Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the primate, was scheduled to host a $250-per-plate benefit dinner in Toronto on Oct. 24 entitled Breaking Bread with +Andrew: Dinner and Conversation with the Primate. Proceeds will benefit the primate’s discretionary fund and FaithWorks, the diocese of Toronto’s fund for various social assistance projects.
It is the second such event that Archbishop Hutchison has held and represents a new initiative for the primate’s office. Last year’s dinner, which raised about $60,000, contributed to the Anglican Foundation, the primate’s Internet broadcasts and a new youth co-ordinator at the national office. Proceeds also contributed to the purchase of a car for the bishop of Cuba, meeting costs for the Primate’s Theological Commission, a Christmas dinner for national office staff and renovation of the primate’s office, said Archbishop Hutchison.
This year, the primate wants to continue to focus on youth and also benefit the Anglican Church of Canada’s ministry within the Armed Forces. “Youth will continue to be an emphasis,” he said, noting that last year’s event also aimed to fund a regional and national youth gathering, but it has not yet occurred.
Regarding the Armed Forces, Archbishop Hutchison noted that Anglican chaplains “are under enormous pressure and at risk and they need all the support they can get.” He would like to see some of the dinner proceeds help to fund the office of the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces, currently an unpaid position undertaken by an existing diocesan bishop. The current Bishop Ordinary is Peter Coffin of the diocese of Ottawa. His predecessor was Archbishop Hutchison, while he was diocesan bishop of Montreal, before his election as primate in 2004.
“I’m hoping we can perhaps fund that position half-time, or (the proceeds) may result in an endowment fund,” Archbishop Hutchison added. He said the Queen’s Own Rifles regiment has purchased a table at the dinner. A table of 10 seats costs $2,500.
The dinner committee chair, retired executive Tony van Straubenzee, said that about 300 tickets were sold as of early October. About 380 people attended last year’s dinner. Corporate sponsorship was also strong, he said, with Rogers Corp. coming on board as a new sponsor. Recent church controversies over issues concerning homosexuality have caused grumbling among some potential ticket-buyers, he said. In response, he stressed the church ministries the dinner is meant to support.