St. Paul’s is a smaller Anglican Church in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton. We have a half-time rector, Archdeacon Terry DeForest, and a very active congregation with a rich history of mission and outreach ministries. In 2020, St. Paul’s participated in a Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund project to raise funds to purchase a water well in Kenya. Section seven of our Mission Action Plan sets out our goal to continue to work on our present community service projects as well as explore and identify new social issues and justice concerns.
Two parishioners were the “steering committee” on our 2023 Lenten Mission PWRDF Project with the able assistance of three other parishioners and our office administrator. As Lent approached, we reviewed the information we had received from the PWRDF. After examining the many possibilities in the PWRDF literature, we chose to work on the “Buy the Whole Farm” initiative. This was not an easy decision for St. Paul’s this year because we are in the midst of a financial campaign to pay for the replacement of our malfunctioning boiler. Because of the latter, we took our plan to both Parish Council and Vestry stressing the concept that a church in spite of its financial challenges must still look outside of itself and help others. Both Parish Council and Vestry gave us unanimous and enthusiastic support.
Our next step was to contact the PWRDF office in Toronto for potential resources. They provided advertising materials plus appropriate stickers that we could use to create special envelopes for donations. A congregational letter was prepared and sent out to all parishioners and it also included the donation envelope. St. Paul’s has a weekly information e-mail that is sent out every Friday. The “Buy the Whole Farm” project, would fund seven works in six different countries. A small information piece about a certain country and project became part of each weekly e-blast during Lent. We also placed PWRDF posters about “Buy the Whole Farm” on each of the many bulletin boards in our church. A diorama of plastic farms animals and an appropriate background was created on our narthex table.
Our parishioners responded with outstanding support to our efforts. As the appeal came to a close, one of our parishioners raffled off three knitted blankets and the funds received topped up the financial donations made by parish members. Our goal at the beginning of Lent was to try to “buy” one farm. By the end of Lent, the funds that we received for this project supported the purchase of four farms. Such funds will provide invaluable resources to 28 farming projects in six different countries. We thank God for blessings received!