Diocese considers capital campaign

A cross and an open bible.
The primary focus of the capital campaign will be to re-invest in parish ministry, says Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development.
 on January 2, 2024
Michael Hudson

In his Charge to Synod, Bishop Andrew Asbil spoke about the diocese holding a capital campaign, the first since Our Faith-Our Hope nearly 15 years ago. “When I imagine standing on this beach looking into the future, in helping to sustain ministry and to make the kinds of turns and changes that we need to, to help the most vulnerable communities among us and to strengthen the strongest, we need to engage in a capital campaign,” he said. After Synod, Stuart Mann of The Anglican sat down with Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development, to discuss the campaign.

What is the name of the campaign?
It doesn’t have one yet. That would be determined after we’ve done a feasibility study.

How much does the campaign hope to raise?
When we did Our Faith-Our Hope, we raised $43 million, but not every parish participated. Our hope is that this time the case would be so compelling that participation would be a hundred per cent. If that happens, I think a goal of $50 million is realistic.

When will the campaign be held?
We need to do a feasibility study first, which we hope to have completed by the second quarter of 2024. We might see something on the ground, in terms of the actual campaign, by the last quarter of 2024.

Will parishes and individuals be able to give input in shaping the campaign?
The feasibility study will be as broad-based as possible. It will probably take three or four months to do, and there will be three levels to it: personal interviews with key stakeholders in the diocese – lay people and clergy; focus groups; and a questionnaire that lists some of the significant items that were identified in the Cast the Net process and people need to identify as their top priorities. We want to get as much feedback as possible because the more people who provide input, the more likely we’re going to have an outcome that is compelling.

Will the campaign be trial-tested before it’s rolled out?
As we did with Our Faith-Our Hope, the first group of parishes will be the test-case parishes to help us refine the case and determine how we pace ourselves. I imagine a capital campaign of this size will take two years from beginning to end.

Why are we having a campaign?
Cast the Net, the diocese’s strategy process, identified a number of important areas in the diocese that need shoring up and support – and that requires financing. One of the huge benefits of Our Faith-Our Hope was that it provided important resources to parishes at a very critical time, to support their capital projects and ministry needs. We did Our Faith-Our Hope nearly 15 years ago, and the timing seems right to do it again.

How will the money be spent?
Bishop Asbil wants the campaign to be hugely complimentary to parishes. The costs of the campaign will be covered by the diocese, as we did with Our Faith-Our Hope, but the sharing arrangement will be more generous this time around in support of parishes because we want the primary focus to be on reinvesting in parish ministry and parish programs. We expect that most of the funds raised will stay in the parishes. But we want to provide the impetus so this can happen right across the whole diocese.

Will all parishes be asked to take part?
Yes, we’re going to ask all 192 parishes in the diocese to make a good faith effort to participate in the campaign.

Map of the diocese, home to 192 parishes.

Can a parish opt out of the campaign?
We want the case to be so compelling and the potential return on investments for parishes to be so encouraging that it makes no sense for a parish to opt out. The sharing arrangement is going to be so favourable to parishes, and the cost in terms of what they have to invest so minimal, they will have everything to gain from it.

Why doesn’t the diocese just sell surplus property to raise the money?
Much of our property is held for strategic purposes, and we envision it could be used for short- or long-term housing or a ministry need in the future. There is strategic value to holding on to those resources. After all, our purpose is to be a church where worship and ministry are the priorities, and we need those facilities to enable us to fulfil our mission.

If my parish did a capital campaign last year, would we be expected to do another one?
We would ensure that your parish would be one of the last parishes in the last phase of the campaign. It may be a question of going back to some of the donors and asking them to extend their givings for another year or two.

Who will conduct the campaign?
We haven’t determined that. What we learned from Our Faith-Our Hope was that as good as the return was, we need a firm that understands Anglican culture and our diocese and will work closely with us and ensure that the approach is not a one-size-fits-all. We want to be sensitive to different expressions of church in the diocese, whether it be rural or urban. Those things matter when we consider how we’re going to conduct a campaign.

Will parishes get help to do a campaign?
Yes, a professional campaign manager will be deployed to work with your parish – to help identify and raise up volunteers and to conduct the campaign over a 12- to 14-week period, with the hope of achieving a goal that is proportionate to your parish’s offertory. When we did Our Faith-Our Hope, the parish goal was determined as a percentage of the average of the last three years of parish offertory, and we will use a similar calculation this time around to determine what an appropriate goal is for each parish.

Can my parish do whatever it wants with the money that we get back?
Each parish will be asked to draft its own case for support that would compliment the diocese’s case for support, and you might even want to use the same categories. It’s important for parishes to ensure that whatever funds they raise go towards the items that they identified as being top of mind in their case for support.

Do you think the campaign will be successful?
Absolutely. I think it’s reasonable to assume that our diocese can raise $50 million, with the majority of those funds being retained by parishes for their own ministry needs, and additional funds being utilized by the diocese for strategic purposes – some of it invested in parishes, others retained in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation for long-term ministry needs. Before Our Faith-Our Hope, Anglicans participated in Faith in Action and Anglicans in Mission, and in both cases they demonstrated incredible generosity, supporting local, diocesan and national initiatives. This is a once in a generation initiative, and we think the time is right to do it. I have no doubt that it will inspire generosity, encourage and promote volunteer leadership and help our congregations feel proud of the ministry that they’re doing and supporting in their communities.


Keep on reading

Skip to content