Bulletin Insert – September 24, 2017

Julia Chester Emery Birthday Celebration and the United Thank Offering

Today in the Episcopal Church, we give thanks for the life and ministry of Julia Chester Emery. Emery’s Feast day is January 9th, but we remember her this year on the 165th anniversary of her birth. Today, congregations across the Church are invited to remember her life and legacy with a birthday party and special collection to be awarded through the annual United Thank Offering grant process.

Julia Chester Emery was the second National Secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary (the first was her sister, who envisioned creating a network of women to support missionaries and the expansion of the Episcopal Church). She is credited as the founder of the United Thank Offering (UTO). Ms. Emery led the Women’s Auxiliary and the United Thank Offering for forty years, from 1876 until 1916. She was a modest and self-effacing woman, careful to stay out of the limelight, so not much is known about her life. We do know that she traveled extensively, going to mission outposts supported by UTO and visiting every diocese and missionary district by train at least once.

United Thank OfferingMs. Emery gave up much in order to continue her work, including turning down a proposal of marriage which would have caused her to lose her job. She fought for the canonical status of the deaconess program, which helped build the foundation for the ordination of women. She reminds us that we all possess the resources we need to be effective missionaries, through the two most important qualities exemplified in her life: a willingness to try and the commitment to stick with it.  For these reasons and many more, we give thanks for her life and legacy today, and we ask God to equip us with a heart filled with gratitude and a life lived with determination and grit.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, writes, “In its first year, the United Thank Offering raised $2,188.64, which was used to build a church in Anvik, Alaska, and to send a female missionary to Japan. Last year, the UTO made 32 grants totaling $1,161,314.62 to congregations, missions, and ministries across the Episcopal Church. On September 24, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Miss Julia’s extraordinary legacy to all of us in the Episcopal Church and in expressing your gratitude by giving to the United Thank Offering.”

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.

Submit photos of your celebration through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UnitedThankOffering or by tagging your photo with @unitedthankoffering on Instagram. 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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