The SPA in England and Wales runs a Sponsorship Scheme with five seminaries in five countries. These five seminaries – in India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Sri Lanka – have a long-standing relationship with us. While the SPA also funds the future Church in other countries according to need, those countries are not currently part of the Sponsorship Scheme.
As a sponsor, you’ll receive the name and a photograph of an individual student in the first of his final four years of Theology studies. And he will be given your name, so you can pray for each other especially.
Sponsors commit to supporting a student in his final four years of Theology studies. Anyone offering £500 or more a year to the SPA for four years can be a sponsor. You can sponsor a student as an individual, a parish, a family or a prayer group.
We encourage parishes and individuals to sponsor a seminarian as part of their Advent support or Lenten programme.
The money doesn’t go to the student but to the seminary rector as part of the seminary grant. You may sponsor more than one student at a time. Donations may be spread over the period in instalments convenient to you: for example monthly, quarterly or annually. You can donate by Direct Debit, cheque, card or CAF.
Our seminaries in Kenya and Malawi include a pastoral year as part of the student’s training programme. This means it will be five years before ordination to the priesthood. However, the cost remains £2,000 in total per student.
Your sponsorship journey
The SPA normally receives names from India in July, Kenya in September, and Sri Lanka, Malawi and Nigeria in November. We don’t allocate new sponsors during the summer break but retain details for when the new academic year begins.
Of course the SPA can’t guarantee that every sponsored student will be ordained. During the programme, and with the support of his bishop and seminary staff, the student will discover if his desire for ordination is a genuine calling from God. If not, he will leave. But this should not be seen as a failure. In our experience, ex-seminarians put their education and formation to the service of the Church and society. If your student leaves, you will be offered a new student name at no extra cost.
Sponsors are given the opportunity to correspond with a seminarian. Some prefer not to correspond; others feel that correspondence is an essential part of being a sponsor. You can exchange letters, news of local parishes and photographs with the student.
To avoid any misunderstanding, the sponsor’s address is not disclosed to the student and all correspondence goes through this office and the rector of the student’s seminary.
Gifts may not be sent to the students but you can send a gift cheque to the rector at ordination time, to be shared among all the new priests.