The United Thank Offering has been at the center of the last few days. Yesterday I had the great privilege to deliver the contribution from the diocese of Fort Worth during the UTO Ingathering. During the Eucharist service each diocese presents a card representing their contribution to UTO for the Triennial period. It wasn’t so many years ago that Fort Worth was not represented at this wonderful occasion……..
Today we learned about the $1,700,000 of UTO grant money that has been awarded this year. These grants range from providing vehicles and programming inAfrica to funds for programs to stop bullying and the building of kitchens to be used for feeding programs in the U.S.
“Through the United Thank Offering men, women, and children nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessing.”. From the 2012 Awarded Grants brochure.
If you have 18 minutes to spare, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
In today’s opening plenary, keynote speaker Rev. David Gortner, on faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary, urged us to infuse the public discourse with words of God’s transforming power. We do this by telling our stories, listening to the stories of others, and connecting all of these stories to the great story. It is through this process that we find ourselves converted; we loose our fear, our embarrassment and sense of impropriety and are able to honor our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons. We are urged to name the holy in the stories we tell and the stories we hear.
Go into the world and find someone to tell:
For what are you grateful?
What fills you with awe and wonder?
How has God touched yor life?
This afternoon we were greeted by the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori who, as is the tradition, presented each ECW Delegate with a cross. This year’s uniquely designed cross reflects the theme for the 47th Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women, “Many Paths, One Journey”.
Today we sang; we prayed; we listened; we prayed; we rejoiced; we prayed. We asked God to clear our hearts that we might be truly present in this moment. We acknowledged that as anthropologists have noted, it is often the women in a culture that keep faith alive. We acknowledged that it is through our gratitude for God’s gifts that generosity springs forth. We acknowledged that, indeed, over the last 45 years the Episcopal Church Women have raised over $45,000,000 for the mission of The Episcopal Church. We acknowledged that although we come from many places, throughout history, the voices of women have united in love and support offering a sense of family to those we encounter.