What Does it Mean to Give Faithfully in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Polarized America?: A Case Study of Liberal Mennonites


This presentation aims to examine the ways in which American liberal Mennonites collectively and individually allocate their financial resources to reflect their faith. Based on their religious interpretation, Mennonite congregations have encouraged their members to offer funds for peace promotion and support for the poor and socially disadvantaged. However, it is sometimes challenging to figure out the best way to do so with their limited resources. Recent situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and economic and political polarizations, created diverse occasions to reflect on how they could demonstrate their religious commitments through their offerings. Based on interviews and observations between 2020 and 2022, this study discusses how Mennonite congregations and their members individually and collectively deal with the many, and sometimes competing, needs and desires to give. With uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, congregations initially provided emergency assistance to those who were in need. Additionally, many congregants extended their contributions to aid such efforts. As the situation gradually returned to the pre- pandemic period, congregations began working to reinforce their religious communities and adjust the new spending priorities. While several members were willing to support such initiatives, their offering practices were not necessarily easily adjusted. Incorporating recent studies on religious giving, this presentation suggests that religious giving can provide an important window through which we can explore how believers imagine and reimagine their faith communities.

Author Information
Tomomi Naka, Tottori University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2023
Stream: Interdisciplinary - Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies

This paper is part of the ACERP2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Naka T. (2023) What Does it Mean to Give Faithfully in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Polarized America?: A Case Study of Liberal Mennonites ISSN: 2187-476X – The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy 2023 Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2187-476X.2023.3
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2187-476X.2023.3

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon