The United Thank Offering is responding to COVID-19
Authored by Joyce Landers, UTO Vice President (St. Mark's, Troy)
The United Thank Offering Board has elected to postpone the upcoming 2021 grant focus of Act: Turn love into action by caring for God’s creation to protect the most vulnerable who will bear the largest burden of pollution and climate change. The new 2021 focus is: Recovering with love and gratitude: An Episcopal Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Local Contexts. The previous focus, centering on creation care, which be used in the 2022 granting cycle.
The goal of the UTO Board is to help individual groups and congregations respond to the needs of their community created by COVID-19. As always, 100% of all ingathering funds will be issued in the form of grants to groups and congregations who are serving their communities out of gratitude. During difficult times like these, practicing gratitude is the best way to help reduce stress and maintain our relationships with each other and God.
Please check out the UTO website and blog to look for newsletter articles and monthly sermons all based on gratitude. In November, there will be a weekly series based on thankfulness which can be used individually or corporately. It is a great way to put giving thanks back into the holiday of Thanksgiving. Our society draws us all into the commercialism of Christmas making it difficult to really appreciate the true meaning. Spending a little time during the month of November practicing thankfulness is an excellent way of centering ourselves on Christ and reminding us of all that we have rather than on what we don’t have.
Because of social distancing and staying at home, it is difficult to hold in person ingatherings at this time. Please check out all of the ways to give to UTO at the end of this article. Your contributions will be recognized as a part of the diocesan ingathering even if you send your money in individually. Keep your box close to you. Try to see the small things around you that make you smile. Getting a green light at a busy intersection, a smile offered by a stranger, a compliment from a co-worker are all things we tend to forget as soon as they happen. Adding to your blue box is one way of recognizing these simple moments as well as the big ones.
The UTO Board understands that many of you have been economically impacted by COVID-19. If you cannot contribute money to your box, add a note or keep a journal. Then, when you are having a bad day, go back and read those notes as a pick me up. When times are better, you can make a financial contribution in honor of those memories.
I am truly blessed and thankful for the honor of serving the church through The United Thank Offering. I appreciate all of you, my friends, and your continued participation and support of UTO. If you have any questions or want to share ideas or ways you have practiced gratitude, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To give to the UTO ingathering, please send your checks to:
The United Thank Offering
PO Box 958983
St. Louis, Mo 63195-8983
OR: Use text to give, text INGATHER to 41444
OR: donate using your credit card at www.unitedthankoffering.org/give/
To learn more about The United Thank Offering, visit www.episcopalchurch.org/united-thank-offering