United Thank Offering

Roanridge UTO Grant

May 1, 2018
United Thank Offering

When I started working with UTO and for the Presiding Bishop, UTO had just completed a study to help evaluate its work and generate ideas for the sustainability and longevity of the ministry. This report, INC-055, has guided much of the work that the UTO Board and staff have undertaken since then. One idea from INC-055 remained elusive, however, due to funding, timing, and simply sorting out how to make it happen. Now, that idea – UTO University – is about to become a reality, thanks to a grant from Roanridge and the ingenuity of Cheii’s Web Development team in Navajoland. Roanridge funds grants that support rural dioceses and churches. This was a natural partner for UTO because we’re building the resource with a rural diocese (Navajoland) and we’re building these resources with small churches in mind, as we know it is challenging for rural and small churches to access faith formation.

UTO University, as outlined in INC-055, is the idea that an online school for UTO was needed not only to support current members and leaders of UTO but also to help new or interested individuals learn more about UTO, including how to create a personal spiritual discipline of gratitude and how to get more involved with UTO. We, the Board and staff, began to address this goal through the webinars that we’ve offered over the years. The struggle with the webinars, and anything that happens in real time, is finding a time that works across time zones. By creating an online resource, individuals, small groups, or even whole congregations will be able to access resources to support their participation in UTO. This space will also allow us to catalog and update resources for those leading UTO in parishes and congregations and create space to share ideas and support for those leading or participating in UTO, or anyone who simply wants to know more.

We’ll begin building this online resource after General Convention, so if you have ideas about an online class or a resource that you would like to see, please let us know.

Roanridge was a working farm in Missouri that was donated by the Cochel family to The Episcopal Church to provide a unique setting in which Episcopal clergy, seminarians, and laypeople could develop an understanding of farming operations and rural community structure. Through educational programs such as conferences, seminars, and institutes, the nonprofit corporation that managed Roanridge sought to help Episcopal clergy and laity better serve communities in rural and small-town America. The farm was eventually sold, and the Roanridge Trust was established. The interest generated from the Roanridge Trust is specifically to be used for the training of town and country clergy and rural Christian workers of The Episcopal Church. Each year, the Roanridge Trust generates approximately $160,000 to be distributed in grants.

The Rev. Cn.
Heather Melton

Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

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