New Supporters Are Society's (Anglican Worship Resources Society) Only Chance: Elderly Donors to Group Have Dwindled

Article excerpt

Toronto

One of the oldest Anglican organizations in Canada is in danger of fading away unless it finds new supporters. The Anglican Worship Resources Society, which provides worship materials for groups and parishes which can not afford them, has seen its base of largely elderly donors dry up and has been drawing on its financial reserves in recent years.

Despite a long history with the Canadian church -- it was founded in 1898 -- the society does not share the high profile of, for instance, the Prayer Book Society, which promotes use of the 1962 Prayer Book. The much older Anglican Worship Resources Society does not differentiate between requests to help buy hymn books, Bibles, the Book of Alternative Services or Book of Common Prayer, even the old 1938 hymnal. All requests are treated equally.

"We're Anglican and we worship," says Rev. Roy Shepherd, a semi-retired priest and chairman of the society's board of directors. "Worship is part of the way we Anglicans develop our spirit. That's part of our psyche and we help that (worship) happen."

Mr. Shepherd paints a picture of a typical applicant: a three- or four-point parish which can't afford a full time priest. The incumbent might travel to each point of the parish with a box full of hymn books because there are nor enough books for each congregation. Such a parish might request a matching grant for 30 to 50 books, the cost of which they agree to pay half. Their portion might range from $450 to $600.

"There are lots of parishes struggling," says Mr. Shepherd.

All applications for grants must have the backing of the applicant's bishop or executive archdeacon so few are turned away. …