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November, 2017

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first article photo.jpgNovember: Saints, Turkeys, and Opportunities for Grateful Reflection

by the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

It’s November, which means that we’ve all survived the sugar rush of Halloween. The scarecrow I built with my kids, which made me think someone was looking inside my window every single time I went into the kitchen, is now, thankfully, a thing of the past. As I was pulling fake cobwebs from my bushes, I began to think about how in November we are truly set up to think about and deepen our commitment to gratitude. We begin with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, when we remember the saints of the church and of our lives, and then we end with Thanksgiving and Christ the King Sunday. November, from beginning to end, is an opportunity to think differently about the world – to reset, refocus, and remember those things that are important.


Joyce Landers.jpgAnxiety is Overcome by Gratitude

by Joyce Landers, Province IV Representative, UTO Board

“Anxiety is overcome by gratitude.” A friend shared this quote on Facebook one day and I liked it. I shared with several friends but soon forgot about it. I didn’t even really think that hard about it. It is something we all do – share the wise words and then forget them. Several weeks later, I was given a powerful example of the meaning of this statement.


New UTO Materials Available!

Over the past few weeks, a lot of new materials have become available on our website and in the distribution center. We wanted to make you aware of a few of them.

Click here to see the new brochures, prayers, and boxes >>

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UTO Reads!

Advent Read-Along Challenge: Gratitude Works! By Robert A. Emmons

by the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

This month, I want to introduce a book that’s been sitting on my shelf and invite you to read (and journal) along with me during Advent. Advent this year is 21 days, so it’s perfect for this challenge – a 21-day program for deepening gratitude. It’s also a perfect time to read together about gratitude because often there is so much to give thanks for during December and so much to do that we often forget to simply stop, be present, and be grateful.


Grant Site Update: Rock Point, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

Garden.jpgby the Rev. Jackie Arbuckle, Deacon

The overarching purpose of our UTO grant was to gather people from a wide and diverse cross-section of the larger community to help “jump-start” the three-year Land Use and 10-year Forestry Plans. We originally planned to have two half-time coordinators for six months: one for the gardens at Rock Point and another just for volunteers. Instead, we unexpectedly found one person who was qualified and able to serve in both positions, so we combined them, with the coordinator working part-time for some months and full-time for others.


Thanksgiving Gratitude Scavenger Hunts!

The Rev. Canon Heather Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

If you’re like me, you might want to have some ideas for how to entertain everyone when the turkey takes longer to cook then you estimated. Or, you might be more on the ball than I am and would simply like a faith formation item to send home with families to encourage gratitude discussions around the dinner table. Or, perhaps you’re hosting a group of folks who might not know each other well and would like a way to engage everyone in conversation. If you are any of these, or just someone who simply likes a good discussion starter or game, we’ve got the tools for you.


Sandra Squires Bishops cross.jpgCongratulations, Sandra Squires!

At the 150th Annual Council for the Diocese of Nebraska held last month in North Platte, our UTO Board President Sandra Squires was honored with the Bishop’s Cross. It is a lovely tribute to all of the care, love, and dedication that Sandra pours out into her community and the church and upon all of us who know her. We particularly like the last part:

Our recipient is Sandra Squires, who fills her free time with gathering others into community and fellowship.

Our recipient is Sandra Squires, who made the work of her career the needs of those our world would rather not slow down long enough to consider.

Our recipient is Sandra Squires, who has given her time, talent, and being to a generation of young people who have grown up in this diocese.

Our recipient is Sandra Squires, who has over and over again taken up the responsibility of positions in our diocese, province, and national church in order to move us closer to God’s coming Kingdom.


Save the Date!

UTO Annual Grant Materials will be released on the first Friday of December! Be sure to check our webpage, Facebook, and other social media platforms for all of the information.

Ingathering Update: Ingathering checks should be sent as soon as possible throughout the year to help increase the interest that we earn on the Ingathering account. With that said, all Ingathering checks should be placed in the mail no later than December 10 in order to be counted in the 2017 Ingathering. This is the last chance to contribute to the Triennial Ingathering, so please help us as we work toward raising the Ingathering over the past three years. If you would like to check on your Ingathering amount so far this year for your diocese, please contact Kayla.

Young Adult and Seminarian Grants will be announced after they are approved by Executive Council, so on or around January 24, 2018. We’ll include them in the February e-news, and there will be a press release in addition to our email notification to all of the applicants.

In Case You Missed It…

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The Rev. Canon Heather Melton

Staff Officer, United Thank Offering

(212) 922-5130

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