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According to Dr. Scott Brubacher, Executive Director of the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC), “There has never been a swifter or more generous response to the establishment of a new fund than the ACW Council of the North Retired Clergy Fund to provide financial support for housing and living expenses to retired non-stipendiary clergy in the Council of the North.” 

As of the end of December, more than $257,000 had been donated, with $250,000 having come from two donors. “The Diocese of New Westminster ACW provided $100,000 this past spring to launch the fund. Other ACWs across Canada then took up the challenge to do their part to support it as well. And then an incredible $150,000 arrived in early December as a memorial gift, from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous,” says Brubacher. 

Brubacher says the speed with which this fund was established and the subsequent momentum to build it up has shown the power and potential of AFC to connect generous people to the philanthropic goals that are important to them. “In 2023 we will continue to work through the granting and disbursement process in partnership with the Council of the North. We expect to receive requests from retired clergy in need of assistance through the Council, and our goal is to begin to disburse funds to beneficiaries this year.” 

It was in December 2020, in the wake of an article published in the Anglican Journal entitled “No Room in the Inn,” when Canadian Anglicans began to learn more about the plight of northern clergy through the homelessness experienced by Rev. Jonas Allooloo, former dean of St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Widespread concern about this systemic issue prompted the Anglican Church Women in the Diocese of New Westminster to act. 

“Non-stipendiary clergy have made the church in the North viable and yet they will not receive a pension from the Anglican Church,” says Gail Revitt, Past President, New Westminster ACW. “They have served all these years and have asked very little of the broader church. Our members felt called to respond to this housing crisis in a meaningful and tangible way.” 

Proceeds from the sale of a property have put the ACW in New Westminster in the unique position of being philanthropic leaders in the church. In 2022, after consultations with Bishop David Lehman—Bishop of Caledonia and Chair of the Council of the North—the women voted unanimously to champion this cause. “We are greatly encouraged by the leadership gifts in support of this new fund, and we looked forward to working with ACW groups and others to strengthen the financial support network for retired clergy in the North,” says Brubacher. 

“The council is very thankful to the Diocese of New Westminster's ACW and the other visionary benefactors who have helped to launch and grow this fund so quickly,” says Bishop Lehman. “The response to date has given so much hope that we may look to a future where those who have served the church are well-served in their retirement.” 

To make a gift to the ACW Council of the North Retired Clergy Fund please contact Michelle Hauser, AFC’s Development & Communications Officer or visit the donate webpage