A RADICAL change is planned for the Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund appeal this year. All the money raised will go to support clergy training in Africa.
Since 1952, the TAP Fund has supported ordinands and their families in England. Over the years, generous readers have donated more than £4.7 million to help relieve C of E ordinands of financial worries.
This remains our concern, but the TAP Fund has recently received a substantial legacy, a portion of which is being set aside to cover any financial emergencies that might arise in the next year. Ordinands are encouraged to contact the Ministry Division in the usual way if they experience any unexpected hardship.
We are in discussions with the Ministry Division about how best to use the bulk of the legacy to benefit C of E ordinands.
That left the question of this year’s appeal. Since this is a Lambeth Conference year, our thoughts turned to the Anglican Communion. The problem of comparing different degrees of hardship then presented itself; so we have tightened our focus to Africa. The continent does not have a monopoly on hardship, of course, but extremes of poverty mean that there are more than enough deserving recipients of our readers’ generosity.
We have developed plans for this year’s TAP Africa appeal in consultation with the Revd Dr Stephen Spencer, director for theological education at the Anglican Communion Office, and the Revd Duncan Dormor, general secretary of USPG.
He writes: “Forty million Anglicans — that is, nearly half of our Communion worldwide — live on the great and incredibly diverse continent of Africa. Very many priests serve the Church without a stipend, and often without the benefit of sufficient theological training. They serve communities in rapidly changing societies which are fragmented by poverty, unemployment, conflict, and illiteracy, many of which also face some of the worst impacts of climate change.”
The question then arose about how to disburse any funds raised this year. Although the Church Times runs the TAP Fund — without keeping anything back for administration — it does not have the staff or the expertise to process requests for grants. In England, we are grateful for the offices of the Ministry Division.
For TAP Africa, USPG introduced us to the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). The UK charity has had a fruitful partnership with CAPA across a range
of programmes, such as capacity-building for strategic leadership, theological education, advocacy in such areas as human trafficking and migration, child protection, gender-based violence, and interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
CAPA, Fr Dormor writes, “has long experience of helping to equip priests — through a variety of contexts of theological training and ministerial formation — to serve their communities, drawing on a wealth of experience and good practice across the continent. To train a priest within the Church in Africa is to invest in the transformation of whole communities.”
CAPA operates in 25 countries in 13 Anglican Provinces, namely: Burundi, Central Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the Congo, Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius), Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Africa (Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa Swaziland), South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia), as well as the diocese in Egypt.
The general secretary of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has described the TAP Africa appeal as “timely”. He writes: “In this Lambeth Conference year, it is especially appropriate that the Church Times’s Train-a-Priest appeal is for ordination training in Africa.
“Resources for ordinands, their families, and their theological colleges are spread very thinly, and often those with vocations cannot receive the education and formation that they need.
“I am delighted that, during Lent, we have the opportunity to support an appeal for resources for them. I endorse it warmly, as does my director for theological education at the Anglican Communion Office, Stephen Spencer, who has visited many of the colleges and knows the needs they face.”
Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this Lent, in the knowledge that anything you give will have a tremendous impact on the lives of those training for the priesthood in some of the toughest situations in the world.
How to donate to the TAP Fund
Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. Nothing is retained to cover administrative expenses.
Donate online quickly and securely: www.churchtimes.co.uk/train-a-priest-fund
Or you can give by cheque or charity voucher. Please make cheques payable to: “The TAP Fund” and send to:
TAP Fund, Church Times, Hymns Ancient & Modern, 13a Hellesdon Road, Norwich NR6 5DR
If you are a UK payer of income or capital gains tax, a payment by Gift Aid means that the Church Times, through the Hymns Ancient & Modern charity, can recover 25p for every £1 that you give. If your donation is eligible for Gift Aid, please complete the form and send it with your cheque. You can also opt for Gift Aid when making an online donation.
The Ven. Joseph William Kofi de- Graft-Johnson, general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, writes:
THE Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) was formed in 1979 to co-ordinate the activities of the Anglican Communion in Africa, and to help to articulate and address the issues that affect the Anglican community on the continent.
Our vision is to create a new society in which the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable have an equal voice, and are not divided by selfish gains of tyranny and by the forces of social fragmentation, such as tribalism and nepotism.
The continent of Africa has approximately 12 per cent of the world’s oil resources, and 40 per cent of the gold. Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and is projected to generate (in net present terms) more than $600 billion in government revenue over the next 20 years.
The continent, however, suffers from economic inequalities: most sub-Saharan countries register minimum growth, and some are stagnating. Consequently, the continent has the highest number of people living below the poverty line, in a deforested and degraded environment, and with food insecurity, and the highest number of children who are malnourished.
The region is also seriously affected by climate change and global warming. While it has the fastest-growing and youngest population globally, it also has the highest population of unemployed and unemployable youth. All these are recipes for strife and social dislocations, which result in conflict.
To meet its aims, CAPA seeks
to invest in building healthy Churches. A healthy Church is one in which the Holy Spirit is known to anoint and prepare clergy for ministry. They, in turn, dedicate time to prayer, motivated by a sense of mission and purpose. The clergy should then teach with authority and yet lead with humility, as servant leaders, like Jesus.
Priority, therefore, is given to:
- training clergy to mobilise congregations, design processes of discipleship, and to make public social responsibilities part of ongoing mission work by groups and fellowships;
- designing theological training for various ministries, and investing in proper stewardship of resources, to maintain sustainable church growth and nurturing.
This is where CAPA and her constituents will very much appreciate and benefit from TAP’s support. It will help to build healthy Churches through the training of ordinands in mostly disadvantaged parts of the continent.
These areas have limited access to theological-education resources for one of three reasons: location and context (for example, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Congo); or because the Church is a minority religious group (as in part of West Africa); or because demand for trained leaders outstrips supply.
Miss Tuddenham’s legacy
THE Church Times Train-A-Priest Fund has received many legacies in the past, but none as large as that left by Angela Tuddenham, a former headmistress who lived near Slough, in Berkshire.
Miss Tuddenham, who died in December 2016, aged 83, was a regular member of the congregation at St Mary’s, Langley Marish, from the 1950s onwards, later moving to St Mary’s, Slough. She was a churchwarden, a sacristan, a member of the PCC and the fabric committee, and a Sunday-school teacher. She was a historian, tidied the Langley church archives, and wrote a book, Dear Mother, based on a letter found under the floorboards of Upton Hospital, once the Eton Union workhouse. She was an active member of the Slough Civic Society.
In her teaching career, she trained in the Montessori method and began work as a primary-school teacher in 1950. She was head teacher of Wexford Court Middle School from 1972 until she retired in 1991. She was one of four sisters, one of whom survives her.
The legacy left to the TAP Fund, “to be used for the grants for candidates for the priesthood in the Church of England during their theological training”, came to £412,000.
Please remember the Church Times TAP Fund in your will. You can give in the confidence that every penny given will help the next generation of priests. This year’s appeal is directed at Africa. If you prefer to specify that your donation or legacy go to ordinands in the Church of England, we will, of course, honour that wish.