Making dreams a reality

Published October 1, 2011

Hope springs eternal
Canon Judy Rois is encouraging more Anglicans to make a difference.
Photo: Marites N. Sison

Go forth and spread the word.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois received this mandate from the Anglican Foundation’s board of directors when she was appointed executive director of the organization last January.

Established in 1957 by a group of Canadian Anglicans who wanted to help churches outside their own parishes, the foundation has had “an important but quiet past,” and its board wanted to raise its profile, said Canon Rois. “A lot of people, if they’ve heard of the Anglican Foundation, don’t know much about it.”

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, board chair and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, noted that Canon Rois’ extensive experience in strategic planning will make it possible for her to transform “dreams into action plans.” In a letter announcing Canon Rois’ appointment, Archbishop Hiltz wrote, “She is absolutely committed to communicating our vision.”

Canon Rois served as a parish priest for 26 years (the last six of them as rector of Christ Church Deer Park in Toronto) and has been a member of numerous national church and diocesan committees. She was ordained in 1985. In the 1990s, a foundation scholarship made it possible for her to attend Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where she completed a Master of Theology degree. Now, Canon Rois teaches homiletics (the art of preaching) at Trinity College, where several of her students are also scholars of the foundation.

Canon Rois said people are “delighted and surprised” when they learn how the foundation has touched the lives of Anglicans across Canada. To date, the foundation has dispersed $26 million in loans and/or grants for parish building projects, new ministries, theological education and creative arts relating to worship, music and liturgy, among others.

A foundation membership means “you’re joining a winning team,” she says. “When you donate, you make a difference. If you’re an applicant, it can make big difference in your life.”

Canon Rois and her team are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and email updates to get the message out about a series of new ideas that are bringing new life to the foundation’s ministry. Here are some of them:

Toonie Membership/Kids Helping Kids in Canada
It used to be that an annual membership to the foundation, for an individual or a parish, would set you back $50. Today, children and youth up to age 24 can join for a toonie. One hundred per cent of this membership fee goes directly to a new trust fund called Kids Helping Kids in Canada. The fund will provide grants for Sunday school materials, a ramp for children in wheelchairs, choir camp and assistance for children with cancer.

So far, 150 young Anglicans from three parishes-Christ Church Deer Park in Toronto, St. Hilary’s in Mississauga, Ont. and St. Luke’s in Saint John, N.B.-have joined, raising $2,000. The goal is $10,000.

Foundation of Hope Bear
Anyone making a $20 donation to the Kids Helping Kids in Canada trust fund gets to adopt Hope Bear. He’s cuddly and wears a Bible verse: “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace.” About 100 Hope Bears have found new homes since July.

The plush bear has his own book coming out, The Happy Adventures of Hope Bear. Written with the help of Canon Rois and illustrated by Carol Knowlton-Dority, a Toronto-based artist, the book will be available at the end of October.

In the book, Hope Bear shares his journey to places such as The Sorrento Centre Farm in Sorrento, B.C. It’s a working vegetable and fruit farm where Hope Bear learns about healthy food, sustainable agriculture and stewardship of the environment. He also travels to Anglican churches in the Arctic to see how foundation grants are helping support ministry there.

Environment and Protecting the Planet Trust Fund
The foundation has created a trust fund that will help parishes go green through measures such as energy audits and energy-efficient worship spaces.

The trust fund also helps through awareness-raising events. Last June, the foundation co-sponsored “Climate Change & Protecting the Environment,” a roundtable discussion in Toronto that looked at how people of faith can care and advocate for the environment.

For more information about the Anglican Foundation and its programs, call (416) 924-9199, ext. 322, or send an email to [email protected].


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