Anglican Samizdat

September 11, 2009

The Anglican Church of Canada has a Director of Philanthropy

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada,Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 11:19 pm

The word “philanthropy” is derived from Greek, philanthropos, meaning “to love people”.

The word was favoured in the Hellenistic period by pagan moralists and is normally used now to describe the humanitarian act of giving a significant sum of money to a worthy cause by a person who owns an unusually large quantity of it. Thus, Bill Gates qualifies as a philanthropist since he donates some of his personal fortune to good works, whereas Bono does not since he devotes much of his spare time preaching at others in the hope of making philanthropists of them.

In contrast, 2 Cor 9:7, God loves a cheerful giver uses dotēs for giver; the emphasis is as much on the giver as the recipient. Everyone should give, no matter how small the gift. The theme of giving is a ubiquitous one in the Bible: as God has given to us, so we should give back to God and to others. The lesson of the widow’s mite (Mark 12: 41-44) is that the smallest gift given sacrificially is of more significance than largesse born of abundance.

Philanthropy is an entirely different kettle of fish: it originated in the pagan world and has been adopted by modern humanism; what matters is how much is given – the bigger the better. It is not a particularly Christian concept; this is probably seen as an advantage by the Anglican Church of Canada who, no doubt, would find a biblically inspired title such as Director of Tithing cringingly embarrassing. Director of Philanthropy, however, is rather cool in a Bono sort of way:

Holland Lee Hendrix, who has served as chief advancement officer at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and as president of the New York-based Union Theological Seminary, has been named executive director of philanthropy, a new position created by General Synod.

Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, general secretary of the national office in Toronto, said that Mr. Hendrix “brings to the position all the needed gifts and skills to help the Anglican Church of Canada achieve a level of financial stability that will enable it to carry out the vital mission and ministry to which we are called in this new era.”



  1. Wouldn’t it be easier to give each parish an Avon and Tupperware franchise?

    Comment by Steve L. — September 12, 2009 @ 11:41 am

  2. Unfortunately for the ACoC the collection plate is usually passed round after the sermon. The plate and the offering thereupon usually reflects the worthiness of the organization. Insipid comes to mind for most sermons I hear at ACoC outposts and insipid is the “philanthropy” of the pew potatoes. Hence they (the ACoC) tend to be broke. So much for philanthropy and the need of another leach in a cushy job.

    Comment by Gawk — September 12, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

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