In Case You Missed It…
- UTO Database
At General Convention, we launched our brand-new membership database. Thank you to everyone who has already uploaded their current information! This database will help us track what congregations are participating in UTO and better communicate with members and leaders. With that said, the database is only as good as the data in it, so we need your help to keep it current. Please use this link to upload your information or to update it whenever there are any changes in your life or in the leadership of UTO in your parish or diocese. Click here to register and/or update your information.
- 2019 Young Adult and Seminarian Grant Applications Now Available!
By Joyce Landers, UTO Board Vice President
The United Thank Offering Board has made some big changes to the Young Adult and Seminarian Grant process. UTO has been offering these grants for several years now, and your prayers of thanksgiving have supported some really great projects. We are committed to continuing this process because we believe these two groups are important to the continuing ministry of the Church. Young adults and seminarians are excited about ministry and have great, innovative ideas that help our Church take our ministry in new directions. In order to improve our support of these two important granting opportunities, the Board has decided to increase the amounts available from $2,500 to $5,000. The total number of grants to be awarded will be decreased from 10 each to five each. With an increase in the Ingathering funds, we believe we can increase the number of grants awarded in the future. The Board is very excited about these changes because we believe they will increase interest and participation in the process.
Another big change that has been made is that seminarian grants will now be made available to students in diocesan and regional schools of ministry. The UTO Board understands that more new clergy are choosing diocesan and regional schools because of the financial burdens of seminary, as well as the impact that moving can have on their families. We are enthusiastic about supporting all of our future clergy in their ministry.
Applications and other important documents were made available on August 1, 2018, and can be found at www.episcopalchurch.org/uto. Applications are due Friday, November 2, 2018, at 5 p.m. Eastern time. UTO highly recommends submitting your application to your diocesan office at least two weeks prior to this date to allow time for your bishop to read your application, offer comments, and sign it. We also recommend early submission to Formstack, which gives UTO Staff Officer the Rev. Canon Heather Melton an opportunity to scan it for missing documents or signatures.
- 2019 UTO Grant Process Webinars
By the UTO Grant Committee
In order to help people plan, we are releasing the dates for all webinars associated with the grant processes now. Webinars are a great way to learn about the application and submission process, to gain clarity on the focus and criteria for the application, and to ask specific questions about your application. You are welcome to attend as many webinars as you would like. If you cannot make any of the webinars for your grant process, you can still email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org help at any time during the process.
Young Adult and Seminarian (YAS!) Grant applications and materials are available from the first Friday in August through the first Friday in November at www.episcopalchurch.org/uto. Awarded grants will be announced and paid in February 2019.
UTO Annual Grant applications and materials are available from the first Friday in December through the first Friday in March at www.episcopalchurch.org/uto. Awarded grants will be announced and paid in June 2019.
Applicants and those supporting applicants through the Annual Grant process should join us for one (or more) of the following webinars on Zoom: Tuesday, January 15, at noon and 8 p.m. Eastern time, and Wednesday, February 13, at noon and 8 p.m. Eastern time.
All webinars are held using Zoom
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/8140408194
Or via iPhone one-tap in the U.S.: +16468769923,,8140408194# or +16699006833,,8140408194#
Or via telephone by dialing: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 814 040 8194
International numbers are available here: https://zoom.us/u/brmt6scCY
- Gratitude-Based Stewardship Program Materials Now Available!
By the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering
As I begin my sixth year as the UTO staff officer, I am well overdue in addressing one of the major concerns that I hear when I travel around the Church to talk about UTO and when I talk to UTO coordinators who are feeling discouraged: the concern that, if congregations participate in UTO, then giving to the parish will decrease. Every time I hear this, I tell the story of Bishop Frade who found that the congregations in his diocese that participated in UTO actually had an easier time with their annual stewardship campaigns – gratitude breeds generosity. Doing parish stewardship well has been a lifelong struggle for me as a parish priest. I’ve tried all sorts of things, but the one thing that continues to prove true is that, if we can teach our congregations to operate out of a place of gratitude and reflect on the Church with gratitude, then stewardship is a lot easier. I presented this idea to the clergy of the Diocese of Massachusetts and was grateful that many of them later called to hash out what this might look like. Through their support, the help of congregations where I’ve served as priest, and the UTO Board, I learned a lot about how gratitude, UTO, and stewardship can support one another.
During General Convention, Kathy Mank, the UTO Board financial secretary, and I hosted a workshop on Best Financial Practices and Stewardship. During that workshop, we debuted a new program entitled Building Gratitude and Generosity Together: A Stewardship Guide for Congregations Rooted in Gratitude.This is a complete stewardship program that can be used for a month, six months, or a year. Segments can be used separately, or it can be used in its entirety. We hope that this free resource will help congregations approach stewardship from a place of gratitude and then continue to build on the good work done in the program by instituting UTO. If your parish already participates in UTO, then this program will only enhance the experience of gratitude that UTO has established in your congregation.
I would love your feedback on these resources in order to update and improve them, so if you use them, please let me know what you think and how we can enhance the experience for others. The entire booklet is available for download here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/united-thank-offering-resources.
UPDATE: If you would like the stewardship materials as a Word document so you can edit them, please follow this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/smaqo60jit8cteb/UTO%20Stewardship%20Guide%20FI....