The Anglican Foundation of Canada is rolling out new initiatives in the coming months, all of them designed to send out a message that is “vibrant and hopeful,” said its executive director, the Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois.
“We have a new look, a new logo and a new tagline—Imagine More—which we hope Anglicans can adopt,” Rois told members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) and co-ordinating committees who gathered here Nov. 14 to 17 for their first meeting of the triennium. “Imagine a new community. Imagine more accessibility. Imagine more outreach. Imagine the future.”
The foundation has adopted a new statement of identity to capture the essence of what it wants to pursue, said Rois. It will seek “to provide abundant resources for innovative ministries, Anglican presence and diverse infrastructure projects across the Canadian church.”
The foundation will encourage support for new projects, particularly in the areas of theological education and youth ministry, said Rois. “We want the youth to dream creatively.”
Established via a motion of General Synod in 1957 to “encourage and support the ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada,” the Anglican Foundation has disbursed more than $28 million in grants and loans to support projects of dioceses, parishes and Canadian Anglicans.
And yet, surveys have shown that Anglicans don’t know that their church has a foundation, said Rois. “We want to change that. We want every Anglican to know about the foundation,” said Rois. “We want parishes to make an annual contribution and include us in their planned giving…so that we can continue to be generous in our support for ministry across the country.”
When it was established, every parish was encouraged to make a $50 annual membership contribution to the foundation, but “lots of Anglicans don’t know about it or remember it,” said Rois, adding that only 17 per cent of parishes do. She urged CoGS and committee members to help by reminding their own parishes.
By next month, the Anglican Foundation will launch a new website, where Anglicans can see what projects within their own dioceses and parishes have received support from the foundation, said Rois.
In 2014, it will introduce new ways of funding projects “for greater impact,” said Rois. The foundation will now provide multi-year funding for ministry projects ($30,000 grants over three years for “creative new ministry initiatives). It will set aside $50,000 each year for ministry-related projects through a “request for proposals” process. And, it will match donors with projects and streamline its grants and loans process.
CoGS members responded enthusiastically to Rois’ presentation.
“If a group in our church had a passion for Fresh Expressions, can I ask for a matching grant from the foundation?” asked the diocesan bishop of Edmonton, Jane Alexander. Rois responded: “Absolutely. I can’t wait to hear from you.”
Don Wilson, from the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia, said he was excited to hear about the new plans. “This is exactly what I’m looking forward to—the revitalization of the Anglican Church of Canada. It’s a church I truly love and I’m not [even] a cradle Anglican.”
Diocese of Yukon Bishop Larry Robertson said the Anglican Foundation has been a “tremendous gift” to dioceses in the north. He noted that every parish in his diocese is now a member, which he noted, “reflects the importance of the work that you do.”
Martha Gardner, The Episcopal Church representative to CoGS, wondered if Anglicans in the pew could see the difference between the work of the foundation and the church’s other ministries, including the Primate’s World Relief Fund and the Anglican Appeal.
Rois acknowledged that “there’s a lot of confusion” about the work, but said steps are being taken to make the distinctions clearer. One difference, she said, is that the Anglican Foundation’s work is strictly Canadian in scope.
The primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz has told CoGS that he intends to devote more time in 2014 to the work of the Anglican Foundation, where he sits as chair of the board.