin to ease lockdown restrictions, some churches simply won't be able to reopen.
Pastor Kevin Cropper, of Ark of Safety Christian Church in Philadelphia, said his church's doors will open again thanks in part to a nonprofit called Churches helping Churches.
“The biggest struggle has been looking to maintain all church expenses, along with the food for giving away,” the pastor told Fox News. “Thankfully, Churches helping Churches was able to come through for us and that was a help.”
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Since April, Churches helping Churches has provided over 200 grants to small churches of 150 congregants or less in order for them to survive the pandemic-related restrictions. Former NFL player Benjamin Watson, who is also a spokesperson for the nonprofit, told Fox News that when he heard about this collaboration he knew he had to help.
“The idea was to create a fund to give $3,000 grants to these churches. Today, we've raised about a little over $700,000,” Watson said.
He added that these small churches are mostly minority churches in urban areas. Watson hopes these grants don't just help those in need during the pandemic, but that it starts a bigger movement.
“Not only are we helping churches, but you're sowing seeds for the next," Watson explained. "Whenever we do something kind to somebody else, we are sowing a seed for the next for then to do something kind to someone else.”
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But as grant money diminishes and the coronavirus takes a back seat in the eyes of the American public, the threat of closing is holding steadfast for some churches. However, Pastor Cropper believes that these challenging times are just a test and that his church will be able to make it on faith alone.
“We have to have that type of determination and know that, OK, we make it, we will make it through this thing,” Cropper said. “We may not know how, but just will live by faith and that's how we make it."