Welcome to our first e-newsletter! We look forward to telling you more about United Thank Offering and keeping you in the loop about grant stories, webinars, and all things UTO. Through this newsletter, which will be sent out monthly, we hope to share with you ideas for making ingatherings more fun and successful, information about our grants, and the story of this remarkable 126-year-old ministry. Our ultimate goal is for every Episcopalian – man, woman, and child – to learn and practice gratitude.
If you have an idea for UTO, we want to hear it! Here are my contributions: For my 70th birthday, I asked everyone to take a little Blue Box and to fill it with gratitude and money to mark the big event. Also, I recently have been cleaning out my personal library, and I took a bunch of books to our Province VI retreat. My request was for people to take a book and, in return, leave a UTO donation in the little Blue Box. Both ideas grew out of gratitude for all my God-given blessings – of life and of my love of reading.
When you are thankful and you combine your gratitude with prayer, then you are practicing the theology of thankfulness. And that’s what United Thank Offering is all about. We give in gratitude to our little Blue Boxes so that we can give grants to dioceses, parishes, young adults, and seminarians. This creates an endless cycle of gratitude.
Please forward this email to others who might be interested in subscribing to the UTO e-newsletter! (Use the "Forward to a Friend" links in this email.) We promise never to sell contact information or to send spam, and we will send only one email a month. We hope you will enjoy these e-newsletters and be inspired to live a grateful life.
President, United Thank Offering Board
UTO Grant Spotlight
Each month we’ll share a story of a UTO grant site with you. If you have a great UTO grant story to tell, please email our Missioner a photo and article, and we’ll showcase your good work here!
Here’s an update from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia about the 2015 grant to update the kitchen at St. Peter’s Church to improve/change the handling of its food pantry. Now, instead of handing out bags, visitors shop for their groceries and, better yet, can come and have a meal with folks from the church.
Here’s the report from St. Peter’s:
“The congregation hosted the first luncheon for people who come to the food distribution on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, partly in response to the killings of black men and then the killings of police officers that happened earlier in the month throughout the nation. Parishioners wanted to be intentional about sitting down with the people who come to the food distribution, including the black members of our community. Eleven people who come to the food distribution came to the luncheon, including a homeless family with their two young children, two couples, and some older widows in the area. Nine members of St Peter’s came to lunch. Everyone sat together, and two parishioners served each person a homemade meal of barbecue chicken, string beans, macaroni and cheese, fruit, and assorted desserts. At first the conversations were rather awkward, but as the meal went on, everyone
relaxed. Some of the conversation centered around food – what people like to cook and what people like to eat.
“One of the things we hope to accomplish through these luncheons is to figure out the best way to expand our ministry to the community through the use of our kitchen – we want it to truly be a community kitchen. One idea that came out of that first lunch is for people who come to the food distribution to gather in the kitchen and cook their favorite recipes, using ingredients that we provide, so that we all can share cooking hints with one another. Then, we could all eat the food together, or box it up and take it out to people in need in the community. Our ongoing conversations are revealing that the older people like to cook and know how to prepare a variety of foods, while many of the younger people who come to the distribution are not familiar with various types of produce and have no idea how to cook some of the food that we make available to them. Another idea is to have
the older women who love to cook share their knowledge with the people who have never learned about cooking and now have young children who would benefit if their parents learned some of these cooking skills. We also learned that some of the older people who come to the distribution really enjoy having the opportunity to socialize, as some of them live alone and their families are not close by. To provide some sort of ongoing social gatherings for these people centered around our kitchen is another idea that may become a reality. Through these ongoing conversations and gatherings, we hope to continue to pursue peace and reconciliation in our community.
“We are so thankful to the UTO for awarding us the grant that has helped us upgrade our kitchen and has given us new opportunities to carry God’s love out into the world by doing what Jesus asked us to do: ‘Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep.’ We are looking forward to our next luncheon this month with more people from the distribution, when we will gather more ideas. Then, we will be intentional about expanding what we are already doing by bringing some of the ideas that have grown out of these conversations into what we hope will be an ongoing healing, reconciling reality in our community through the expanded use of our kitchen.”
United Thank Offering Best Financial Practices
This webinar will review best financial practices for the United Thank Offering ministry, while addressing local options for congregations and dioceses. We also will share information and answer questions regarding financial practices already in place.
Please join us on:
Monday, September 19, 8 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, September 21, 1 p.m. EDT (Designed for Diocesan Administrators)
Online at https://zoom.us/j/8140408194
or by telephone 415.762.9988, Meeting ID: 814 040 8194
Each year the United Thank Offering Board awards every penny that has been placed in a Blue Box and given at an ingathering. Please encourage all the congregations in your diocese to participate in the United Thank Offering and in the spiritual discipline of placing thank offerings in a Blue Box in order to increase the ingathering and the amount that is awarded each year in grants.
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Now accepting Seminarian and Young Adult Grant applications!
Deadline: Friday, November 4 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Virtual Grant Site Visit – Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, Rome
Tuesday, November 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time
Wednesday, November 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time
Friday, December 2:
2017 UTO Grant application materials available
Saturday, December 31:
Final date for ingathering checks to be counted in 2016
Friday, March 3, 2017, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time:
2017 UTO Grant application submission deadline
Looking for more information?
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Order UTO materials here.