THIS week we launch our 2016 Lent appeal for the Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund. Will YOU help to train a priest?
The Church Times has run the TAP Fund every year since 1952. It was started by the Editor at that time, Rosamund Essex, after hearing of the hardship experienced by married ordinands on grants calculated for single, young men.
During the past 65 years, funding for married ordinands, and those with families, has improved, as the dioceses matched the generosity of Church Times readers. But money is never plentiful, and today a TAP grant goes to every ordinand, married or single, who is in full-time training for the priesthood in the C of E.
In more recent years, we have developed the Special Hardship Fund, to which any ordinand in training for the priesthood — in a college, on a course, or in an OLM scheme — can appeal if he or she experiences unforeseen financial difficulties.
Ten per cent of every donation goes into this Special Hardship Fund, or donors can specify that the whole of their donation is placed here.
The grants are allocated by the Archbishops’ Council’s Ministry Division.For 65 years, not a penny has been deducted to cover the cost of administration. The whole of every donation goes to help train the next generation of priests.
Last year was a modest one for donations. Even so, more than £70,000 was raised during Lent, and the level of grants towards the living costs of married and single ordinands in college and mixed-mode or context-based training was maintained. The average TAP grant made in the past year to married candidates with children was £980.
In addition, 41 emergency grants were made to ordinands from the Special Hardship Fund, totalling £14,415.
At a time when the future pattern of ministerial training is under review — including the provision of family maintenance — the TAP Fund provides a reliable way to make a valued contribution.
How to give
WE STILL take cheques, postal orders, cash, and charity cheques. But giving online is easiest for donors and for us. Simply visit: www.hymnsam.co.uk/train-a-priest.aspx. This is a secure page with clear instructions.
Please send other donations to: TAP Fund, Church Times, 13a Hellesdon Park Road, Norwich NR6 5DR. If you would like an acknowledgement, please enclose a SAE. To earmark all or part of a donation for the Special Hardship Fund, please use a covering note.
UK taxpayers can boost their gift by making a Gift Aid declaration. Please do this on our online donations page, or by enclosing the form overleaf with your donation.
Spread the word
PLEASE encourage other people to give to TAP, too. A colour leaflet can be downloaded from the Church Times website; and we encourage churches to hold a special collection or fund-raising effort. Please let us know about your support and your stories if you are doing so: we like to mention them in the Church Times.