United Thank Offering: More than $1 million awarded in 2020 for Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion mission and ministry and young adult, seminarian grants
At its June 2020 meeting, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church approved United Thank Offering (UTO) grants to support seven Young Adult and Seminarian grants, as well as 26 annual grants.
UTO thanks everyone who, through a personal spiritual discipline of gratitude, contributed to the 2019 Ingathering. As a result of this gratitude and generosity, UTO raised $1,548,013.66 in thank offerings. Of this, $30,600 went to support seven Young Adult and Seminarian grants within the focus of Holy Gifts: bringing together our blessings and gifts to breathe love, liberation, and life into our communities. Additionally, UTO awarded 26 grants as a part of the annual grant process that utilizes the remainder of the 2019 Ingathering funds, or $1,484,693.66. This year, the focus of the annual grant process was Bless: Share faith, practice generosity and compassion, and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ with hope and humility.
The UTO Board received almost $3.4 million in requests in 2020. Every penny given to the United Thank Offering is given away the following year to support innovative mission and ministry in The Episcopal Church.
Young Adult and Seminarian Award Recipients.
Young Adult Awards
- Young Adult Christian Development; Seth Stradling, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, $5,000: This project has inductive biblical study (Observation/Interpretation/Application) and relationship building at its foundation to intentionally raise up new generations of leaders. This creates a new formation pathway for mentoring, discipleship, and training of college students and young adults, enabling them to mentor within the growing youth group ministry.
- We Are All Wonderfully Made; Rowan Larson, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, $5,000: To create a website that includes a digital picture book that can be viewed by scrolling through it on a computer or tablet, a parent guide, and a guide to available religious and secular resources about gender identity and expression. This free resource will help share God’s expansive love.
- Increasing Young Adult Involvement in the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio; Evangeline Warren, Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, $5,000: Following a year of reflection and research, the Young Adult Outreach Task force seeks to implement interventions and recommendations to boost young adult involvement in this diocese. This grant will help fund pilot projects for young adult outreach, making new undertakings more feasible across the diocese.
Seminarian (People in Process for Ordination) Awards
- MANNA Housing Recovery Group; Kevin Neil, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, $2,800: This program seeks to reduce loss of housing amongst those who are newly housed and have experienced chronic homelessness by creating spaces of practical education on housing skills, finding emotional resonance for the struggles, and celebrating housing milestones along the way.
- Dove Faith Café; Cynthia Moore, Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, $5,000: The Dove Faith Café is a storytelling event. Speakers share their faith stories on stage with a diverse audience. This powerful platform illustrates how God has moved in their lives while stirring up embers of God’s work in listeners’ own lives. It’s an invitation to connect with God’s own family.
- Pine Ridge Commons; Charlotte Dalwood, Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota, $5,000: Combining evangelism with community development, “Pine Ridge Commons” will transform the seven churches of The Episcopal Church’s Pine Ridge Mission into public spaces at which young adults can gather, form constructive relationships with one another and older mentors, and cultivate practices of Native and Episcopal piety to infuse their daily lives with hope and meaning.
- Prison Choir; Meghan Mazur, Episcopal Diocese of Texas, $2,800: This project will provide a way for prisoners to connect with Christ, one another, and experience community through choral music. Starting a choir with incarcerated persons provides inmates with a chance to experience a way to share their God-given gifts in any circumstances.
UTO Annual Awards
This year the UTO Board received 59 applications and were able to fund 26 grants in the following categories: Historical Grants; Episcopal Church Awards; Anglican Communion Awards.
