PWRDF Unit chair Peter Goodwin and national board member Denise Hambidge at a display at the PWRDF’s annual meeting in Orillia

Mining disasters have made the news lately, and in 1958 it was a mining disaster that led to the establishment of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for development, relief, refugees, and justice.

Some 167 coal miners died underground after an explosion at Springhill, Nova Scotia. The tragedy called for assistance for the miners’ families, and the Anglican Church realized the need for an agency to provide help quickly. The next year the Primate’s Fund was formally established by General Synod.

Emergency relief continues on, primarily through Action for Churches Together (ACT), an ecumenical relief agency. But the Primate’s Fund has branched out into other areas during its 47 years.

Denise Hambidge of All Saints, Ladner, a national board member of the Primate’s Fund, and I, the new chair of the diocesan PWRDF unit, attended the Primate’s Fund’s annual meeting in Orillia, Ontario in November. We learned that a partnership model is at the core of our relationship with many partners and programs.

Currently a primary focus of the Primate’s Fund remains “The Partnership for Life for a Generation without AIDS” initiative, launched in 2003. A new undertaking of the initiative is the selling of red bracelets and “Hearts for Life” beaded pins with money going to support AIDS related projects in Canada and worldwide. The pins are hand- made by women in Etwatwa, South Africa.

The goal of the HIV/AIDS initiative is to raise $1 million nationwide to support programs aimed at combating the epidemic worldwide. To date just over half of that amount has come in.

The Primate’s Fund is a member of KAIROS, an ecumenical partnership working to promote human rights, justice and peace, viable human development, and ecological justice (

In October 2005 through KAIROS we launched the “Enough for All” initiative that focuses on the sacredness and just use of the world’s water supply. Areas for concern and advocacy include providing access to clean sources of water, establishing rights for access to water, opposing water being turned into a private commodity, strengthening communities to ensure local water solutions, and supporting them in protection of the environment.

In Ottawa in October, the Primate and other Canadian church leaders launched the campaign “Water : Life Before Profit.” They proclaimed the urgent need for the preservation of the world’s water supply and issues related to access, distribution, and quality. You may hear more about this on World Water Day, March 22.

There are many other PWRDF initiatives and programs. A great deal of information may be found on the new PWRDF website ( The website is user friendly. People may subscribe to monthly email updates on the work of the Primate’s Fund. A variety of materials, including worship resources, has been prepared by the PWRDF national office.

The Diocesan Unit and our many parish representatives plan many events throughout the year. We last met in January at St. Timothy’s in Burnaby, and Beth Baskin, the Primate’s Fund new national public engagement coordinator, spoke. Beth once attended the Church of the Epiphany in Surrey. She came to the Primate’s Fund after working 12 years with the United Church in Toronto.

Our Unit would welcome new participants. Anyone interested may contact me at 604 929-6143, or by email at