Cathedral Women Ann Schultz is coordianting the Christ Church Cathedral United Thank Offering ingathering for 2017. We sat down to ask her a little bit about the program.
What is the United Thank Offering?
UTO is a mission of the Episcopal Church created in 1889 to benefit need both in the US and internationally. It is not really a fundraiser but is designed to be a discipline in the daily lives of Episcopalians to offer prayers of Thanksgiving for our many blessings while giving grateful offerings to those in need.
How does CCC participate? Is this something Cathedral Women have always done, or is it a recent ministry?
I don’t have the answer about how long Cathedral Women have participated but it is nothing new. UTO was started in 1889 by two women to support specific missions and missionaries. As a women’s group it is still important to us and Cathedral Women will match donations up to $1,500. Cathedral Women designate one Sunday per year as UTO Ingathering. The traditional blue boxes used for daily offerings of thanksgiving, checks and cash are collected that day.
What kind of ministries does UTO support?
Here are a few examples:
A grant was awarded to an Early Childhood Development Program for ages 1-4 in the Diocese of Georgia to support homeless children to ensure they enter Kindergarten prepared to succeed.
The Diocese of Jerusalem was awarded a grant to renovate the intensive care, pediatric and neonatal and pharmacy units of a hospital. This hospital serves the many poor and marginalized communities surrounding the hospital.
The Diocese of Southwest Florida was awarded a grant to design and implement a new computer and IT course to students at the Centro Social Anglicano in Brazil. The course creates opportunities and incentives as an alternative to crime and drugs outside the school.
There are even more examples of the programs supported by our UTO donations available online.
Are there any UTO ministries in Indy that have received a UTO grant?
In 2015 St. Alban’s in the Diocese of Indianapolis received a grant for a farm manager to supervise planting and cultivating a community farm in front of the church. Volunteers maintain the farm which has crosses bearing the names of anyone in Indianapolis who is murdered. The fresh produce is distributed through local food pantries and they refuse any payment for their food. Opportunities are provided for the community, victim’s families, inner city youth and police officers to work side by side for a common purpose.
What are you thankful for in your life?
I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends; for the Christian upbringing, love, stability and discipline provided by my parents; for Christ Church Cathedral for providing me with opportunities for worship, fellowship and service in so many ways and last but not least I am thankful I live in a free country.
Why is it important to give daily thanks? Is this different from giving thanks to God at church or being thankful at Thanksgiving?
Everyone gives thanks to God at church and on Thanksgiving day but daily thanks is more difficult and a more personal communication with God. It is easy to focus on the frustrations of life and negative things that happen all around us in our daily lives. It takes concentration to block those thoughts with prayers of thanksgiving for the countless blessing given to us. God is with us daily.