`Best Kept Secret' Marks 40 Years: Anglican Foundation Supports Both Parishes, Students

Article excerpt

Toronto

Tucked away in an upper corner of the church's national office is what its employees call "the Anglican Church of Canada's best kept secret."

But, in fact - perhaps surprisingly - the Anglican Foundation has no corporate relationship with the national church.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the foundation is an entity unto itself. Not part of General Synod, it has both its own corporation and board of directors.

"From the beginning," said Anglican Foundation director Rev. Gordon Baker, "we didn't want to be seen as something in competition with the regular channels of the church. We don't want to be in a position where any part of the church would feel we were cutting in on their work or their efforts at fund-raising, so we go at it fairly low-key."

Canon Baker, who retires this year after serving as foundation director since 1991, said the foundation continues to fund the work it originally set out to help - cutting-edge ministry and parishes, and buildings in northern or outlying areas.

The idea for the foundation came from the church's American cousins. While attending a worldwide Anglican meeting in 1954 in Minneapolis, Reg Soward, one-time chancellor of General Synod, learned of an Episcopal Church corporation which assisted church buildings or projects in the U.S.

Today, the Anglican Foundation parcels out grants to varied ministries, including a chaplaincy in a Prairie university struggling with cult activity, a program in eastern Ontario encouraging teenagers not to drop out of high school and renovations to tiny, rural churches that might not have the high profile of large, urban cathedrals.

For three years, the foundation has also administered General Synod's bursary program for theological students. Last year, it funded 41 bursaries, each between $1,200 and $1,500.

It is sustained by members, each of whom pays anywhere from $50 per year (for an annual membership) to $1,000 annually (for a benefactor's membership) or a one-time gift of $5,000 (for a life membership). …