Monday, October 14, 2013

UTO Petition

Petition to Sign

Many, many women have asked how to have their voices heard.  Ann Smith has started a petition to be sent to the leaders of Executive Council, meeting this week.
This link will take you to the PETITION page to add your signature:

To Sign the Petition: (signing instructions are also provided at the top of the petition page)
1) Click on the "Petition" link above (or the UTO Petition page menu on the right of the screen)
2) Read down through the petition.
3) At the bottom of the page locate the "Post a Comment" section
4) In the "Enter your Comment" text box:
   a) Type in your name
   b) Press return to go to a 2nd line
   c) Type in your email address or if you prefer your Diocese
5) In the "Comment as" combo drop down box:
   a) If you have an account profile in one of the services listed, select the appropriate profile
   b) If you do not have a profile on one of the services; select the "Anonymous" option.
        (if you use the anonymous profile; please still enter your name and email or if you prefer your Diocese)

6) Click on the [Publish] button. 

To view the petition comments:
Click on the PETITION link above
- or -
Click on the UTO Petition page link in the menu on the right side of the screen. 

Letter from Kay Meyers, Past President of ECW

Dear All,

Perhaps you are aware of the controversy that will be voted on tomorrow by the Executive Council concerning the future of UTO. Below you will see a letter I have written, though I'm not sure who will actually get it before the meeting. Other letters have been circulating, there has been much discussion on the List Serve for the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. There is also a petition for you to consider at

I pray that these are His Words in the letter. I ask you to pray for all involved and also to forward to any and all you think would be concerned and will join us in prayer.

My love and God's Peace,
As the fig tree says in Judges 9:11 “should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit and go to sway over trees.” UTO, just as Gideon has fought for you, has played a huge part in encouraging the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society in a history, a lifetime of mission. Praise be to God.

And they have done it through, with and in the structure first called Women’s Auxiliary and then Episcopal Church Women both of whom are the women of the Episcopal Church, not an organization per se, but the women of this church - operating yes, with Bylaws and organizational structure, but women of the church – FREE of polity and prejudice and utterly capable.

Many, many groups work within or adjacent to this framework which is not really just one of many. This network operates on a parish, convocational or deanery or district, diocesan, provincial, national level just as our church does.  It is the lay ministry of women in our church encompassing all, NOT as card carrying, join or not join members, but rather all. It includes many ordained women as well who have served and are serving on all levels of the network.

Would that we could have Episcopal Church Men build such a powerful contribution as UTO for the benefit of all. Imagine what that could mean to our church, our nation, the Anglican Communion and our world. And perhaps ERD fits that bill today in many ways.

We learned to tell our stories at General Convention 2009. How can any part of any bureaucracy duplicate in any way the history that powerfully included this story during a most memorable granting session at the Triennial Meeting in 1994. In a room of 400+ women the Diocese of Mississippi partitioned that their grant to help reading programs for the underprivileged in their diocese be granted at least at some level. To this the Sisters from the Diocese of Haiti went to the microphones to say “We give back our grant to be used for the children of Mississippi. Our Lord will supply our needs in Haiti.” After a very pregnant and poignant pause, the women of the Diocese of Texas went to the microphones and said “The women of our diocese will raise the funds for Haiti.” The room erupted in thanksgiving and witness to God’s love and provision. This is UTO. UNITED and THANKFUL Offering!  This is the women in action for the good of all.

In Habakkuk we are told “though the fig tree shall not flourish……the Lord is my strength and He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and will make me to walk upon my high places.” I believe if this process does swallow up UTO as we know it today, the “very stones will cry out” and something will rise out of the phoenix. BUT GOD will then have provided for two good things to go forth to His glory and the good of all mankind. Thanks be to God!

Kay Meyer
President, National Board Episcopal Church Women

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How long has this been going on?

