Program helps Glenwood, Iowa church keep preaching

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 4:32 PM CDT
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A church in Glenwood, Iowa is able to keep their employees working with the help of a loan that many small businesses across the country are hoping to get.

The paycheck protection program is a loan designed to help small businesses keep their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis.

Nonprofits are also eligible to apply for the loan and in Glenwood that loan allows the Grace United Methodist Church to continue to operate with full and part-time employees.

The paycheck protection program allows church employees to earn a paycheck while continuing to serve the community.

Now when Pastor Kimberly Bowles gives the sermon at Grace United Methodist Church, she’s preaching to a camera and reaching out to her congregation over the internet.

Monica Mayberry, director of discipleship at the church said, “One of the first weekends Pastor Kimberly was preaching she said, ‘Boy, it’s hard looking out there and seeing all these empty pews.’”

The church put stuffed animals and pictures of parishioners in the pews to give the pastor something to focus on while giving her sermon.

The church is in the people business and right now those people can't come together to worship -- and that could eventually hurt weekly donations.

“If our congregation is unable to attend and unable to donate because that’s what we run off of is the tithe. If that were to start to fall, then, of course, the payroll which is one of our biggest expenses really, that would become a problem,” Mayberry said.

Church members are hoping funds from the Paycheck Protection Program will keep staff paid and working.

Mayberry is a part-time church employee. One of her duties is to help with the food pantry.

“We’re still able to run the food pantry that’s housed in our church. It’s the Mills County Ministerial Association pantry and that happens once a week. So we’re able to supplement households with food,” she said.

There are about a half dozen employees at Grace United Methodist Church, and every day they make sure the church continues to be a big part of the Glenwood Community.

“Somebody gets tired of volunteering and they stop and then that ball drops and that’s just not what we want to have happen,” Mayberry said. “By having a paid staff it ensures that we’re able to continue our mission and reach out to our neighbors, and whatever that might look like going forward.”

The Paycheck Protection Program loan does not have to be paid back if the employer keeps or rehires workers and maintains their salary levels.