The Representative Body, in 1977, decided there was a need for an urgent review of the priorities involved in the stewardship of the material resources of the Church. In 1979, a committee was formed that produced a report entitled First of All which identified a number of problem areas within the Church of Ireland. The report suggested that the first priority should be the spiritual revival of the Church through ministry, Christian education, etc. It stated that new money had to be found if this spiritual revival was to be implemented. As a direct result of this report, the Priorities Fund was established in 1980.
The Priorities Fund is administered by the Standing Committee and therefore the eight members of the Priorities Fund Committee must be members of the Standing Committee. The day–to–day running of the Fund is administered by the Organiser.
Each parish is asked to contribute annually to the Fund. Each diocese is responsible for collecting its contribution from the parishes and is given a target figure. This is a voluntary contribution and most dioceses achieve their target.
Applications for grants are invited from parishes and organisations within the 32 counties of Ireland. The Committee meets to decide on the allocation of these grants and recommendations are put to the Standing Committee for approval in March of every year.
The Priorities Fund has its own website www.priorities.ireland.anglican.org and each year a report called ‘The Priorities News’, listing the current allocations, is printed and distributed to every parish.