By Matt Gardner
The AFC agreed to be the meeting of General Synod 2019’s Visionary Sponsor. The generous donation of $25,000 will help fund the gathering of the church’s national decision-making body. As the Visionary Sponsor, the AFC will be recognized by Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz at the opening and closing receptions, and the executive director will have the opportunity to address and welcome the delegates, in addition to a double-width display space for the foundation and prominent placement of its name and logo on official print and electronic materials.
For AFC executive director the Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois, the visionary sponsorship is an opportunity for the Anglican Foundation to share its mission and accomplishments with Anglicans from across the country—many of whom may be unfamiliar with the AFC or its work.
“Vision is a word that we use a lot at the foundation … We often talk about standing on the balcony and looking out over the church to see what’s happening,” Rois said. “Then we look at where the needs are, and then try and envision what’s possible.”
Established in 1957, the Anglican Foundation from its inception has played a vital role in supporting the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada, providing more than $34 million in grants and loans across the country.
Over the past eight years, it has come close to doubling its grant disbursements per year. In 2019, it hopes to raise its disbursements for the year to $1 million.
“We want to enhance our donor base,” Rois said. “Therefore we’re looking for Anglican individuals, parishes, and dioceses to see that the Anglican Foundation is a vital partner in ministry, and that it’s with regular donations from everyone that it will have the capacity to finance small to large projects and programs across the country. We want people to know that it’s a really worthwhile place to invest donation dollars.”
Funding diverse projects
Where the foundation was known early on for helping fund church infrastructure, it has since expanded its investments into supporting ministry as well as other initiatives.
A major focus at the moment is the Kids Helping Kids Fund, which helps fund programs such as helping kids with homework, caring for terminally ill children, providing nutritious breakfasts for children who might otherwise go to school hungry, and trips to summer camp or choir school.
Board member and finance committee chair Mr. Rob Dickson noted that the foundation has “been known particularly in smaller parishes throughout the church in Canada as a supporter of infrastructure, and it still is that … helping provide indoor plumbing and indoor water for parishes”, as well as helping smaller parishes with accessibility and physical structure issues such as rebuilding church halls.
The variety of programs that the Anglican Foundation supports is broad. Among its current projects are funding liturgies for congregations with specific issues, such as experience with trauma; helping new Canadians learn English and acquire work skills; supporting research into issues such as medically assisted dying; facilitating conversations on human trafficking and racism; supporting earth and environmental camps for kids; and helping revitalize Indigenous languages through initiatives such as translating the Bible into Cree.
A ministry of the whole church
Archbishop Hiltz said the visionary sponsorship of General Synod 2019 reflected a relationship between the Anglican Foundation and the wider church that is at an “all-time high”. He praised the leadership of Rois as a major factor in that success.
“The Anglican Foundation is an amazing ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada,” the Primate said. “It’s a ministry that’s in a sense owned by the church all across Canada, because the members of the foundation are individuals, parishes, bishops, dioceses, cathedrals. There’s not a part of this country, part of our church, where people have not benefitted from the Anglican Foundation.
“The beauty of it is it’s Anglicans helping Anglicans to be the kind of church God is calling us to be—well-connected with our communities, being about ministries that are new and creative, excellence in the arts and music, passion for reconciliation work, caring for children, interfaith work … The fact that the Anglican Foundation has chosen to be a visionary sponsor of the General Synod in its own way is going to highlight the relationship of the foundation with the church across the whole country.”
Correction: The original version of this article included incorrect figures for Anglican Foundation grants to the church. The text has been corrected to accurately reflect the total amount of grants and loans provided by the foundation, as well as to clarify its planned disbursements for 2019.
Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, January 22, 2019