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
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
In coming weeks, we will feature stories from some of those whom
the TAP and Special Hardship Fund have helped in the past 12
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
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
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
We pray that, as your readers bless our future clergy through
their generous gifts, so they too may be blessed this Lent.
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
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
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.