In 1959, The Primate’s World Relief Fund was established by the Anglican General Synod. In 1969, the name of the organization was officially changed to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. This Fund came into existence as a result of a terrible human tragedy in Canadian history. In 1958, in Springhill, Nova Scotia, there was an underground explosion in a coal mine, 174 men were in the mine when it collapsed, and 75 died as a result of the disaster. The tragedy moved Anglicans and other Canadians to respond with assistance for the stricken families. As a result of this experience, the church recognized the need for an efficient process to channel assistance quickly in situations of emergency. PWRDF’s vision of a truly just, healthy, and peaceful world is one that can only be accomplished by bringing about change in the lives of everyone involved in its work.
Every year PWRDF responds to emergencies in Canada and around the world. Primarily, we allocate grants to appeals issued by the ACT Alliance, of which we are a member. ACT Alliance is an organization of 140 international Christian organizations working in areas of high need. When disaster happens, ACT is able to contact one of its members already in place and quickly get them funds for immediate necessities of life, such as water, sanitation, food and shelter. PWRDF also works with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in this same capacity.
St. Thomas is an active contributor to PWRDF with congregation members donating monthly. These donations have at times been specified for emergencies such as the Fort McMurray Wildfires and the South Sudan Famine and Drought Emergency. In many instances these donations qualify for matching Government of Canada funds.
Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas. In response to the immediate and urgent needs on the ground, PWRDF is receiving donations and sending financial support to Episcopal Relief and Development of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
ERD is coordinating its response with the Anglican Alliance, of which PWRDF is also a member to support a response as the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos begins to evaluate and assess the needs of local communities in the diocese.
Donations can be made on line at pwrdf.org/give-today – click Emergency Response box. By Phone 1-866-308-7973 or by mail to PWRDF Fund, The Anglican Church of Canada, 80 Hayden St. Toronto, Ont. M4Y 3G2.