My name is Patricia (Patty) Tourangeau, and I write to offer 
my perspective and experience to this conversation.  That 
perspective and experience comes from having served for 
six years (2003-09) as Finance Officer on the UTO Board.  
Previous to that I had served as Treasurer for the ECW 
Board for six years, from 1997-2003. 
During those twelve years of service and ministry I spent 
substantial amounts of time working with the finance 
department/staff at the Church Center in New York City, 
keeping accurate and open financial records for both 
organizations.  Beginning in October of 2007, however, It 
became harder and harder for me to do this.  Indeed, after 
Joanne Chapman retired from her Church Center staff 
position as UTO Coordinator and liaison with the UTO Board 
in 2007 it became harder for all members of the Board to do 
what we had been elected to do.  Beginning in December 
2007 I experienced numerous insinuations that I was 
“authorizing expenditures of the UTO fund inappropriately”, 
coming from Church Center leadership: the new UTO 
Coordinator and her supervisors (not the behind-the-scenes 
clerical staff). 
In December 2007 the Executive Committee of the UTO 
Board was informed, by the new UTO Coordinator, that she 
(and staff that she and Church Center staff would hire) would 
be more knowledgeable and better informed to administer 
UTO funds and approve the "right kind” of grants (implying 
that the UTO Board were NOT so qualified and WERE “out 
of step” with Church Center priorities).   This new 
Coordinator informed me that she was now the person who 
would develop the budget and administer income from the 
Trust Funds.  These Trust Funds were given and specifically 
designated to provide operation funds by which the UTO 
Board could perform its ministry throughout the Church. 
December 2007 marks the first “official” indication that there 
was an administrative intention to eliminate the UTO Board 
from their historic role of stewardship of Trust Fund income 
and the decision-making process regarding the distribution 
of that income, as well as from their role in the Ingathering 
granting process.  I must add, however, that I had heard this 
hinted at in June of 2007 while on a trip to the Philippines 
(representing the UTO President), to represent the UTO 
Board at the final meeting of the Joint Committee on the 
Philippine Covenant (JCPC).
Early in 2008 I had a conversation with Judy Gillespie, who 
had served as the UTO Coordinator in 1985.  During our 
conversation Judy told me that when the Memorial and Gift 
Trust Fund was established it was set up for the use of the 
UTO Board and was not intended to pay any “salaries” 
for Church Center staff, even the UTO Coordinator.  Judy 
was very surprised that UTO was providing 20% (around 
$35,000.00) of the Coordinator’s salary and benefits (2007). 
My understanding is that now the UTO contributes 
approximately $100.000 toward this salary & benefits.  Judy 
also mentioned she had worked on the wording for the 
Memorial & Gift Trust Fund, and the money was to be used 
solely for the travel and expenses of the UTO
Board members to do the work they were elected to do. 
I had hoped this was all settled with the agreements 
between Executive Council and the UTO Board, and the 
vote of General Convention in 2012.  I am, however sadly, 
not surprised that authorities at the Church Center continue 
a program of neutralizing and disregarding the elected 
members of the UTO Board. 
The Women’s Auxiliary was established almost 125 ago and 
has been doing mission in Jesus’ name and under the 
banner of The Episcopal Church throughout the world and 
the Anglican Communion for those 125 years.  People 
outside the USA might not know of The Episcopal Church, 
but they certainly do know of the United Thank Offering!! 
This is all thanks to Women in the Pew, giving thanks for 
God’s daily blessing and incarnating that Thanksgiving 
through their offerings of time, talent, treasure and self. 
I have heard over and over again the frustration of UTO 
Board members and others who ask in one way or another, 
“Why are the funds gathered through the UTO Ingathering 
decreasing?”  Certainly, for a time, the church-wide 
response to one natural disaster or another (e.g. 
Hurricane Katrina) and our recent economic circumstances 
account for a portion of that decline.  In some quarters there 
may even be significant doubt about the direction of this 
Church.  But the major reason, I believe, is because of the 
efforts since 2007, on the part of individuals at the Church 
Center in New York to neutralize and dismiss the UTO Board 
and any voice the Women in the Pew have in the mission of 
the Church by their prayers and coins dropped in their Blue 
Boxes and then gathered in and granted through the United 
Thank Offering Grants each year.  Indeed, there are men 
who are very active in this mission work and who daily give 
thanks and put coins in the Blue Boxes; men have even 
served on the UTO Board many years ago (!), and so it 
should be noted that the decision taken to neutralize and 
dismiss this “Women’s” ministry in fact reaches beyond 
gender to all who support the UTO effort from their pew at 
each service held in an Episcopal Church in all nine 
provinces of this Church.
My husband, a priest of this Church and sometimes less 
diplomatic than I, has his own perspective on what is going 
on.  Having lived with me throughout these years, read 
letters and listened to telephone conversations and been 
trailing spouse to more than one Board meeting (tacked on 
to a family vacation), driven me to Chicago to get my 
passport renewed at the last minute, and supported my 
ministry in numerous ways, has likened this entire turn of 
events to an “ecclesiastical purse snatching”.
But that’s my husband.  For myself, I pray that the newly 
proposed By Laws are not accepted, and that a respectful 
and gracious way is found the UTO Board to continue to 
serve and be served by the Women in the Pew as Board 
members as well as prayerful and thankful givers.  That said, 
at this point I believe it would be better for the UTO Board 
to be its own 501(c) 3 corporation.  I continue to pray for 
the UTO Board until this is settled once and for all!
God’s Blessing,
Patty Tourangeau
(UTO Finance Office 2003-2009)