Looking back .....
In the past 25 years, FaithWorks has raised over $35,000,000 in support to our Ministry Partners as they serve the needs of people who are Indigenous, homeless, hungry, at-risk women, children or youth, immigrants or refugees, or struggling with HIV/AIDS. We have helped build communities of compassion and hope. As followers of Jesus, we have offered new life. As disciples of Jesus, we do our best to bring to reality His words, "I was hungry, and you gave me food ..." (Matthew 25:35) Every year, FaithWorks feeds, shelters, nurtures and befriends over 20,000 people throughout our Diocese and around the world.
FaithWorks, a charitable programme of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, was created in 1996 in response to the pressing needs of that time. Susan McCullogh, a former FaithWorks Campaign Manager, in her paper “We who are Many are One Body”, reflects on the origins of FaithWorks.
A review of the back issues of The Anglican demonstrates the long-established level of commitment by members of the Diocese of Toronto to reach out in Christian service to people in need. In the decades before FaithWorks was founded, the newspaper regularly featured stories about the caring community: the Downtown Churchworkers’ Association and its summer camps for inner city youth and mothers; the safe and welcoming environments provided by Ingles House, Beverley Lodge and the other Anglican Houses for the poor and the marginalized; the efforts by All Saints' Church – Community Centre to address the systemic causes of poverty; and the tireless fund raising by Anglican Church Women on behalf of ministries at home and abroad.
Historically, outreach ministry in the Toronto Diocese was funded through a designated apportionment which, at times, far exceeded the total revenue generated through parish assessments to fund the Diocesan operating budget. For example, in 1968, parish receipts for outreach totaled $928,686, which was more than double the amount parishes contributed toward the overall budget.
In 1995, the “Common Sense Revolution” created an unprecedented demand for social services and changed the face of poverty in Ontario for the foreseeable future. Overnight, the plight of the urban poor could no longer be avoided. Human beings who once were the invisible residents of “skid row” now staked their claim on corners throughout the downtown core.
The Church, the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, needed to find a way to respond.
(to be continued)