By Rev. Canon Greg Smith
What was once the Primate’s World Relief Fund, was formed 60 years ago at General Synod 1959, when the Anglican Church in Canada was finding its identity apart from the Church of England.
With the Springhill, NS Mining Disaster (1958) there needed an organized way in which all Canadian Anglicans could respond together in a situation of need. The Primate’s Fund began.
Very quickly, it became evident that as a national church we could be responding to international situations of emergency. A few years later, exposure to the international field revealed that short term emergency response – though essential – was not enough. Development was added to the portfolio of the Primate’s Fund and it began to develop relationships with partners around the world helping to promote transformational, long-term development. Through ingenuity and hard work and some familial support from within the family of God, local peoples could make significant improvements to conditions and systems which burdened them. The life and ministry of Christ into which we Anglicans are baptized, embodies for us the way in which our God gathers the wounded, the poor, and little ones of the earth and honours them with healing and a place of dignity at the table.
Meanwhile, in the Diocese of Huron, a Bishop and a Synod became energized by the thought of having an impact on world hunger and began a fund of their own called the Huron Hunger Fund. It did not take long to recognize that the work was so enormous that it could only be efficiently accomplished in partnership with others and so, the Huron Hunger Fund became a partner in the work of PWRDF. The name of Huron Hunger Fund was not dropped for many reasons and under that name, the Diocese of Huron has contributed generously to the work of PWRDF for many years; although for some years limiting its involvement to projects of food security.
By 2019, it has become evident that continuing with the name of Huron Hunger Fund simply confuses people. There is an impression among many that there are two separate organizations vying for support – one national and one diocesan. This is not so. There is one Canadian Anglican response to world relief and development. This is the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). This is our organization; this is our ministry. Also, the singular reference to “Hunger” does not encompass all the outreach work that is now being accomplished. So, at Synod 2019, with the Bishops’ assent, the Huron Hunger Fund Committee announced that we will cease referring to ourselves by that name. From now on we will be called PWRDF Huron. In this way, we hope to be clear that we in Huron are a part of a national ministry on behalf of all Anglicans and for the sake of the whole world.
On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of PWRDF, the Diocese of Huron is grateful to be part of this ministry.
Rev. Canon Greg Smith is the PWRDF Huron representative.