- Camino Challenge Grant – La Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal – The Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The Anglican Welcome Centre project will establish an ecumenical Anglican presence in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for pilgrims completing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The Center will be a place of worship and rest, where all Anglican/Episcopal clergy will be welcome to celebrate the Eucharist. This grant will support the purchase of the building: $114,232.80
- Global Partnerships, The Episcopal Church – Emery Trust #335 Award: Values & Tools for Mission Engagement
Create online materials—audio, video, and written—to help prepare and support missionaries during the application, discernment, training, service and re-entry process. These materials can be a way to bolster in-person offerings and promote global mission engagement among parishes and dioceses: $63,320
- Evangelism Team, The Episcopal Church – Presiding Bishop’s Award: Rooted in Love: A Way of Love Small Group Experience for an Evangelistic, Discipling, Relational Church
Through “Rooted in Love,” Episcopalians will gather with neighbors and friends to share a meal and grateful prayer; explore a short film and questions about God, belonging and living a meaningful, wonder-filled life through Jesus’ Way of Love; and grow a more evangelistic, discipling and relational culture across the Church: $96,900
- United Thank Offering – Companion with Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts – Julia Chester Emery Internship
The Julia Chester Emery Internship works to empower young women through a year-long program of formation, mentoring, and support. As a partnership between the United Thank Offering and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, the intern will work on personal and professional development in Boston: $39,852.11
Episcopal Church Awards
- Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast – Beloved Community Outreach Center of Mobile: $50,000
- Episcopal Diocese of Chicago – St. Paul’s Sustainable Food Project: $62,000
- Episcopal Diocese of Delaware – The Pain and Prayer Scale Project: a prayer tool for drug- free pain control: $47,975
- Episcopal Diocese of Lexington – Calling a Community Evangelist: $24,925
- Episcopal Church in Minnesota – Companion with Belize – Water to Bless and Build Upon: $101,000
- Episcopal Diocese of Missouri – Grace Gathering: a worship service celebrating diverse abilities: $11,320
- Episcopal Diocese of New York – Companion with Asaba, Nigeria: St. Luke’s Idumuje-Unor – Anglican Children’s Ministry & Young Widows Program: $45,000
- Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina – Flying Lion Transition to Employment: $72,777
- Episcopal Diocese of Northern California – The Playground: $145,000
- Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana – Elkhart Ministry Partnership: $26,625
- Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin – Community Mission Centers of San Joaquin: $82,361.01
- Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida – Companion with Haiti – Water and Sanitation for Bondeau, Haiti: $75,541.54
- Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota – Earth & Altar Magazine: $20,700
- Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio – Sharing Stories of Blessing in Southern Ohio: $33,800
- Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee – Healthy Roots: $21,159.07
- Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina – The Church Street Choral Academy: $53,000
- Episcopal Diocese of Washington – Companion with Masai, Tanzania – St. Catherine’s Secondary School for Girls: $66,868
- Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts – Big Blue Drop-In Center: $36,948
- Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming – And a Little Child Shall Lead Them!: $70,000
Anglican Communion Awards
- Covenant Partner: Philippines, Diocese of Davao – Blingkong Center for Sharing, Peace and Development: $23,306.60
- Bangladesh, Diocese of Dhaka – Building Blessings: Two New and Needed Churches: $80,000
- Burundi, Diocese of Muyinga – Muyinga Hope Center: $51,980
Since the official founding in 1889, UTO has awarded 5,331 grants for a total of $140,177,924.73. (For a complete list of all UTO grants, please visit www.episcopalchurch.org/UTO and click on the Resources tab at the bottom of the page.)
Members of the United Thank Offering Board are: Sherri Dietrich, President; Joyce Landers, Vice-President; Kathy Mank, Financial Secretary; Lorraine Candelario Moctezuma, Appointed Member; Rosamond Daniels, Province III; Caitlyn Darnell, Young Adult Member; Gail Donovan, Province V; Diane Gabbard, Province IV; Sedona Jacobson, Young Adult Member; Jane Jellison, Province I; Hilda Lammar, Province IX; Kate Mietus, Province VIII; Maggie Noland, Province IV, The Rev. Christine Plantz, Province VI; Vernese Smith, Province II; Matthew Cowden, Executive Council Liaison.
For more information contact the Rev. Canon Heather Melton, staff officer for the United Thank Offering.