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Will you help our ordinands?

15 February 2013


LENT has begun, and that means that we appeal to our readers once again for the Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund. Will you help to train a priest?

We have asked the same question of our readers every year since 1952, when the appeal was first made by the then Editor, Rosamund Essex, in response to stories of hardship that she heard from ordinands who were unable to support their family on the meagre diocesan grants. In their turn, the response from Church Times readers has been amazingly generous every Lent since then.

TIMES have changed, but training for ordination still involves sacrifice. Every ordinand, married or single, receives a TAP grant if he or she is in full-time training for the priesthood in the C of E.

In addition, ten per cent of every donation goes into the Special Hardship Fund, to support any ordinand training for the priesthood - in a college, in a course, or an OLM scheme - who experiences particular financial difficulties. Candidates may apply to the fund at any time during their training.

TAP giving is ring-fenced for the support of tomorrow's ordained ministry. The Church Times has never taken anything to cover the cost of administering the appeal. This means that every pound you give goes straight to the support of the priesthood.

We are grateful to the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council, who disburse TAP grants, again without holding anything back for administration.

WE ARE delighted when people give in any way they can. Cheques are fine; we'll even accept postal orders and cash. The easiest way, however, both for you and us, is the online giving page: www.hymnsam.co.uk donations/train-a-priest. This is a secure page, and so your donation can be given safely, in just a few moments.

If you wish to send a cheque, please send to our Norwich office: TAP Fund, Church Times, 13a Hellesdon Park Road, Norwich NR6 5DR. If you would like an acknowledgement, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

IF YOU are a UK taxpayer, you can increase your donation just by completing a simple Gift Aid declaration. You can do this on our online donations page, or, if sending a cheque, by using this form.

THE support of new candidates for the priesthood is one of the most valuable things you can do. The period of training is an intense one, and helping to free ordinands from anxiety about finance is a tremendous gift to them.

Since the TAP Fund started, nearly £4.5 million has been raised. In the present economic climate, there are many other claims on your generosity. But it is also at such times that your donations to TAP are most needed.

The Bishop of Sheffield, who chairs the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council, has written to the Editor:

Sir, - We are extremely grateful to the Church Times that, once again, it is running its Lent Train-A-Priest appeal. Last year the appeal celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, and now, as its seventh decade is well and truly under way, it remains as vital as ever in funding our future clergy as they train for their ministries.

Last year, through the generosity of your readers, the appeal raised £74,076, bringing the total raised since 1952 to over £4.4 million. As neither the Church Times nor the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council takes any money for administration, every penny of this has gone to help ordinands in training with their living costs, or, via the TAP Special Hardship Fund, to those ordinands who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty.

Since its inception, more than 5600 ordinands and their families have benefited from assistance from the TAP and TAP Special Hardship Funds. We know that this has been greatly valued by its recipients, for the relief that it has provided from financial worries.

We thank God for the generosity of all who have donated to the TAP Fund over the years, and pray that this year we may continue to support our ordinands as they pursue their vocation in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Steven Sheffield
Ministry Division
Church House, London SW1

PLEASE give generously, and tell other people at your church about the TAP Fund. A colour leaflet can be downloaded here.

The TAP appeal gets off to a good start: we already have £17,077 in the fund donated since the last appeal closed in May 2012. A large portion of this, £10,000, came to us as a legacy. This is another way in which you might donate to the Fund. Even a small provision in your will can be an excellent way of saying thank-you for the ministry you have received over the years.

Please help if you can.

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