United Thank Offering – 2016 ECW Annual Meeting Report
The United Thank Offering celebrated 125 Years of Thanksgivings in 2015. The mission of UTO is two-fold. Its primary mission is to nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessings. The second part is the discovery by those who participate in UTO that thankfulness leads to generosity. And that’s where the blue box come in. Every coin in your box is distributed annually in grants to support mission and ministries. None goes for administration.
Our congregations that participate in the United Thank Offering have declined in recent years. We number 58 congregations and have approximately 8,000 members according to the heading on our diocesan website; however, only 13 congregations contributed to UTO during 2015. Offerings for 2015 totaled $4,661.85. If each person in the diocese offered only one small prayer of thanksgiving a day and accompanied it with just one penny, our thank offerings would total $29,200 annually!
We do have much to be thankful for in this diocese. In 2015 a United Thank Offering grant of $35,800 enabled St. Mary’s, Cadillac to construct a building for a Durable Medical Goods Lending Pantry. In partnership with the greater community, St. Mary’s provides a place where the poor and sick have free access to durable medical equipment.
2016 marks the second year the United Thank Offering Board has awarded 10 grants of up to $2,500 each to support ministries led by young adults. Kellan Day, a member of our diocese, was awarded a $2,500 grant for Manifest: A Journal by Young Adults for the Church. In keeping with the first Mark of Mission – to Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom – this project offers young adults the opportunity to create a project/publication that could help explain why young adults want to reinvent church. By publishing “Manifest,” the young adults throughout the church will be given voice to offer their wisdom, reflections, and input on the state of the Church. Rather than stand in silence, they can choose to use their voices through written form to challenge, encourage, and be an integral part of the Body of Christ.
Please keep in your prayers the people of St. Mark’s, Newago, as they await word in July on their $31,282 UTO grant application. They are taking on the “The Michigan Food Project” challenge presented at our 2015 Diocesan Convention by expanding their current food ministry to include teaching the people they serve how to use the natural resources around them. This “Creation to Table” food ministry will partner with farmers, fishermen, and hunters from the church and wider community. The UTO grant funds, if approved, will be used to make the necessary updates to their kitchen equipment for this ministry.
Thank you to all who donated to the United Thank Offering $30,000 match challenge during Advent 2015 to raise funds for Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM). Over $59,000 was generously donated to the challenge. As a result, a total of $89,054.20 will be dedicated to EMM’s work of welcoming refugees coming to the United States.
For more information on the United Thank Offering in the Diocese of Western Michigan, e-mail Gail Donovan by clicking here now. If your church does not participate in United Thank Offering and would like more information, please contact her. She would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.