THIS week, we conclude this year’s appeal for donations to the Church Times Train-A-Priest (TAP) Fund. We are very happy to report that the final 2021 total, £39,607.90, is a little higher than last year’s.
We are aware of the continuing financial restraints experienced by our readers during the coronavirus pandemic. In their turn, though, they have been aware of how hard the pandemic has hit those training for the priesthood in Africa, and have responded with their customary generosity.
The general secretary of our African partners CAPA, the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, the Ven. J. W. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, wrote on Monday: “The Church Times’s initiative to support theological education students in Africa is most appreciated especially coming at the crucial time in the lives of students, institutions, and the Church in general. . .
“Although the total sum is small compared with the need on the continent, recipients are very much appreciative of the difference the grant has made in their academic and ministerial formation processes.”
He described how the pandemic had led to a loss of income for most students and their families. “The grant has enabled some recipients — who otherwise would have lost their place in school because of non-payment of fees — to stay in school to complete their studies.
“With the implementation of blended teaching (in-person and online) by most institutions following the ravages of the Covid pandemic, the bursary has enabled recipients to acquire some basic reading materials and equipment to facilitate their studies.”
And he quotes Japheth Mikoye Oyalo (St Philip Theological College): “The grant is a big relief to me and my mother, together with other family members, who spend sleepless nights thinking how to get school fees so as to make sure that I stay in school and attend to classes without any disruption.” And Lilian Onzia (South Sudan) writes: “It has been my prayer to get support, and this scholarship has been the light in the tunnel.”
This is the second year that the Church Times TAP Fund has been directed to those training for ordination in Africa, in recognition that their circumstances are much more precarious than those of ordinands in the UK. On behalf of the African Provinces, we thank all who have donated so generously.
Although this is the end of this year’s appeal, the TAP Fund never closes. Future donors — people writing their wills, for example — can be confident that we’ll always stick to our pledge, first made in 1952, that every penny donated will go to support the next generation of priests.
How to donate to the TAP Fund
YOU can donate online, quickly and securely, via: www.churchtimes.co.uk/train-a-priest-fund.
We will, however, accept donations of any shape and size. 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, the Church Times, through the Hymns Ancient & Modern charity, can recover 25p for every £1 that you give through Gift Aid. If you are eligible, please indicate this when making an online donation, or complete the form in last week’s paper and send it with your cheque.