How do we spell gratitude? U-T-O!
The 2017 UTO (United Thank Offering) campaign was launched on Sunday, October 1st. Having grown from the inspiration of church women in 1889, the UTO campaign of prayer and offering is now supported throughout the Episcopal Church. We are encouraged to keep our boxes, (available in the back of the church for pick-up) in a prominent place reminding us to make prayers of gratitude part of our daily routine. Always having a coin (or more) to insert is optional. Should you prefer to make a contribution without a box, special offering envelopes are also available. Our Ingathering for this year's campaign will happen during the service on November 19, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when an additional collection will also be made.
Funds collected at Emmanuel are joined with offerings collected in congregations around the Episcopal Church. In recent years the total offering has been between two and a half and three million $US, all of which is used for projects in Dioceses in the US and missions supported by Episcopalians around the world. The renovation of our kitchen in the Emmanuel Church Parish Hall was another recipient of UTO funding. In 2017, grants included support in building and renovating schools in Jordan, Uganda and Haiti and reconciliation and peace building centers in Burundi, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Spain. The smallest grant was $1,500 to help purchase gas stoves for recently homeless families to use in a temporary home supported by the St. Stephens Church in West Valley City, Utah. The largest ($75,000) went to the Diocese of Spain to purchase and renovate their Emmaus House, a Pamplona Youth Center providing a safe place for youth in the region of Navarra.
Grants are also made especially for Projects of Young Adults and Seminarians. The materials for the 2018 granting have just become available with a focus on “The Jesus Movement: Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care”.
In our church budget, UTO, is considered a part of our Outreach commission's work, but one could consider UTO as both Outreach and Inreach in that through our prayerful offerings we both support ourselves in deepening faith, as well as others through monetary support of worldwide UTO projects. Making daily prayers of gratitude is one of the best ways to increase our personal sense of well-being but also in recent years, the funds collected have been granted to projects of Emmanuel Church and other sister churches in our Convocation. Please give generously and let it be a reminder of your own gratitude.