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TAP Fund 2015 is launched with new focus on hardship

20 February 2015

LENT is here; so we are appealing once again to our readers to open their hearts and their purses to support the Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund.

The fund was set up in 1952, to benefit married ordinands who might otherwise have been prevented from entering residential training by the need to support a family.

Over the years, it has evolved to reflect social circumstances and changing patterns of ministry. The two constants have been the generosity of Church Times readers, and the fact that not a single penny is diverted towards administrative costs, either by the Church Times or by the staff of the Ministry Division, who allocate and distribute the funds.

This year, unless otherwise directed by the donor, 25 per cent of all donations will be diverted to the TAP Special Hardship Fund. Whereas the basic TAP grant goes to ordinands in full-time residential training, the Hardship Fund exists to help any candidate for priesthood in the Church of England whose training is jeopardised by unforeseen financial difficulty. Candidates may apply to the hardship fund at any time during their training.

The increase (from ten per cent of all donations in previous years) reflects the importance of the Hardship Fund, both financial and psychological: it means that any ordinand who is faced with a sudden, unexpected, and unbudgeted financial demand has somewhere to turn.

This might be hardship caused by family circumstances or unexpected illness; by the breakdown of a car or of a laptop essential for study.

The fund acts as a financial safety-net, but also as a tangible demonstration of care from those whom the ordinand is called to serve, thereby both enabling and affirming their call to ministry.

In coming weeks, we will feature stories from some of those whom the TAP and Special Hardship Fund have helped in the past 12 months.

The Bishop of Sheffield writes

In the mean time, the Bishop of Sheffield, who chairs the Ministry Council of the Archbishops' Council, has written to the Editor:

Sir, - As we approach Lent, our thoughts turn to the call of Christ to follow Him as a community of missionary disciples. For some, this takes the form of a call to ordained ministry. Some respond to this call while in their teens and twenties and are able to offer their whole working lives to ordained ministry. Some leave behind successful careers in order to minister in areas of great need. Therefore we are most grateful that the Church Times is once again running its Lent Train-A-Priest appeal. Since its inception in 1952, through the great generosity of your readers, the appeal has raised nearly £4.6m and has helped 5776 ordinands, including 41 grants made from the Special Hardship Fund in the past 12 months.

The TAP fund continues to provide our ordinands with valuable financial support, allowing them to concentrate fully on their training. Every penny given by your readers goes to the ordinands and their families to help with living costs or (via the TAP Special Hardship Fund) unforeseen financial difficulty - nothing is taken by either the Church Times or the Archbishops' Council by way of administration costs. At a time when the Church is looking hard at ways significantly to increase the number of ordained ministers, the need for the TAP Fund is as great as ever.

We pray that, as your readers bless our future clergy through their generous gifts, so they too may be blessed this Lent.

Ministry Council
Church House, London SW1

THIS year's fund gets off to a flying start with the sum of £12,813 donated since the close of last year's appeal. This includes a legacy of £1000: if you would like to help secure the future of the Anglican priesthood after your death, please consider remembering the TAP Fund in your will.

How to give

WE STILL take cheques, postal orders, cash, and charity cheques. But many of our readers find that the simplest way to give is by means of 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.

Please send other donations to our Norwich office: TAP Fund, Church Times, 13a Hellesdon Park Road, Norwich NR6 5DR. (For an acknowledgement, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.)

Gift Aid enables UK taxpayers to increase their donations to TAP by an extra 25p in the £1, at no additional cost to themselves, by making a simple declaration of eligibility. You can do this on our online donations page, or, if sending a cheque, by using the form below.

Spread the word

PLEASE encourage other people to give to TAP, too. A colour leaflet can be downloaded from our website. If you or your church is planning a special collection or fund-raising effort, please let us know so that we can mention it in the paper.

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