The Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund

April 13, 2020

Just as the destitute widow from Zarephath fed Elijah, so we are called to help those who are without other resources during this COVID-19 pandemic. 1 Kings 17:8-24


The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is extending deeply into our life together as the church. In this unprecedented time, the blow to the U.S. economy is having a profound impact on clergy and lay people in the New England Conference.

While government actions are providing assistance to many, there remain gaps; many faithful pastors and people in our pews are unable to benefit from the safety net of governmental action.

The Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund is intended to assist the conference’s most vulnerable congregations in this moment. The Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund is not intended to support congregations that have other sources of assistance.

Through local UMC congregations, the Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund will provide grants to those for whom other sources of assistance are not available.


This fund will prioritize assistance as follows:

  • Supporting compensation to UMC pastors

  • Supporting the congregations that are ministering to the most impacted and vulnerable communities


Applications for urgent assistance from the Fund due to the impact of COVID-19 may be made by a local church pastor, church treasurer, or lay leader via email or letter to their District Superintendent.
Find the application form here

The District Superintendent will review the applications then forward recommended applications to the Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund Review Committee. The committee includes representatives from the Conference, the United Methodist Foundation of New England and the Preachers’ Aid Society.


We are encouraging all of our members to support the most vulnerable among us.  No pastor should have to go without compensation during this time when spiritual leadership is needed most and is facing so many new challenges.

The Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund is designed to help those who are falling through the gaps in our safety net and are without other forms of support. We hope individuals who can will consider donating all or a portion of the direct payment you will receive through the CARES Act.

The Conference – with commitments of $10,000 each from the CFA and the entire Extended Cabinet – has created a matching fund grant of $20,000. An additional $20,000 in matching funds has been pledged by the Foundation and the Preachers’ Aid Society. These funds will in effect double contributions made by generous supporters up to $80,000.

Your support through our UMC connection in Christ will meet the vital needs of clergy and laity in our churches. We hope that you will join us as a tangible and visible presence of hope and witness amid so much uncertainty.
The United Methodist Foundation of New England has agreed to process payments for the Fund; 100 percent of all donations will benefit recipients.

To donate:
  • Give electronically by visiting the Foundation website at 
  • Send a check payable to “UMFNE” with "Emergency Relief Fund" in the memo line to:
16 Route 111, Building 3, Suite 102
Derry, NH  03038
Thank you for your support of our pastors and congregations.