To celebrate the 25th anniversary of FaithWorks, every parish in the diocese is being encouraged to take part in this year’s campaign.
The diocese’s annual outreach appeal, which has raised more than $35 million since it began in 1996, provides funds to local ministries and agencies that help the poor and vulnerable in Canada and around the world.
The “100 + 1% Challenge,” which was approved by Diocesan Council in February, encourages every parish to take part in the campaign and to set a fundraising goal that exceeds their 2020 result by at least one per cent of their overall offertory amount.
“Imagine what can happen if every parish participates and every Anglican gives just one per cent more,” wrote Bishop Andrew Asbil in a letter to the diocese in July. “Imagine the difference we can make in the lives of ordinary people who are in deep need, especially emerging from pandemic. Imagine how our simple offering lifts our neighbour and helps us all to live, move and dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
FaithWorks is founded on the teachings, example and commandments of Jesus Christ. It draws its inspiration from Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” It focuses on four areas:
- caring for people who are homeless and ex-prisoners;
- supporting newcomers and refugees;
- meeting the needs of at-risk women, children and youth;
- reaching out to Indigenous peoples and those who are HIV-AIDS impacted.
This year’s campaign builds on the success of last year’s effort. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Anglicans and corporate donors gave $1.6 million in 2020, the second highest amount in the appeal’s history.
Eighty-five per cent of parishes in the diocese participated last year, and Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development, hopes that number will jump to 100 per cent for this year’s campaign, which has a goal of $1.5 million.
“We’re celebrating something really special – the 25th anniversary of FaithWorks – so let’s get the whole family on board,” he says.
Like last year’s campaign, there will be a $100,000 “challenge grant,” in which donations are matched, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.
One of the churches participating in this year’s campaign is St. Paul, Bloor Street. “There’s a real hunger for outreach here, to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the city,” says Bishop Jenny Andison, rector of St. Paul’s. “We haven’t used FaithWorks for that in the past, but this year we have decided to.”
The church is directing its FaithWorks donations to All Saints Church-Community Centre, a diocesan ministry in downtown Toronto that ministers to some of the city’s most marginalized people.
Bishop Andison encourages other churches that haven’t taken part in the campaign before to join in this year. “Consider giving to FaithWorks because we’re a family, and if we do it together we can have a real impact.”
She adds, “We’re emerging from a pandemic, and if there was ever a time to give in gratitude, this is the year.”