Updates on the Work of the Board
July marks the end of my first year as president of the United Thank Offering Board. It’s been an exciting, terrifying, meaningful, overwhelming, and wonderful privilege so far, and I think I may be starting to get the hang of it. This also seems like a good time to give an update on what the UTO Board and staff have done in the past year and what we’re thinking about and working on for the next two years.
At the Board’s first face-to-face meeting in November 2018, we set some goals for the triennium; making more of our materials available in Spanish was the first one. Shipping to many Spanish-speaking countries is expensive, time consuming, and unreliable, and we want to ensure that UTO coordinators have materials available when they need them. With the assistance of translators and Lorraine Candelario, our bilingual Board member from Puerto Rico, most of our materials are now available for download from our webpage (unitedthankoffering.com) in both Spanish and English.
Another goal was to support Episcopalian/Anglican scholarship, one of the pillars of Anglicanism. Toward that end, we have been in communication with Bexley Seabury Seminary and Anglican Theological Review (ATR) and are finalizing plans for a scholarly conference on the Theology of Gratitude in partnership with Bexley Seabury, from which we will publish a themed issue of ATRon thankfulness. We all are very excited about this event, which currently is planned for 2020, and the support and enthusiasm from Bexley Seabury and ATRare very encouraging as UTO pursues this very new venture. More details will appear in the e-news as they are finalized.
Partnering with other organizations in the Church to promote both of our ministries is a third goal, and we are inviting those partnerships whenever opportunities arise. The scholarly conference is one example, as is our partnership with Missional Voices in New Orleans this June, where UTO is offering a two-day workshop before the Missional Voices conference. Good partnerships are exciting and inspiring for both partners, and we are grateful for these other workers and their ministries and for the chance to work together.
Later in this issue of the e-news, you will see articles on the UTO Pilgrims on the Camino and the linked UTO Camino Challenge Grant, which will support the creation of an Anglican pilgrim center in Santiago de Compostela so that pilgrims of all faiths can celebrate the Eucharist together at the end of their pilgrimage and enjoy each other’s company as they continue to process and celebrate their journey. This long-time partnership with Spain is close to our hearts, and we are excited about this next step and hope you will be too.
Finally, the 2018 ECW Triennial passed two resolutions that relate to UTO. Because they are ECW resolutions, UTO does not have the authority to initiate this work, but I have been in contact with the National ECW Board president to indicate our eagerness to begin the work together. The UTO Board has appointed the two members who will be on the joint ECW-UTO task force, has given thought to potential “free-floating” members, and has begun to refresh our memory of the joint history of these two organizations and the evolution of our work together. Both the ECW and UTO Boards had many new members join in 2018, and it does take time to consolidate new members into busy board work before asking other things of them, but the UTO Board stands ready to begin this work and get it done before the next triennium in 2021.
Never resting on our past accomplishments or on the way things have always been done, the UTO Board and staff are continually thinking about how to spread UTO’s mission of encouraging grateful lives and sharing our blessings in ever-increasing circles of gratitude. If you have an idea you think would fit UTO’s mission and help us reach more people, please let us know; UTO belongs to and is for the benefit of all Episcopalians, not just the UTO Board!