Accomplishments and Obstacles

The following is a running list of board accomplishments that the UTO board has achieved in the short time since the INC-055C report and the establishment from the UTO being a committee to that as a board. A note to make here was the UTO committee was instructed not to make "any" changes until the study committee complete its INC-055C report. Therefore the UTO board achievements listed starts only since September 2012. Since it was not planned to have to go through the cycle of events leading up to this point in time the document is not entirely listed chronologically, by category of the events, nor does it always separate the accomplishments versus obstacles.

However you should see that this board was not "a bunch of do nothing old ladies". Likewise it should also be clear that the obstacles was solely those perpetrated by DFMS and continuously unjust. Yet the UTO board  trusted, hoped, and continued to succeed to complete 3 of the 5 (and working on the 4th) recommendations contained in the INC-055C study report.

The key to interpreting the obstacles placed by DFMS on the UTO board and its officers is it represents:
  1. That the By-Laws DFMS thrown back into the face of the UTO is not a single even but a pattern
  2. The behavior of DFMS is sadly a culture of power and control by:
             a. Omission 
example: repeated request for financial information
result: "report not available"

             b. Delaying 
example: Purchasing of Apple products for the UTO board to meet the 2013granting
 result: Multiple follow up required and still ignored for 4 weeks sitting on the desk of the Deputy COO for a signature.

             c. Denial of services
example: Software for the 2013 granting.
 result: The board was told that the software used for the 2012 granting was being replaced with a new system. The system would be up by November and the UTO grant associate at 815 would be trained. In early December after repeated inquiries as to the status of the implementation of the new system the then President of the UTO board was told "It and the previous software would not be available". Additionally the Church Center would be closed for the last two weeks of December for the Christmas 
Holidays and there would be "no support" available to UTO. With plans in place for the opening of grants submission starting January 1, 2013; the women having just 2 1/2 weeks put together a system that is now viewed as one of the most successful granting cycle in the history of UTO. So much for achieving an "interdependency" noted in the INC-055C study report.
             d.  Usurping
example: unilateral and unauthorized cancellation of a meeting
result: The meeting between the DFMS financial staff person assigned to UTO,  the UTO financial officer, the President of UTO, and a past UTO financial officer to assist with the transition of the UTO finance duties was cancelled  WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE NOR A NOTIFICATION  TO THE UTO MEMBERS. The UTO members only found out the meeting was cancelled when the prior UTO finance officer who was to attend call the UTO finance office to ask why the meeting was cancelled. The President then call DFMS to ask if the meeting was in fact cancelled and got an answer of "Yes". The President then ask "Why" but received no response. Next the UTO President ask about the airline and hotel registrations and the response they were already cancelled.
             e. Ignoring
example: The DFMS By-Laws and MOU
 result: Complete disregard for the UTO By-Law, MOU, and the 6 years of independent study and the report INC-055. Eventually DFMS has chosen to ignore the work and input of anyone or group outside inter-power structure at the Church Center.

The REAL issue is not only about the UTO as an autonomous board, the dedication of volunteer women, the service provided by UTO for almost 125 years, the in-gathering and designated trusts
 funds (the money); it is about the CULTURE at the very heart of the management style at OUR Church. A culture that concentrates power and control to a cadre of individuals who style is to bully or ignores anyone or any group that gets in its way. This cancerous growth of power is not unique to the Episcopal Church. Look through the history of mankind and the number of organizations and government that has similar experiences. Sadly until those both internally and externally stands up to stop this centralize power and control culture we will be doom to have history to repeat itself.

Directly below is a summary of the recommendations from the INC-055 study report and the corresponding accomplishments (shown in blue text) by the UTO toward those recommendations. The summary section is followed by a more detail account of the recommendations and accomplishments.


Therefore we seek to provide the United Thank Offering support, visibility, autonomy and connection.
In an effort to do so, we offer the following recommendations for Board follow-up:

Theology of Thankfulness
That thankfulness continues to be at the center of the United Thank Offering; and
Thankfulness continues to be central to the United Thank Offering.
That the Theology of Thankfulness document should be published as a separate short piece (i.e. as a Forward Movement Pamphlet) for wide distribution.
 Published and available beginning with General Convention 2012. The document is in pamphlet form and available from the Episcopal Media Center.

