Anglican leaders ask government to review cancellation of KAIROS funds

The Anglican Church of Canada’s top governing council and its House of Bishops have passed resolutions deploring CIDA’s sudden cancellation of traditional funding to KAIROS, a major ecumenical social justice coalition.

CIDA has funded KAIROS for 35 years but on Nov. 30 it denied KAIROS’s most recent request, saying that the coalition’s work no longer fits CIDA priorities. No other explanation or information was provided.

On Dec. 4, the Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops and the Council of General Synod (COGS) each approved motions  that “deplore the Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA]’s decision to end its funding for KAIROS, and in consideration of the vital work carried out by KAIROS in many troubled parts of the world on behalf of Canadian church members, urge the federal government to reconsider this decision.”

Several bishops said in responding to the motion that they had notified all clergy in their dioceses of the CIDA decision and suggested they contact their MPs to ask that the decision be rescinded.

COGS and the bishops passed the motions in email votes and although not all members of the two groups voted, there were no dissenting votes cast.

KAIROS represents seven of Canada’s largest denominations, including the Anglican Church of Canada. Their work covers advocacy, research, and education in Canada and overseas on issues including human rights, the environment, ecological justice, and economic justice.

The cancellation of the CIDA funding came as a shock. KAIROS had just received a positive evaluation for its last funding period, and was told by CIDA officials that this next proposal—requesting $7 million between 2009 and 2013—was on track to being accepted. These CIDA funds would cover around half of KAIROS’s total budget for those years.

If not reconsidered, this cancellation will seriously hurt not only KAIROS’s Canadian programs but its 21 international partners who face human rights and humanitarian crises, as well as political repression. KAIROS partners run women’s legal clinics in the Congo, protest military violence in the Philippines, promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as much other work.

KAIROS is urging all Canadians to contact their MPs, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and CIDA leaders and ask them to reconsider this cancellation. Anglican bishops and COGS members are already mobilizing their networks.

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