United Thank Offering (UTO) announced the grant recipients for the 2020 granting year, and we are excited to share that the Episcopal Diocese of Washington will receive a companion grant of $66,868 with the Diocese of Masasi, Tanzania. The grant will fund the completion of St. Catherine’s School for Girls in Namasakata, Tanzania. The focus of this year’s granting process was ‘Bless: Share faith, practice generosity and compassion and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ with hope and humility.’
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland and the Diocese of Masasi have worked together for over forty years to improve the lives of people in the region by meeting basic needs for water, health care, agriculture, and education. Bishop James Almasi, of the Diocese of Masasi, believes the greatest need in the region is the education of girls in a safe Christian environment. This $66,868 grant will support the new boarding school owned and operated by the Diocese of Masasi. Providing a safe and healthy school climate for girls will enable them to improve their lives and enrich their families’ futures.
After visiting the planned site of St. Catherine’s in August 2019 and meeting with numerous villagers, a group from St. John’s Olney and African Palms, USA, a ministry of St. John’s, felt strongly called to become involved in this specific project. The school will be the region’s first boarding school for girls. This UTO grant will allow the Diocese of Masasi to complete construction and obtain operational status in 2021.
The UTO Board received almost $3.4 million dollars in requests in 2020. With gratitude for the generosity of those who contributed through Blue Box donations, UTO awarded over $1.5 million in grants. The UTO is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. All UTO collection supports innovative mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
The Diocese of Washington with St. John’s Olney and African Palms, USA are honored to partner with UTO to improve the lives of families in Masasi, specifically girls who have a great deal of talent and potential. As The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde wrote, “This grant will support the 2020 UTO focus by sharing our abundance and compassion for the lives of very vulnerable girls. The school will be a blessing for the lives of girls who have not been able to successfully pursue a secondary education due to unsafe living accommodations near their schools… The school’s curriculum will teach Christian principles, ethics and morals and share its faith, generosity and compassion. Thus providing the girls opportunities to know personally the Good News of God in Christ.” With so many critical global issues right now, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington team feels there has never been a better time to invest in the education of young women.