United Thank Offering Announces 2020 Grant Awards
The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast to receive 2020 UTO Grant
[Pensacola, FL / Mobile, AL — July 16, 2020] United Thank Offering announced the grant recipients for the 2020 granting year, and we are excited to share that the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast will receive funding for the Becoming Beloved Community Outreach Center. The focus of the granting process this year was Bless: Share faith, practice generosity and compassion, and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ with hope and humility.
Becoming Beloved Community Outreach Center
The Beloved Community Outreach Center of Mobile proclaims the Jubilee year Good News of God’s peace and blessing through story-sharing meals, arts, wellness, formation, and worship among those racial, cultural and ethnic groups our church historically excluded and existing Episcopal congregations in and surrounding the Midtown Neighborhood. The Center is an initiative focusing on relationship-building around a meal at a pay-as-you’re-able café. This neighborhood gathering place is one where people of diverse backgrounds come together to nurture body and soul, initially through shared meal and storytelling. Café hosts are evangelism catalysts trained to seek out those who are marginalized and local church leaders with an initial invitation to this unique café where they can name their stories of love, challenge, blessing, and injustice. The invitation to deeper relationship comes through adaptation of 12-step groups where all discover opportunities to mutually give and serve, sharing faith and resources. This new ministry is an outgrowth of the past five years in which the diocese has been working toward a vision of life together in which we, as the Body of Christ, are transforming people from members into disciples, moving more deeply into God's call to life and ministry, and extending our mission beyond the status quo. Over the past few years we’ve focused on developing leaders for evangelism and mission engagement. Through the DataStory Evangelism Project (2018-2019), a team of 12 diocesan leaders prioritized an evangelism opportunity with neighbors in Mobile for new ministry development out of existing congregations.
"The UTO Board is very excited about the 2020 grant recipients. Each project provides opportunities for the church to share how their experience of faith has impacted them and invite their community to experience the love and hope of The Episcopal Church. These projects demonstrate how when our congregations work together with our communities; we are stronger together," shared Joyce Landers, Grant Committee Convener for the UTO Board.
The UTO funds will be used to hire a full-time missioner in October 2020 to lead the Mobile community so that long-term, stable, consistent local leadership can support the launch of a project like this which is deeply rooted in relational evangelism that reaches beyond church walls and existing congregational leaders.
United Thank Offering Funding
Every penny given to the United Thank Offering is given away the following year to support innovative mission and ministry in the Episcopal Church. The UTO Board received almost $3.4 million dollars in requests in 2020. Through the gratitude and generosity of those who contributed through Blue Box donations, UTO awarded over $1.5 million in grants.
After awarding $30,600 to Young Adult and Seminarian grants, UTO utilized the remainder of the 2019 Ingathering to fund 26 projects, including three grants which the Board awarded in honor of the legacy and commitment of UTO to supporting missionaries (and utilizing the Emery Trust Fund), educating church leaders and raising up female leadership in the church.
The United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Through UTO, individuals are invited to embrace and deepen a personal daily spiritual discipline of gratitude. UTO encourages people to notice the good things that happen each day, give thanks to God for those blessings and make an offering for each blessing using a UTO Blue Box. UTO is entrusted to receive the offerings, and to distribute the 100% of what is collected to support innovative mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
For more information on UTO:
The Rev. Canon Heather Melton
Staff Officer, The United Thank Offering