"An Advent version of the 'Acts or Faith' gift catalogue is being readied for online shoppers who want to give something a bit different this Christmas. The Anglican Church of Canada's first alternative gift guide highlights ministries and suggests ways people can support them. It was first distributed in April . It is hoped that Anglicans choose to make it a big part of their Christmas gift-giving". "Those ministries that appear to resonate most strongly include The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and the suicide prevention project of the Council of the North. Although new to the Anglican Church of Canada, the fundraising vehicle has proved popular with World Vision, which pioneered the concept 10 years ago. Last year, donations to the World Vision gift catalogue totalled $18 million".
"Whether it is a gift of $125 to support suicide prevention strategies in First Nations and Inuit communities, $55 to help Anglicans and Lutherans develop advocacy skills to end homelessness in Canada or $25 to provide hot lunches for a child in Haiti for six months, the Anglican Church of Canada's Gifts for Mission guide offers a different kind of shopping experience. This is the fourth year the national church has produced a guide that allows donors to specify a particular ministry to which they would like to donate as a 'meaningful gift'. The guide usually comes out in the fall prior to the Christmas season, but Monica Patten, interim director of the church's resources for mission department, says it is for gift-giving year-round and can be used for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine's Day. 'They are just lovely opportunities to celebrate in a way that is not always tied to consumerism', she said in an interview".
"In the spirit of peace, Lynne and I are giving gifts of a different kind this Christmas. In the coming weeks we are browsing the Anglican Church of Canada's 'Gifts for Mission' catalogue. It highlights a number of ministries associated with the General Synod, the Anglican Foundation, and Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. All of them are grounded in our church's commitment to God's mission in the world". "Lynne and I are really looking forward to this kind of giving this Christmas. It reminds us that 'Christianity is an outward looking, outward acting faith' ('Signposts on a Common Journey', Theological Education for the Anglican Communion, 2007). As we once again celebrate the great mystery of the coming of God among us, and give thanks for the mission of Christ in the world of our day, I pray your giving is joyous and your Christmas filled with love and peace".
"Worthy of a separate time in the calendar, Epiphany goes beyond the story of the human birth [of Christ] in a domestic and local sense; it is the story of the manifestation of Christ to the nations. In this story, we recognize what Eastern Christians refer to as 'Theophany', the manifestation of God". [Like the Magi, we] too, may be reminded at this Theophany that we can go home by another way, a way other than that of security first and caring second, and know that we have been changed for the better, that virtue can replace vice, goodness can be chosen rather than evil, and good news can take precedence over news of fresh disasters". "At Epiphany, we are reminded about the use of our gifts -- and we have them, although ours are perhaps not as kingly as gold and frankincense and myrrh. We must not forget that our gifts count, in the biggest of stories of transformation, and that we can offer our gifts -- our strengths, our wealth, our future capacities and the acknowledgments of our weaknesses -- to our neighbours and to God, whose kingdom will not end, and who shows forth to all as a vulnerable and glorious child. And that offering will make a difference".
That the Primate, in cooperation with Administration and Finance, be asked to express the gratitude of the General Synod for all bequests received by the Synod during each year;
that this expression be circulated annually in the Anglican Journal and include the name of the donor and the amount received (unless anonymity has been requested), and the work of General Synod which is the beneficiary, if designated; and
that the cost be borne by the Stewardship and Financial Development Budget. CARRIED #39-05-94
"Like most kids, I thought there was nothing better than receiving a gift, a wrapped present with something wonderful inside. Then we all reach an age when giving gifts becomes just as exciting as receiving them". "During my nine years as Executive Director of the Anglican Foundation, I have often been overwhelmed by the response of grant and bursary recipients. So many have expressed profound gratitude for the difference it made. When AFC [Anglican Foundation of Canada] helped install the flushing mechanisms on toilets in a church in a small community, children could hardly wait to show me these 'magic toilets'." "To see the appreciation of worshippers in wheel chairs or walkers return to church for the first time in years, thanks to an outdoor ramp and indoor lift, is an experience where words fail". "Donations to AFC make these memorable experiences possible. I hope that those of you who give some of your charitable donations to the Anglican Foundation of Canada know that you as an individual are changing the world. All it takes is one small act of kindness and generosity".
The author, resources/information officer for the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, talks about consumerism and the benefits of a "alternative" Christmas with reduced gift-giving. "We still claim that the true spirit of Christmas is in giving. If so, we can help those most in need, instead of swapping gifts with friends who have everything they require. Why not make donations to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund in their name. (PWRDF has a handy Christmas card gift for this purpose.)"
Includes photo of Murray MacAdam and his young daughter with caption "Rosie with dad."