All Things UTO
All Things UTO
Sandra Squires, President United Thank Offering Board
Let me tell you about a couple of UTO events—one local and one not so local. First the story of Amy Churchill, member of St. Augustine’s of Canterbury in Elkhorn, who has recently taken over the job of UTO parish coordinator. Amy is a wife and mother of two adorable little girls, and had her first experience with the entire cycle of implementing UTO—she visited Sunday school classes, got bulletin inserts where they needed to be and did an AWESOME job with Ingathering Sunday. We even wore blue clothes to church to celebrate the historic UTO Blue Boxes.
Amy made it so much fun, and yesterday she even sat with me to talk to a new UTO parish coordinator and her priest. It was a privilege to work with her and probably one of the most fun parts of my job as President of the UTO is connecting with new coordinators to share the excitement of this great ministry.
The “not-so-local” part of my life the last few months has been the review of grant requests for UTO funds. Grant requests come in from the United States and all over the world—many from places of great poverty and need, but where someone has a vision of making the world a better place to the glory of God.
I can’t tell you about this year’s grants because they haven’t been announced yet, but I can tell about a couple of examples of past Nebraska grants that have touched people’s lives in different ways. In celebration of 125 years of ministry, our UTO staff person, The Rev. Heather Melton, compiled a list of all the 5122 grants that had been awarded between 1883 and 2015. Here is the link: https://uto2014.wordpress.com/granting/complete-list-of-united-thank-offering-grants-1883-2015/
If you are a history buff, you will love reading this list! Nebraska is in Province 6. Last summer I found a grant awarded to my church, St. Augustine’s (Elkhorn) in 1984 for $4,000 “to assist volunteer efforts of a mission parish as it converts a barn to a church building.” How exciting is that!
Last year one of UTO’s most important grant awards was “Friends of Tamar,” awarded to Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, grant number 5100. This awesome project is “to challenge violence against women and pursue peace and reconciliation.” If you had the opportunity to hear Teresa Houser speak at Annual Council this past fall or to collect suitcases for Friends of Tamar, you know this ministry is in good hands. UTO is the proud sponsor of a part-time staff position for Friends of Tamar.
From buildings to staff positions, UTO gives the money you give in thanksgiving to others through grants. I thank you for the daily reminders of prayer of thanksgiving for those small and large blessings in our lives that you manifest by dropping a coin or a bill in your Little Blue Box. Remember, every penny given to your blue box goes to grants.