UPDATE – 2020 Challenge Grant: Camino Project

October 8, 2019
Sherri Dietrich, President, United Thank Offering Board

The UTO Board is happy to announce the UTO Camino Challenge Grant, for which UTO will match donations of up to $60,000 to support the building and development of the Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago, Spain. UTO has a long history of partnership with the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, and we are excited to support this next endeavor together. We thank all of you who have already donated, and we hope that many of you will give this month while we walk in Spain.

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is one of oldest routes of pilgrimage in Christianity, and Santiago de Compostela was the third holiest site in Christianity in the Middle Ages (after Jerusalem and Rome). Over 250,000 people walk part of the Camino every year, and more and more of them are Protestants; in fact, Protestants walking the Camino now outnumber Roman Catholics. But while Roman Catholics can end their pilgrimage by celebrating the Eucharist together in the cathedral, Protestants are not welcome to take Holy Communion there and so don’t have a place to end their journey together. Since 2015, plans to build an Anglican Centre in Santiago have been developing, and UTO now is joining in that work.

This project is reminiscent of one of the first UTO grants – to build a church in Anvik, Alaska – and reminds us of all the times UTO has joined in the work of evangelism by joining with the local community. The Friends of the Anglican Pilgrim Centre note that it “will welcome pilgrims of all faiths, embracing ecumenism, outreach hospitality, youth development, spiritual formation, and interfaith dialogue,” providing a place to stay and to celebrate the Eucharist together as pilgrims end their spiritual journey along the Camino, while continuing to process their pilgrimage together. We are so excited to participate in this innovative ministry of evangelism in Spain and look forward to hearing about all the people welcomed through the Centre’s doors.

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