Bulletin Insert – September 3, 2017

Julia Chester Emery Birthday Celebration

Throughout the Episcopal Church, congregations and individuals are encouraged to participate in the United Thank Offering (UTO), to deepen gratitude and support innovative mission and ministry throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. UTO was started by a small group of women determined to meet the growing needs of Episcopal missionaries across the United States and the globe through what they thought would be a one-time thank offering.

United Thank Offering LogoAs we all know, the cost of trying something new in the church can be great, and one of these women, Julia Chester Emery, is credited with formalizing, growing and dedicating her life to promoting UTO. Though best known for this and her work with the Women’s Auxiliary, she also championed the canonical status of the deaconess program, an important step in the process toward gender equality in the Episcopal Church.

This September, Ms. Emery would have turned 165, and so we call upon the Church to enter a month of gratitude in honor of her life, ministry, and legacy. In honor of this anniversary, the UTO Board and staff, along with the Presiding Officers of the Episcopal Church, invite you and your congregation on September 24th to throw a birthday party and take up a special thank offering in honor of Julia Chester Emery at your church. UTO hopes to raise $700,000 to support innovative mission and ministry in the Episcopal Church. It is a wonderful way to promote gratitude and give thanks for good things God is doing in your congregation and community. UTO is holding two contests in conjunction with this special event; prizes will be given for the best photos of a birthday celebration, as well as for the most funds raised for UTO in September by a parish and by a diocese.

Since the founding of the United Thank Offering, $135,760,167.33 has been given in thanksgiving for the blessings encountered in the daily lives of Episcopalians and every penny and nickel has been granted to support innovative mission and ministry.

Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry urges all Episcopal congregations to contribute to the Offering. He writes, “The work of the United Thank Offering makes a difference; it makes a difference around the world, it makes a difference here in the United States. It makes a difference because through the United Thank Offering and our offerings to it, we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life, a ransom for many.”

To assist parishes in participating in the Julia Chester Emery birthday celebration, free, downloadable materials are available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/uto. Materials include photo booth props, videos, faith formation materials, sermon samples (for children and adult sermons), newsletter and bulletin announcements, and photo contest rules.

Collections for the Julia Chester Emery United Thank Offering Birthday Celebration should be sent by October 15th to: DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church US; P.O. Box 958983; St. Louis, MO 63195-8983. Please be sure all checks are made out to “The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society,” with “UTO” added in the note field.

For more information, please contact The Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering Staff Officer, the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton at hmelton@episcopalchurch.org.

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