The United Thank Offering is a personal and family devotional program of The Episcopal Church. It is a practice in our life in Christ that begins with daily prayers and gifts of thanksgiving. These gifts of thanksgiving – coins and bills dropped in the UTO Blue Box – from each individual (man, woman and child) are combined with others at parish and diocesan celebrations and finally within all of The Episcopal Church. The Offerings totaling nearly $3 million each year (January through December 31) are given away in the form of grants. These grants continue to support and strengthen the mission and ministry of the Church throughout the world. Every penny of the Offerings is allocated each year for granting.
The mission of the
United Thank Offering 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.
The United Thank Offering Prayer
GRACIOUS GOD, source of all creation, all love, all true joy: accept, we pray, these outward signs of our profound and continuing thankfulness for all of life. Keep each of us ever thankful for all the blessings of joy and challenge that come our way. Bless those who will benefit from these gifts through the outreach of the United Thank Offering. This we ask through Him who is the greatest gift and blessing of all, Jesus Christ. Amen
United Thank Offering Emblem
The United Thank Offering emblem above shows the UTO symbol superimposed over the Episcopal Church shield, showing that United Thank Offering is an integral part of the Episcopal Church.
Diocesan UTO Alms Basin
A very large and beautiful alms basin, made of sterling silver donated by women of the diocese many years ago, is used for the United Thank Offering Ingathering at the Diocesan Episcopal Church Women’s Annual Meeting each spring. Any parish in the diocese may borrow this alms basin for use at its ingatherings. The UTO alms basin can be reserved by contacting the Diocesan UTO Coordinator. It is kept at the Diocesan House in Savannah and anyone borrowing it is responsible for collecting and returning it to the Diocesan House.
Who provides the leadership for United Thank Offering?
The Church UTO Coordinator. Almost every parish in the 7,000 + Episcopal congregations has a volunteer who is the church UTO coordinator. This volunteer provides the education and programs to her parish and plans the spring and fall ingathering services. Church UTO coordinators play a vital role in educating their parishioners to the prayer and practice of the United Thank Offering.
The Diocesan UTO Coordinator. Each diocese has a UTO coordinator who supports the parish UTO coordinators with materials and information. They also help screen the grant requests within their diocese and research those that are forwarded to the UTO Committee.
Here in the Diocese of Georgia, the coordinator receives the spring and fall ingathering offerings from the churches in the diocese, records these offerings, and mails a check in the amount of these offerings to the New York office. She holds a UTO workshop in conjunction with the ECW Annual Meeting each spring and represents UTO at the Diocesan Convention each February and the Province IV Women’s Conference each June. Also, she attends the Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women where she attends UTO and other leadership workshops.
The UTO Coordinator for the Diocese of Georgia (2014-2017) is:
2508 Sheraton Drive
Augusta, GA 30906
The UTO Committee. On the national level, members of the UTO Committee establish policies and make granting decisions. Each triennium, the UTO Committee is made up of one person selected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and three members elected by the former Committee to serve as members at large.
UTO Committee expenses are paid from trust fund earnings, which are separate from the offerings. The UTO office and staff are supported by the general budget of the Episcopal Church USA and are located at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City.
UTO materials are available for you to use to help encourage participation in the United Thank Offering. Twice a year (February and August) an envelope containing a letter, order form, and sample UTO materials is sent to each church. Current materials are available at the UTO website (www.episcopalchurch.org/uto.htm).
UTO materials available include the following items:
? Bulletin Covers
? Bulletin Inserts
? Grant List
? Memorial and Gift Brochures
? Offering Envelopes
? PowerPoint Presentation
? United Thank Offering Handbook (available in English or Spanish)
? UTO & Me brochure (available in English or Spanish)
The Diocesan UTO Coordinator does not keep these materials on hand for distribution to the parishes.
