The United Thank Offering (UTO) has been an important ministry of the Episcopal Church USA since 1889. A UTO grant of 1500 dollars helped build our own St. Stephen’s Church in the 1960s. In 2006, a $66,000 grant built a new safe docking system at Camp Cross. These are just samples of the many UTO grants our diocese has received over the years.
The Mission of the United Thank Offering
The mission of the UTO is to expand the circle of thankful people. To achieve this mission, we encourage daily prayers, offerings, and awareness of the abundance of God’s blessings. Also, the UTO has a new a vision beginning in 2009. “We will focus particularly on projects that implement significant change toward alleviating profound human suffering that the Millennium Development Goals address. Our work will directly impact the lives of women and children, and will continue our historic mission to address compelling human need and we will significantly impact the lives of women and children because of Christ’s love.”
The UTO coordinator for St. Stephen’s is St. Stephen’s parishioner, Mary Kay Ferrell. The new coordinator for the Diocese of Spokane is Becky Robins from Yakima. Her email is email@example.com
We have an active UTO program. There is literature in the racks in the narthex telling some of the highlights of its history. If you have questions or want more detailed information, please contact Mary Kay Ferrell at firstname.lastname@example.org
UTO is unique. It is not fund-raiser and does not compete with building funds, landscape fund drives, or other fund raising projects. UTO and ERD (Episcopal Relief and Development) are complementary and important ministries of the Church. They are not in competition. United Thank Offering is all about prayer. Everyone is encouraged to take a UTO “Blue Box” or several boxes home. Put one on your kitchen counter, the bedside table, in the car, or in the laundry room. Each day, when you say thank you to God, say a little prayer of thanks and put an offering, large or small, in the box. The amount doesn’t matter. It is a way to focus on our blessings in a tangible way. This is a wonderful way to teach children the habit of prayerful gratitude. Some families have a ritual of sharing their blessings of the day each evening and making an offering.
Money from our Blue Boxes is collected at “Ingathering Sundays” and forwarded to the National UTO, where, after research and prayer, the grants for the year are awarded—sometimes totaling nearly $3 Million! Each diocese may submit one grant chosen by the bishop. The grant applications are available from the bishop’s office in October.