St. Andrew’s, Toronto, decided to share $200,000 this summer when a large bequest to the church came in the midst of a lean season among the city’s missions.
“The money is the congregation’s to distribute,” said Rev. Will Ingram, lead minister at the iconic downtown church. “With the economic downturn in recent years, some organizations, especially in the Toronto area, have felt the crunch. But the needs continued.”
Thanks to the work of the outreach, and finance and stewardship committees, session decided to parcel out a total of $200,000 to nine groups with whom the congregation and its members had a relationship.
Toronto’s Evangel Hall, a large street mission, and Knox College in support of a fund to establish a chair of Pastoral Theology, each received $50,000.
The remainder was divided among Boarding Homes Ministry, recipient of this year’s E. H. Johnson award for cutting – edge mission, Portland Place, a non – profit housing corporation, Flemingdon Gateway Mission, which provides after school programs and leadership training for residents of the city’s Flemingdon Park neighbourhood, the George Vais Adult Christian Education Fund, which provides funding for Christian education opportunities, Presbyterian World Service and Development, the national church’s relief and development arm, Armagh, a shelter for abused women and children in Mississauga, Ont., and Out of the Cold, a program that helps feed and shelter the homeless during the winter.
“I know what these other organizations need, and we have lots of needs, too,” said John Matheson, an elder and chair of the board of managers. “We’re spending a lot of money on restoring our building, which was in bad shape. But you can’t keep everything for yourself. Personally, I was brought up to think about tithing, and that certainly was on my mind when I talked to session about this. I think generally the congregation and session feel very proud we’re able to do this, and we’ve had some fine reactions from the people who are recipients. It seemed to be the right time and was needed.”