THE 2020 Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund appeal draws to a close this week, having raised nearly £40,000 for ordinands in Africa.
The final total at Pentecost was £38,309.91: an impressive figure, given the demands made by the coronavirus, and the fact that the appeal for Africa began only at the start of March. Any donations made earlier than that — the TAP Fund never closes — were channelled to help English ordinands.
In recent weeks, the general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, the Ven. J. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, has written to say that interest in TAP Africa has been keen among Provinces and dioceses that are desperate for funds, to assist those training for ministry to have even basic financial help.
Now that we know the sum raised, we will discuss in detail how to disburse the total along the lines fixed by the Church Times in 1952, when the TAP Fund first started. Every penny raised will go directly to those most in need.
We have been able to concentrate on Africa this year, thanks to a generous legacy from AngelaTuddenham (News, 28 February). Her donation means that funds exist to help any English ordinand in need of emergency financial help. This is despite the fact that the sums drawn from the TAP Fund have been increasing over recent years.
In 2017, the TAP Fund paid £16,000 to 37 ordinands; in 2018, £28,670 to 40 ordinands. In 2019, £30,100 was paid out to 44 ordinands. Our readers’ generosity means that, whereas in the past, the Ministry Division — responsible for disbursing the funds — could provide only a proportion of the money needed, in 2019 well over one third of applicants received the full amount that they needed.
The director of the Ministry Division, the Rt Revd Dr Chris Goldsmith, writes: “The Train-A-Priest Fund is an invaluable resource for our ordinands who face unexpected expenses during their training.
“Ordinands and their families often live very sacrificially in order to fulfil their vocations, and the many contributions made by loyal donors help to lighten the burden and stress that comes with emergency car repairs, funeral expenses, and other hardships that can take any one of us by surprise.
“On behalf of those ordinands and the National Ministry Team, I would like to offer heartfelt thanks.”
ORDINAND A was training at St Augustine’s College of Theology when her family was hit hard by not only the emotional, but also the financial cost of mental ill-health. Their youngest son, who at the time was 17, had suffered from severe depression from the age of 15. It became so unbearable that he had tried to take his own life.
Unable to get care from the NHS mental-health provision for adolescents, the family sought help from a private psychiatrist in London. This was very costly, however; so Ordinand A applied to the Church Times Train-a-Priest Special Hardship Fund.
Because of the TAP funding, her son was able to get the treatment and support that he needed. After visiting the psychiatrist, he was quickly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and received immediate medical and psychological treatment.
The family are now a little more than a year down the line. Ordinand A said: “Although improvement was, at first, painfully slow, he has now been well for over six months. He has started an apprenticeship in landscaping, and is learning to drive. He has travelled independently several times this summer.
“It is wonderful to see a young man emerge who has confidence in his ability to tackle life, and who is coping with all the normal stresses that being young brings anyhow. There are, of course, no guarantees, and he will always need to be vigilant and to take his medication; but we have good reasons to hope he will stay well.”
Church Times TAP funding has meant that this family was able get the help they needed to save their son’s life, and allowed Ordinand A to concentrate on her training, which, she said, has gone very well. She looks forward to ordination this autumn.
She writes: “I just wanted to express my deep gratitude that you were there at that critical moment, and that TAP was able to help us.”
As stated earlier, donations to TAP can continue to be made through the year. See below for details.
How to donate to the TAP Fund
Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. Nothing is retained to cover administrative expenses.
Donate online quickly and securely: www.hymnsam.co.uk/donations/tap-fund/
Or you can give by cheque or charity voucher. Please make cheques payable to: “The TAP Fund” and send to:
TAP Fund, Church Times, Hymns Ancient & Modern, 13a Hellesdon Road, Norwich NR6 5DR
If you are a UK payer of income or capital gains tax, a payment by Gift Aid means that the Church Times, through the Hymns Ancient & Modern charity, can recover 25p for every £1 that you give.
If your donation is eligible for Gift Aid, please include a completed TAP Gift Aid form with your cheque. You can also opt for Gift Aid when making an online donation.