JEMT follow one fundamental principle in the distribution of unrestricted funds – the people on the ground know how best to utilize scarce resources.
As JMECA has been in existence for many years it has accumulated funds from many generous benefactors. In some cases the use for their donations is specified, for example for the maintenance of a certain church building or support for clergy, but often the use is left to the discretion of the administrators.
In 2010/11 a third of JMECA funds were unrestricted. This was distributed equally between the four Dioceses that make up the Province and then it is allocated locally at the bishops' discretion and they advise us which projects are being supported and how much has been allocated.
The remaining two-thirds of JMECA’s income is tied to a particular Diocese, institution or project and the administrators pass the amount on as designated.
A small number of grant requests are received directly in the UK. If the purpose corresponds to the aims of one of our funds we ask the Bishop in whose territory the project or work will take place, to confirm that he is in agreement before we make disbursement.
Here are examples of projects supported in 2014:
Aid for the Assyrian Christians fleeing ISIS
Scholarships for students to attend St George's School, Jerusalem
Launch of a Young Anglican Leaders course at St George's College, Jerusalem for UK ordinands
Maintenance of cemeteries in Jerusalem
Reconcilliation course in Jerusalem
Support for a student studying with SOAS
Father Sean Semple, supported by JMECA
Fr Sean Semple M.Th; B.Soc.Sci is currently the Associate Priest of St Helena’s Anglican Church, Larnaca, Cyprus; and a registered Advanced Level Pastoral Therapist with the South African Association of Pastoral Workers. He writes appreciatively of support from JMECA.
I left school in Durban, South Africa, aspiring to be a clinical psychologist. Towards the end of my undergraduate studies I had a growing sense of call to ordained ministry, and instead of pursuing post-graduate psychology I read theology and was accepted into ministerial formation.
A decade of parochial ministry developed my pastoral skills but also highlighted how limited a pastor can be in ministering to the brokenness of parishioners. It is unethical to work beyond one’s training or competence and I was frequently presented with pastoral challenges in which prayer and presence were essential but not always sufficient interventions. Clearly, the clergy can and should refer some pastoral situations to mental health professionals, but in practice such referrals are impeded by concerns that the psychologist or psychiatrist’s worldview will be critical of Christianity or that such professionals will have limited insight into a life of discipleship (this more so in the case when clergy are referred for counselling).
Also highlighted during these years was the cost of not assessing ordinands’ intellectual capabilities, personality features or resilience factors during the discernment process. There were clear instances of individuals who after ordination faced severe personal challenges in ministry that could have been identified at an earlier stage through psychometric assessment.
After being appointed and working as the Bishop of Natal’s diocesan pastoral consultant, I was convinced of the need to have a “both-and” rather than “either-or” approach to psychology and Christian ministry. Acting on this conviction and having limited educational opportunities in South Africa, I enrolled in a M.Sc. (Clinical Psychology) degree at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. These studies have been kindly supported by JMECA and the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. In 2015 I hope to return to stipendiary ministry as a priest who is also a psychologist; as someone who can employ psychological insights and modalities within a Christian framework; as a more effective pastor and resource to the diocese in which I am appointed.