Seven years after it first launched, the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign is beginning to wind down. The last chance for parishes and individuals to apply for grants will be September 2021.
The diocesan fundraising campaign launched in 2010 with the goal of providing financial resources to renew, reimagine and revitalize the Church of tomorrow. Donors pledged about $41 million for mission and ministry both inside and outside the diocese. The first grant allocations were made in 2013, and since then, more than $9 million has been given to parishes and individuals across the diocese, in addition to the portion kept by parishes.
“I think it’s been very successful,” says Canon Paul Baston, chair of the allocations committee, which meets twice a year to review applications and approve grants. “The intent was from the beginning to reimagine church, to develop a new approach and find a way to continue the ministry and make it more attractive.”
There are five categories of grants that parishes and congregations can apply for: adaptive re-use of parish facilities; communicating in a wireless world; enabling parishes to become multi-staffed; leadership development; and pioneering ministry. Grant amounts have ranged from $1,400 toward the tuition for a professional development course to $418,000 for major renovations to a church building.
Canon Baston says he thinks the focus on these categories will have a lasting effect across the diocese. “Things like accessibility are improved – elevators and that sort of thing – and communications, definitely,” he says. “I think there’s more awareness of the use of communication within the worship service, but also beyond that, among people that aren’t attending church and among the parishes themselves.”
In addition to grants for parishes and individuals, the diocese has distributed $1.5 million so far from the campaign’s “Giving to Others” category. Three gifts of $500,000 each have been given to the Anglican Military Ordinariate to fund the office of the Bishop Ordinariate in perpetuity; to the Council of the North to support regional gatherings of clergy and lay leaders; and to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund to improve maternal, newborn and child health in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada.
Though the end of the grants is in sight, there is about $5 million still available to be allocated. “I think all of the different sections have a lot of potential,” says Canon Baston. “I would encourage parishes to continue applying and looking at the guidelines to see if they fit.” Grants are awarded twice a year, in the spring and fall. Each category has its own application guidelines and forms, and all applications need the support of the church’s area bishop. The next deadline is April 15. Applications will be assessed by the allocations committee in early May, and its recommendations will be forwarded to Diocesan Council for final approval.
Canon Baston says he is looking forward to continuing his work with the allocations committee. “It’s been, for the whole committee I think, a wonderful experience to be involved with and have the opportunity to make some recommendations about where the money might go,” he says. “It’s been a lot of good, hard work by the talented and committed members of the committee. It’s been a delight to work with them.”
To learn more about the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign and how to apply for grants, visit www.toronto.anglican.ca/ourfaithourhope.