By Stuart Mann
The diocese’s Our Faith-Our Hope campaign, which has provided millions of dollars to parishes, individuals and organizations, is winding down this year. No more applications for grants are being received.
The campaign, launched in 2010 to “renew, reimagine and revitalize” the Church, raised $32 million and gave out 192 grants, ranging from $1,400 toward the tuition for a professional development course to $418,000 for major renovations to a church building. Parishes could also keep a percentage of the funds they raised.
“It has been a huge benefit to parishes and it has been spread right across the diocese,” says Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development.
There were five categories of grants that parishes and congregations could apply for: adaptive re-use of parish facilities; communicating in a wireless world; enabling parishes to become multi-staffed; leadership development; and pioneering ministry.
In addition to grants for parishes and individuals, the diocese distributed $1.5 million from the campaign’s “Giving to Others” category. Three gifts of $500,000 each were 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.
After the last round of grants were approved in the fall of 2018, the campaign was left with about $1.2 million. Instead of going through another round of grants, the diocese plans to divide the remaining money among the four episcopal areas, to be disbursed according to the aims of the campaign.
“When it was announced in 2018 that funds from the campaign would be exhausted in the next couple of years, many parishes took that to mean imminently,” explains Mr. Misiaszek. “As the result, the last two rounds saw twice as many applicants than usual. If we experienced a similar response again, the allocations committee knew it wouldn’t have the funds available and it would be impossible to determine what project was more important than the other.”
The plan to divide the remaining funds among the four episcopal areas is expected to go to Diocesan Council for approval in the spring.
Mr. Misiaszek praised the work of the campaign’s allocation committee, which recommended to Diocesan Council twice a year which grant applications should be approved. The committee decided to disband late last year.
“The allocations committee did an exemplary job,” he says. “Most of the proposals submitted were honoured. The fact that we’ve been able to reinvest in parishes tells me that people are passionate about their faith and they want to invest in it.”