Backed by a vast network of alliances, partners and friends, Amity enhances cross-sectoral cooperation among communities, social organizations, churches and church-related institutions, local government, enterprises and academia. After supporting the COVID-19-response in China in phase 1, Amity’s role changed from being a recipient organization to one giving help overseas. For both roles, Amity could count on a lot of financial support from faith-based partners. Besides direct donations, the involvement of church-related institutions and persons was impressive in the following sectors:
- Identifying reliable manufacturers: Local Chinese churches were helpful in identifying reliable manufacturers. They played an important role since outsiders could not enter Hubei and Wuhan. The local churches were very active in receiving anti-COVID gear and material from Amity, ensuring proper documentation and their efficient distribution to hospitals and other institutions. To ensure proper accounting, original receipts were followed up and sent to the Foundation.
- Local pastors not only provided online services or called members in need of counselling and help. Some tried to visit church members who had no access to the internet mainly because of age or remoteness of location.
- Pastors and congregants who were infected often received help from other church members.
- Seminaries got involved with fundraising and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPES) and disinfectants.
- Churches paid attention especially to the needs of nursing homes for the elderly and also served those in their homes by delivering food and grocery items to them.
In the anti-epidemic work, the China Christian Council (CCC) and Amity worked very closely together. In addition to channeling donations to Amity, the CCC twice reported the progress of Amity’s anti-COVID 19 work on its website. More Christians could learn about Amity’s work through these reports and see the church in action in this epidemic. Other religions were also active, and in some areas, the five major religions worked together to fight the epidemic.
Quote from Rev. Linda Shen, Director of Diaconia work in Amity:
“In the countryside, life has been difficult for some of the people left behind because of the epidemic’s impact. Christians have become more concerned about their neighbors’ needs and begun to actively respond. If the church was previously known to “read the bible and pray”, in the course of the fight against the epidemic, the Church’s activism and warm-hearted service have made it clear to more people that the church is sharing love that is unconditional.”