Ways to Encourage and Support UTO
? Use the UTO Resource and Devotional Booklet
? Use the video, Turning Lives Around
? Use the Sunday School Activity Sheets
? Have UTO boxes on tables
? Order the Home Devotional Brochure for your congregation
? Have Offering Envelopes in the pews on Ingathering Sunday
? Keep posters up
? Mention UTO in the bulletin, perhaps print a meditation for quiet time
? Print some sample prayers or blessing in your bulletin
? Give a UTO report al all ECW meetings. Remind them that this is a women’s ministry of giving thanks to God for daily blessings
? Publish your parish’s latest giving amount
? Let the congregation know where the money is used
? Name the UTO in the Prayers of the People; say, “for the mission and ministry of the United Thank Offering.”
? Distribute bookmarks
? Compile a list of thanksgivings for your parish
? Ask the choir director to sing the UTO hymn
? Use the UTO prayer
? Set up a UTO table at an upcoming function
? Ask your rector or vicar to promote UTO
? Go to the UTO web site, www.episcopalchurch.org/uto.htm (this is a super resource!)
? Order UTO materials online at www.anthology.com/episcopalresourcecenter/ (click “Parish Resources) or call the Episcopal Books & Resources at (800) 903-5544. Many of these are free, the rest are extremely inexpensive.
Guidelines for Church UTO Coordinators
Guidelines for church UTO coordinators can be found in the United Thank Offering HANDBOOK. This handbook is a treasure of information about UTO and is available through the UTO website (www.episcopalchurch.org/uto.htm).
The following is a suggested timetable for important church UTO coordinator tasks and events unique to the Diocese of Georgia:
INGATHERING DATES Spring Ingathering – Sunday before or nearest Ascension.
(Suggested) Fall Ingathering – Sunday closest to All Saints Day.
UTO Workshop This training and sharing time for church UTO coordinators and supporters of UTO is led by the diocesan UTO coordinator and is held during the ECW Annual Meeting each spring. It is important that all church coordinators attend this meeting.
As Soon as Possible Coordinate the dates for your Ingathering Services with your priest and/or worship committee. Be sure the dates are included on the church calendar! Request that a separate offering for UTO be collected and that a sermon be given on mission (UTO).
Order the supplies that you will need for Spring and Fall Ingatherings at lest six weeks in advance.
Publicize – it is your responsibility to inform the congregation about United Thank Offering and what it does throughout the world.
Have UTO Blue Boxes, brochures and other materials available at all times.
Put announcements in your church newsletters, bulletins, and website often.
Post lists of UTO grants and posters on the church bulletin board.
(More suggestions can be found in the UTO Handbook.)
Month Before Ingathering Include a paragraph about the UTO Ingathering in your church newsletter and enclose a Blue Offering Envelope.
Ask parishioners to make checks payable to your church or ECW and earmarked for UTO so offerings can be deposited in your local account.
Secure ushers for the UTO collection.
Arrange to use the Diocesan UTO Alma Basin, if desired.
Sunday Before Ask your priest to announce at all services that UTO Ingathering
Ingathering will be held the following Sunday and that Blue Boxes and Blue Offering Envelopes will be collected at that time.
Have extra UTO Blue Boxes and UTO Blue Offering Envelopes available now.
Ingathering Sunday Place extra UTO Blue Offering Envelopes in each pew.
Provide ushers for UTO collection (identify by having them wear the UTO emblem and/or blue ribbons or UTO scarves.
After the service, collect the UTO envelopes, boxes, checks, and cash.
Make an accurate record of the collections. If possible, list names and amounts of contributions (this is for your church and ECW records).
Deposit collection, plus any late contributions, in a UTO, ECW, or church account earmarked FOR UTO ONLY. NOTE: Some people will be late in giving, so check with your church secretary or treasurer to be sure you have received and recorded any late offerings.
One Month After Within one month after your Ingathering, you are responsible
Ingathering for sending (or seeing that your ECW or church treasurer sends) ONE CHECK ONLY for the total amount collected for UTO and made payable to United Thank Offering.
Your check should be mailed to:
2508 Sheraton Drive
Augusta, GA 30906
Deadlines for Ingathering checks to be sent to the diocesan UTO coordinator are:
Spring Ingathering – June 30
Fall Ingathering – November 30
It is very important that checks reach the diocesan coordinator in plenty of time for her to record and deposit the checks and send one check from the Diocese to the national UTO office in time to be included in the current year’s grant awards. (Spring ingathering monies earn significant interest when deposited into UTO investment accounts as early as possible. This interest earned increases the amount of monies available each year for granting.)
