Richmond Hill, Ont.
Canon Judy Rois, Anglican Foundation executive director, urged General Synod July 12 to be a part of Canadian Anglican efforts “build up the church, to keep it alive, and to be a champion of enthusiastic faith in action throughout our country.”
Investment revenue in 2015 from donations received by the Foundation allowed it to disburse $850,000 to support ministry across Canada, Rois said.
“Everyone here ought to be proud of our Foundation and its generous capacity to support work in Canada,” Rois said, in a lively presentation that was punctuated by a “commercial” about the organization and its work.
The money, she said, supported a wide range of projects, including church building construction, accessibility ramps and elevators, choir schools, seniors’ residences, community gardens, the arts, homework clubs, hospice care, summer camp, Indigenous programs, outreach programs, youth leadership, interfaith dialogue, emergency relief and theological colleges.
The projects supported by the Foundation, Rois said, are an encouraging counterpoint to any less-than-inspiring news Anglicans hear about their church.
“There is so much disheartening and often discouraging news in the church these days: crumbling buildings, declining enrolment, lack of trust in leadership, volunteer burnout,” she said. “But there is another reality, and it’s this: that Anglicans across this country are engaged in some amazing ministry, innovative, creative and resourceful ideas, in our building up the church and in moving it ahead in dynamic, groundbreaking ways-and our Foundation has the capacity to support those things.”
Donations have also gone toward theological education, making it possible “to prepare leaders for the future of the church,” she added.
The Foundation, says executive director Canon Judy Rois, is the Anglican Church of Canada’s “best-kept secret.” Photo: Art Babych
Rois reminded members that it was an act of General Synod that created the Foundation in 1957 to “financially support ministry” in the Anglican Church of Canada.
The understanding was that it would be “a two-way street,” she said. “Everybody in the family has a responsibility to put money in and everybody in the family has the opportunity to take money out.”
In addition to donations from individuals, every parish would donate $50 per year, she added.
Currently, she said, 630 of 1,650 Anglican parishes in Canada, or about 40%, donate yearly to the Foundation.
“We have a ways to go to get it up to 100%,” she said. “I invite you all to check with your church or rector, your wardens, to ensure that your parish is contributing to your Foundation, because when everyone gives, everyone benefits.”
What makes the Foundation unique is that “all the donations make an impact right here in our country,” she added. “We are responsible stewards of donation dollars, we provide tangible and measurable impact. We support innovation, inclusion of all of God’s people…And we are able to inspire and transform people’s lives.”
The Foundation still asks a minimum donation of $50 from parishes, she said.
Rois also said that the Foundation is now in the third year of its request-for-proposals program. This program sees the Foundation make five grants of $10,000 each year for projects on specific themes identified by the church. Last year, the theme was youth leadership development, she said; this year will see grants go to projects related to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.