By: 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 Church in Spain, and we are excited to support this next endeavor together.
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.
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.
UTO’s Pilgrims on the Camino in October of this year will literally walk in the shoes of Protestant pilgrims on the Camino: they will walk part of the Camino, share the end of their journey in Santiago de Compostela, and experience firsthand the need for this Anglican Pilgrim Centre. We will post updates of our journey on the UTO Facebook page and webpage. There are still a few spots available if you want to make the pilgrimage with us this fall!