Gratitude-Based Stewardship Program Materials Now Available!
As I begin my sixth year as the UTO staff officer, I am well overdue in addressing one of the major concerns that I hear when I travel around the Church to talk about UTO and when I talk to UTO coordinators who are feeling discouraged: the concern that, if congregations participate in UTO, then giving to the parish will decrease. Every time I hear this, I tell the story of Bishop Frade who found that the congregations in his diocese that participated in UTO actually had an easier time with their annual stewardship campaigns –gratitude breeds generosity. Doing parish stewardship well has been a lifelong struggle for me as a parish priest. I’ve tried all sorts of things, but the one thing that continues to prove true is that, if we can teach our congregations to operate out of a place of gratitude and reflect on the Church with gratitude, then stewardship is a lot easier. I presented this idea to the clergy of the Diocese of Massachusetts and was grateful that many of them later called to hash out what this might look like. Through their support, the help of congregations where I’ve served as priest, and the UTO Board, I learned a lot about how gratitude, UTO, and stewardship can support one another.
During General Convention, Kathy Mank, the UTO Board financial secretary, and I hosted a workshop on Best Financial Practices and Stewardship. During that workshop, we debuted a new program entitled Building Gratitude and Generosity Together: A Stewardship Guide for Congregations Rooted in Gratitude. This is a complete stewardship program that can be used for a month, six months, or a year. Segments can be used separately, or it can be used in its entirety. We hope that this free resource will help congregations approach stewardship from a place of gratitude and then continue to build on the good work done in the program by instituting UTO. If your parish already participates in UTO, then this program will only enhance the experience of gratitude that UTO has established in your congregation.
I would love your feedback on these resources in order to update and improve them, so if you use them, please let me know what you think and how we can enhance the experience for others. The entire booklet is available for download here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/united-thank-offering-resources.