United Thank Offering Grant Criteria
2012 UNITED THANK OFFERING GRANT CRITERIA
THE MISSON OF THE UNITED THANK OFFERING 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.
United Thank Offering (UTO) monies will be granted in support of programs within the dioceses of The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion that address compelling human needs, supporting alleviation of poverty both domestically and internationally and focusing on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) overseas.
UTO supports projects:
• That are expended during the twelve months following grant award;
• That are significant in nature
• That are new work or an expansion of existing work;
• That give special attention to women and children;
• That are a part of provincial or diocesan planned mission strategy; and
• In which the UTO participation is clearly identifiable.
Every application must:
• Demonstrate involvement, including financial support, by an entity of TEC and/or the world wide Anglican Communion;
• Be complete, with all required attachments;
• Include a current operating budget for the implementing organization as well as the detailed project budget for the grant request.
The UTO will not fund:
• Capital fund campaigns or debt reductions. A capital fund campaign is understood to be a general campaign to raise money for a large or comprehensive project in which it is not clearly evident what difference a UTO grant will make and in which it is not clearly evident the project will be completed within the twelve months for which the award is made.
• Continuing operational budgets, meaning the proposed budget and program is the same or similar as the year before, the only difference being UTO as the new source of funding;
• Debts obligated or incurred before the date of the grant award;
• Deferred maintenance
• Purchase of consumable supplies (e.g. food, medicine, paper goods, toiletries, fuel);
• Contracted or professional services for individuals or families (e.g. dental care, therapy, housing);
• A commercial venture or enterprise, a for profit body, or a non-profit individual or group without a legally responsible governing body;
• Scholarships or tuition either directly for individuals or indirectly through organizations; this includes camperships and attendance incentives;
• Proposals that can find adequate funding elsewhere, including capital improvements for which loans are possible;
• Emergency response;
• 15 passenger vans, due to liability and safety issues.
In Episcopal Dioceses within the United States, UTO will not fund:
• Previously funded requests;
• Total Cost of Vehicles—one-half is maximum.
• Capital improvements that do not expand capacity to meet compelling human need or mission and ministry need for women and children;
• Programs regarded to be diocesan operating budgets;
Applying for a Grant in the Diocese of Georgia
The Episcopal Church Women’s United Thank Offering (UTO) fund annually awards grants to numerous worthy organizations and projects throughout the Church. The bishop may submit up to two applications from the diocese. There are often more than two organizations that would like to submit an application. In order to prioritize, the bishop meets with the UTO Grant Committee of the Diocesan ECW in November to review the short form applications. The two applicants meeting all the prerequisites of the UTO grant policy and who, in the committee’s opinion, have the greater need, will be sent the long form applications to be completed and submitted from the Diocese of Georgia.
The following timetable is currently applicable:
September – October Short form applications to be submitted to the Diocesan UTO Grant Committee
November The Diocesan UTO Grant Committee and the bishop select two applicants to complete the long form application (which will be mailed from the diocesan office)
December – Mid-January Long form applications are to be returned to the diocesan office for bishop’s signature and comments
Mid to Late January Applications submitted from diocesan office to national UTO office (postmarked no later than 31 January)
SHORT FORM APPLICATION
If the project/organization wishing to request a UTO grant falls within the perimeter of the prerequisites listed in the grant policy, it will need to provide the Diocesan UTO Grant Committee the following:
• A brief outline of the project or organization, including the financial support and participation of the local Episcopal churches; the specific reason for this grant.
• Policy statement of the organization.
• A brief financial statement, summarizing the current year’s budget.
• Past UTO grants received, if any (include year & purpose).
• Other foundations from which grants for the upcoming year are being requested.
• Information should be sent to the bishop at 611 E. Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401-1296, ATTN: Gayle Dawson, UTO Grant (postmarked no later than 31 October), with a copy to Marcie Cherau, Diocesan UTO Coordinator, 382 Balboa Dr., Poinciana, FL 34759 . Application may be sent to the diocesan office or emailed to email@example.com