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TAP time again — our 2008 Lenten appeal opens

07 February 2008

PEOPLE say: “Can it be Lent already? Isn’t it early! I’ve hardly thought what I’m going to do. . .” But don’t be at a loss. When the number of vocations is at a record high, you can’t make a better start than helping to train a priest.

Will you help to train a priest? Will you make a donation to our unique Lenten appeal — and encourage others to follow your example?

The Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund started in 1952 — the initiative of the late Rosamund Essex, an editor of the Church Times who was herself a daughter of the clergy. Since then, it has provided grants for 5035 future priests during their training. Our readers down the years have given £3,931,188 — more than £9 million in current values.

TAP provides a great service to the Church of England. But you don’t have to take our word for it. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, writes to the Editor:

Sir, — The recent increase in the number of vocations to the ordained ministry is a most welcome and encouraging development.

In the theological colleges, the number of candidates training for ordination (665) is currently higher than at any point since 1993. More than half of them are the grateful recipients of maintenance grants made from the Church Times TAP Fund.

In addition, emergency grants from the TAP Special Hardship Fund are made to ordinands training in colleges and on non-residential courses and Ordained Local Ministry schemes.

Last year, the Church Times TAP Fund Appeal raised a grand total of £140,098, which was a magnificent achievement. At the start of this year’s Lent Appeal, I ask your readers for their renewed support. The TAP Fund provides very direct and practical help to ordinands and their families.

The generosity of Church Times readers continues to give great encouragement to all those training to serve in the ordained ministry.


  Chairman, Ministry Division

  Church House, London SW1

For 2008, we begin with a boost: a legacy of more than £80,000 from the estate of the late Betty Spurling. We will tell you the exact balance when we know the interest on donations that have come in since the close of last year’s appeal.

The TAP Fund helps both married and single ordinands in full-time training for the priesthood in the C of E. The dioceses can draw on it to support all candidates training in colleges.

The TAP Special Hardship Fund exists to help any ordinand, training for the priesthood in the C of E in a college, on a course, or on an OLM scheme, whose training is jeopardised by unforeseen financial difficulty. Candidates may apply to it at any time during their training.

Any grants from the Special Hardship Fund will not be taken into account by dioceses when setting the level of ordinary support. Forty candidates received TAP hardship grants last year.

TAP giving is ring-fenced for the support of tomorrow’s ordained ministry. Nothing is deducted to cover the costs of the appeal. Every penny is for priesthood.

Taxpayers can increase their donations to TAP by an extra 28p in the £1 through Gift Aid. The Archbishops’ Council processes the tax claims on behalf of the Fund, and cheques need to be made out accordingly.

We need to receive both cheque and Gift Aid declaration together. Even if you are not a taxpayer, please use the form, as it will help with accounting — but then do remember NOT to make the declaration concerning tax paid.

Upated TAP leaflets will soon be available for promoting the appeal to congregations. Please request them, stating the number needed, from the Editor, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN (it is better not to use last year’s leaflets, as this address is a new one); email letters@churchtimes.co.uk; or phone 020 7776 1060.

HOW TO GIVE: send to TAP Fund, G. J. Palmer & Sons, 16 Blyburgate, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 9TB. (This address has not changed.) If you wish to earmark a donation for either part of the Fund, please do so in a covering note. CAF or Sovereign Giving cheques are welcomed. As well as earmarked donations, ten per cent of gifts to TAP will go to the Special Hardship Fund.

The grants are administered by the Archbishops’ Council.

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