African Palms is an outreach ministry of St. John's Episcopal Church. The ministry provides palm crosses for us by churches, schools, hospitals, prisons, and book stores, for use on Palm Sunday and other special occasions. The crosses are individually hand-woven by villagers in Masasi, Tanzania and are made from the dried leaves of the dwarf palm.
African Palms was founded in 1965 by Father Alan Talbot. Having served as a missionary in Tanzania, Father Talbot observed the poverty of the people and sought ways to help them increase their income. He encouraged the villagers to weave palm crosses which would be sold to churches for use on Palm Sunday.
In 1976, St. John's accepted the mission of distributing the palm crosses to churches throughout the United States; African Palms USA was born and is now a major outreach ministry of the church. The sale of palm crosses is currently limited to wholesale distributors only. Net proceeds from the sales are directed towards funding basic humanitarian aid in Tanzania. The ministry is also developing other means, such as micro-loans that will directly benefit our brothers and sisters in the region.
African Palms awards grants for use in projects that benefit the entire community. The ministry funds projects in close partnership with verifiable organizations. Projects are based on need and are funded from the net sales of palm crosses and totes, along with 100% of donations received.
Projects funded in recent years include: