Hey, I don't know where you got the idea that 'a priest has to be funded to go to abbey' but I've been randomly invited to abbey parties when I'm not geared (like Cotton shirt and Mace un-geared). Parties seek mainly priests for their buffs and heals, from what I've experienced.
Also, the Abbey quest may seem tedious but it's really worth to complete it for a priest (as a few has said)! As a suggestion, you can make another attacker and work from there, that's what I did.
P.S. I haven't been playing for long. So you can do it too