Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, is inaugurating a fundraising dinner in Toronto aimed at major donors that he hopes will support such special projects as an Anglican youth network, his Internet broadcasts and a conference on urban ministry.
Scheduled for Oct. 25, the $250-per-plate dinner is also intended to support the primate’s discretionary fund, a cash reserve that the church’s national leader can use as he sees fit.
“In various dioceses, bishops do this all the time,” Archbishop Hutchison said in an interview. For example, the diocese of Toronto raises about $100,000 each year at its Bishop’s Company dinner to support Bishop Colin Johnson’s discretionary fund, according to Peter Misiaszek, director of stewardship for the diocese. The fund supports emergency needs of clergy and their families and special projects.
Called Breaking Bread With +Andrew: Dinner and Conversation With The Primate, the October event has a maximum of 50 tables for sale at $2,500 each and as of the beginning of September, 33 had been sold for a gross amount of $82,500 before expenses. In addition, The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal have each purchased $5,000 corporate sponsorships, according to dinner chair Tony van Straubenzee, who is a son-in-law of the late primate Archbishop Howard Clark and former managing director of an executive search firm. However, the $10,000 level of corporate sponsorship was not yet subscribed.
The first $10,000 raised by the dinner will support Archbishop Hutchison’s information broadcasts over the Internet. Since he took office in June 2004, his desire to reach out directly to Anglicans nationwide led him to initiate “Web casts” on various current church issues.
“We’ve done 10 or 12 of them and the Anglican Foundation came up with $10,000 to seed the first ones. I’ve got this passion for communications but no money for it,” he said. Another beneficiary of the dinner, a proposed Anglican youth network, is currently an e-mail list, but the national office’s Web manager, Brian Bukowski, is developing the Web technology for an expanded network, Archbishop Hutchison said. “We don’t have the financial resources for that, either,” he said. Financing for a conference on city ministry is also being contemplated.
According to the 2005 budget, the primate’s discretionary fund is $5,500 and the entertainment account is $2,000.
Archbishop Hutchison said he agreed to cut the $7,500 as a contribution to General Synod’s budget cuts and the dinner could replace that fund.
Archbishop Hutchison has also accepted an honourary membership at The York Club, a private Toronto club where business and social leaders meet.
“It’s important to be in touch with decision-makers whose decisions affect the lives of other people,” he said, adding that “there have been times that the church had two different attitudes toward people who are prosperous. We either ingratiated ourselves or despised them. Neither is an effective ministry.”
The honourary membership was obtained by Toronto friends of the primate, who noted that the club also extended the same type of membership to Bishop Johnson, retired Archbishop Terence Finlay of Toronto and Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic of the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican General Synod does not bear any expense of Archbishop Hutchison’s membership.
Sources said the York Club’s initiation fee is in the range of $15,000 to $20,000, with annual dues of about $2,500. The York Club declined to confirm the figures.
When he was diocesan bishop of Montreal, before being elected primate last year, Archbishop Hutchison held an honourary membership in the St. James Club.
However, the acceptance of a private club membership represents a departure from the thinking of previous primates. Archbishop Edward (Ted) Scott, who was primate from 1971 to 1986, refused to join private clubs, preferring to focus on social justice issues.
But Archbishop Hutchison sees no conflict. “Ted made an enormous point of that. But anyone who saw me at the (native Anglican) Sacred Circle (meeting in August) knows I don’t shut out any corner of society. God’s love is for all,” he commented.
Mr. van Straubenzee said access to business leaders is important. “He should belong to these clubs. They are part of the world of commerce. It’s important for (Royal Bank of Canada president) Gord Nixon to talk to Andrew. The first night (Archbishop Hutchison) attended a function, he spoke to every person in that room. He is a great communicator,” he said.