It should be noted that members of this Diocese are generous, especially to good causes like the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. Last year, contributions to PWRDF from the Diocese of New Westminster totalled over $391,000. This was more than any other diocese, including Toronto, which is a diocese about three times as large as us.
The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund this year is about to celebrate its 50th year. Most members of the diocese know that PWRDF began as a response to the news in October of 1958 that 75 coal miners had died almost a mile underground in Springhill, Nova Scotia.
Since the fund began, Anglicans in the Diocese of New Westminster have contributed over $7.6 million dollars, a remarkable record, second only to the Dioceses of Toronto and Huron, and the highest amount per capita. As a Canadian Church, Anglicans together have provided PWRDF with nearly $87 million dollars during the past half century.
Peter Goodwin and Denise Hambidge at a Diocesan Synod display showing the work of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
PWRDF originally was, and to a large extent remains, a way for Anglicans to help deliver relief to disasters happening in Canada and around the World, as when people responded to the Tsunami that affected people living next to the Indian Ocean in December 2006. But within its first decade of formation, the Fund began to work on development projects to promote long-term solutions. It works with farmers and fishers in Africa and Asia; on community development in Central America; on language and cultural education with First Nations in Canada; with refugees in many parts of the world. In recent years there has been a special focus on those living with HIV and AIDS.
Showing confidence in PWRDF's administration, government agencies-primarily the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) usually top up the money Anglicans have given, extending the good that the fund does. Last year, CIDA aid extended PWRDF's efforts by some 20 per cent.
Much of the credit for the Diocese's strong showing goes to dozens of volunteers throughout the diocese, the PWRDF representatives in nearly every parish, who have told the story of the Fund over the years through innumerable presentations, articles, and sermons. Currently the tireless efforts of local PWRDF chair Peter Goodwin and the national vice-president, Denise Hambidge, come in for praise.
The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund is an Anglican success story of which we should all be proud, particularly in this diocese. You will be hearing a lot about PWRDF in its anniversary year, and it deserves your continued support.