The United Thank Offering in Georgia
As the Diocese of Georgia anticipates their Revival, United Thank Offering grant sites within the diocese are already hard at work reviving their communities in a number of capacities. Two grant sites in particular, Epiphany Community Organizing and Revival host Honey Creek Retreat Center, take the call for evangelism, reconciliation, and creation care to heart.
Epiphany Community Organizing received their UTO grant in 2017, making them a more recent recipient. Nevertheless, they have already made an impact on their community through grassroots organizing and asset-based community development training in Savannah, Ga.
The Episcopal Church is hosting a series of revivals in 2018 and beyond. Learn more here.
The goal for Epiphany is to encourage young people in the community to facilitate social change and bring together organizations that typically work in silos to build up a whole comprehensive impact. Epiphany reported engagement with 250-500 young adult leaders, artists, and change-makers in the Savannah area, and they host Education for Ministry trainings and neighborhood potlucks.
Another aim for this grant site was the creation of a curriculum and summer internship to further train young adults for the ministries of discipleship and faith-based activism. Epiphany is taking our call to evangelize and giving it new life through young advocates for social progress.
The Revival will be hosted by Honey Creek Retreat Center, which received a UTO grant in 2016 to bolster their Ecology Center. Creation Care has been a priority initiative for the presiding bishop, and Honey Creek has played a role in that mission.
In addition to necessary repairs, the purpose of their grant was to bring their community closer in touch with God’s creation. Honey Creek, located on the ecological unique Georgia coast (where marshland meets maritime forest), recognizes the value of understanding the interdependence within creation and how we can be better stewards of our environment. Honey Creek planned to implement an heirloom garden to promote biodiversity and install a composting toilet system through their grant.
Of course, there is a theological component at work in both of these sites. Through Epiphany, community members can emulate the radical, change-making life of Jesus, who broke down barriers and worked to lift up the voices of outcasts. At Honey Creek, visitors can experience the wonder of God’s creation in an interactive and educational setting, seeing up-close how nature functions.
These two grants sites are small and powerful examples of gratitude at work: United Thank Offering Blue Box donations given in remembrance of blessings go on to fund these ministries that, in turn, bless the communities where they are located and teach others to be grateful, whether through the transformative work of community organizing or the restorative gift of nature.