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Joy, relief as historic campaign enters home stretch

Archbishop Colin Johnson hugs his granddaughter at the party celebrating the end of the Our Faith-Our Hope's parish phase. Photos by Michael Hudson

By Stuart Mann

Joy, relief and a sense of accomplishment filled Snell Hall at St. James Cathedral, Toronto, on Sept. 23 as bishops, clergy and lay leaders celebrated the end of the parish phase of the diocese’s Our Faith-Our Hope campaign, the largest fundraising endeavour in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“I’m very, very proud to be an Anglican,” said Archbishop Colin Johnson before announcing that $40 million has been pledged toward the goal of $50 million. “It’s a remarkable amount of money, and it only happened because of your commitment, your faithfulness and your prayers. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you’ve done to make this such a wonderful, successful time. May God bless you and strengthen the life of the church so that we can proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”

With the last four parishes just starting their campaigns, and with large individual donations still being considered, Archbishop Johnson said, “I think we really do have a chance to raise $50 million.”

Dean Douglas Stoute, co-chair of the campaign's leadership team, is joined by Blake C. Goldring and his daughter Serena.

The campaign has lasted 21 months and has involved 210 parishes. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 798 families or individuals have pledged $10,000 or more.
  • Nearly 200 donors gave more than $25,000.
  • 78 parishes met or exceeded their fundraising goal.
  • San Lorezo Ruis, Toronto, raised 316 per cent of its goal, the highest of any parish.
  • Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, pledged $1.06 million, the highest of any parish, followed by St. John, York Mills at $1 million and Christ Church, Deer Park at $846,000.
  • Archbishop Johnson has asked 17 major donors, who have pledged $6.3 million, with another $11 million being considered.
  • Five clergy—the Rev. Canon Stephen Fields, the Rev. Claire Goodrich Dyer, the Rev. Kevin Robertson, the Rev. Victor Li and the Rev. Gary van der Meer—have run two campaigns because they have moved to another parish during the campaign.

Archbishop Johnson said funds from the campaign will be used to strengthen ministry across the diocese. “Not only will the funds allow parishes to invest in some serious capital upgrades, they will allow parishes to dream about new possibilities for ministry that they never thought possible.”

About $3.5 million has already been sent back to the parishes, with more on the way over the next five years as pledges are fulfilled. If the campaign raises $50 million, parishes will receive a total of $17 million.

The Rev. Canon Stephen Fields, incumbent of Holy Trinity, Thornhill, was one of five clergy who have run two parish campaigns.

Parishes will also be able to apply for grants from the remaining funds beginning next spring. Grants will be made for the following areas: leadership development, pioneering ministry, communicating in a digital world, adaptive reuse of parish facilities, and enabling parishes to become multi-staffed.

Ten per cent of the money raised will be given to others beyond the diocese. This includes endowing the office of the Anglican Military Ordinariate to the Canadian Forces and giving money to the Council of the North.

Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development, said it’s important for parish priests to tell their congregations when they’ve received a cheque from the campaign and how it will be spent. “When people see how the money is being put to work, they will fulfil their pledges, which is absolutely essential.”

Bishop Philip Poole, area bishop of York-Credit Valley, thanked Archbishop Johnson for his leadership. “Archbishop Johnson gave us a vision,” he said. “I want to say how deeply grateful we are for his ministry, his leadership and his faithfulness.”

Bishop Patrick Yu, area bishop of York-Scarborough, joins the Rev. Canon Peter Walker and Don Cranston of Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, the parish that raised the most money in the campaign.

Dean Douglas Stoute, chair of the campaign’s leadership team, echoed those words. “I think the campaign has been a tremendous success. It has taken vision, drive and discipline. I’m absolutely delighted at the generosity of people. It’s wonderful and I congratulate the archbishop.”