Diocese of North Dakota to receive UTO Grant to respond to Environmental Justice Issues
4/23/22 — United Thank Offering announced the grant recipients for the 2022 granting cycle, and we are excited to share that the Diocese of North Dakota will receive funding for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, White Shield. The focus of the granting process this year was “Care of Creation: Turning love into action by caring for God’s creation to protect the most vulnerable who will bear the largest burden of pollution and climate change through justice, advocacy, environmental reparations, or the development of formational materials.”
St. Paul’s, White Shield, led by The Rev. Duane Fox, the longest-serving and only Indigenous Episcopal priest in the Diocese, was awarded $52.5K for the creation of a traditional garden, a prayer path for meditation, and development of a curriculum that will highlight cultural wisdom of congregational and tribal elders. Signage will be both in English and Arikara (Sahnish). This project is envisioned as a pilgrimage site for the Diocese for reflection on racial healing, especially as original lands of the Sahnish people along the Missouri River were flooded by the building of the Garrison Dam, forcing removal to less desirable ground, as is common for many reservations. This project recognizes the stewardship of the land by the Arikara, one of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the MHA Nation (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) and will be an outreach ministry of the congregation for sharing both Episcopal and traditional Native spirituality. While no one grant can compensate for generations of cultural genocide and intergenerational trauma, this award is a step in the right direction in honoring the enduring presence and vital contributions of Indigenous peoples here in North Dakota, especially this faithful community of believers. In response to the award, The Rev. and Mrs. Fox both expressed gratitude, “We give thanks to Creator for this opportunity and for giving Native people the chance to develop more visible ministry here at St. Paul’s, White Shield. This will be a place for learning, for reflection, and healing.”
“Caring for God’s creation is one of humanity’s first tasks according to Genesis, and we have done a pretty poor job of it so far. UTO’s 2022 grant recipients will play a great role in remedying that situation through the ministries they develop and disseminate to encourage greater participation in creation care. As always, if we’d had more money to grant, we would have been delighted to fund more of the excellent grant projects submitted, so please continue to be thankful and make your thank offerings to UTO,” shared Sherri Dietrich, UTO Board President.
Responding to notification of the grant, Bishop Provisional Thomas Ely commented, “I am grateful that the United Thank Offering Board recognized the significance of this Creation Care project, not only for the people of Saint Paul’s and the wider community they serve, but also as a pilgrimage place for so many in our diocese and beyond.”
United Thank Offering Funding
Every penny given to the United Thank Offering is given away the following year to support innovative mission and ministry in the Episcopal Church. Through the gratitude and generosity of those who contributed through Blue Box donations, UTO awarded over $1,051,154.14 in grants to address environmental issues.
The United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Through UTO, individuals are invited to embrace and deepen a personal daily spiritual discipline of gratitude. UTO encourages people to notice the good things that happen each day, give thanks to God for those blessings, and make an offering for each blessing using a UTO Blue Box. UTO is entrusted to receive the offerings, and to distribute 100% of what is collected to support innovate mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
For more information on Product:
The Rev. Canon Heather Melton
Staff Officer, The United Thank Offering