History of UTO
That The Board should find ways to honor and celebrate regularly as a church the history of the UTO and the accomplishment of women in ministry; and
Planning started in spring 2013 to celebrate 125 years of the United Thank Offering with activities to kick off in 2014 and culminate in a celebration at General Convention 2015.
That the Historical Society be approached to consider publishing the History of UTO.

Anglican Communion
That the Board approach granting in a proactive, strategic way—establishing strategic giving in line with missional priorities of the church; keeping in mind key leverage points in the communion; and
A new granting process was created, put in place and utilized for the 2013 grant cycle.
That the College for Bishops offer training on the Theology and History of UTO.

New Technology
That UTO embrace the horizontal message sharing, and new technologies; The United Thank Offering Board invested in United Thank Offering branded I-pads for each member and Mac books for strategic board responsibilities.
That Staff persons be fluent in digital media;
That the United Thank Offering Board, Provincial and Diocesan Coordinators be trained in communication and social media; Board members are trained in the use of I-pads, facebook. Board committee work can be accomplished with a virtual meeting program.
That the United Thank Offering develop a UTO University; A new revamped training program for Diocesan Coordinators is in place, presented and professionally recorded Summer 2013 and available by subscription on You Tube.
That the United Thank Offering focus on expanding demographics in the Episcopal Church for growth; and
That the United Thank Offering Board engage in a strategic planning process using recommendation of INC-055 as a starting point.

The following is quite lengthy, the format at times difficult due to the conversion from MS-Word to plain text,  and the preparation was not ever thought it would be necessary;  please read with patience.


The United Thank Offering Board 2012-2015

In entering into the 2012-2015 Triennium, the United Thank Offering Board has had as a roadmap for thinking and decision making the report from INC-055 Ad-Hoc Committee of the Executive Council.  The report states in its beginnings that the work of this committee was "meant primarily to be a visioning exercise, providing recommendations to the 2012 General Convention concerning United Thank Offering and its vision for the 21st Century."  The report continues with recommendations:
               "Our recommendations....highlight several common concerns:
               visibility, communication, autonomy and support.  For the United
               Thank Offering to be successful in the coming years each of these
               Concerns must be addressed."
Sarita Redd, United Thank Offering Board President, opened the first meeting of the 2012-2015 Board with emphasis on the importance of consciously embracing the recommendations of the study report, and using them in our process of developing goals and objectives for the Triennium.  This approach to development of the Board was met with enthusiasm by most of the Board.

A Board in Transition, Transition, Transition!

During the 2009-2012 Triennium, when the study committee was doing their work, there was substantial conflict among members of the Board precipitated by the intent of a Task Force studying the United Thank Offering.  As there is in the whole church, there was great difficulty within the Board with the challenge of moving into the 21st century where change is the norm and "but this is how we have always done it" is no longer acceptable.  As with church membership changing and demanding a different engagement from its participants, the UTO Board is demanding a different engagement from its members.  Most of the "Old Guard" came from a place of White Entitlement; mission was done to others by grants, not with others using grants.  There was also a racial challenge—the white entitlement position struggles deeply with real leadership in the church being either ethnic or female—even though those struggling are female.  It was not uncommon during the 2009-2012 Triennium for racial slurs to be muttered at the Board table, and challenges to authority of Board members being based on prejudice rather than working task issues.

Into this challenging picture came six new board members from all over the Church "Nation."  And with these six board members began a process of transition of people unprecedented in UTO history.  Beginning with the first meeting, the same people have yet to gather round the United Thank Offering table; if the present course continues, it will be January 2014 before the 2012-2015 Triennium Board has stabilized (if then!).  See Appendix 1 for Board Transition Back Story

Yet We Persist!

And yet with these transition challenges, the United Thank Offering persists!!! The "work we have been given to do" is getting done, and that is what this is all about!

Accomplishments September 2012 – July 2013

The INC-055 Ad-Hoc Committee study report identified three distinct areas of interest related to The United Thank Offering:
Matters concerning:
1) Faithfulness to God's Mission
2) Role, Purpose and Function
3) Board Structure, By Laws, and Policies and Procedures

Regarding Faithfulness to God's Mission:
The United Thank Offering is mission minded and sees God's mission as its work. The United Thank Offering Board establishes its guidelines in relation to its discernment of needs and its historical focus on ministry by and to women and its theology of thankfulness.

Triennium Goals and Accomplishments in Faithfulness of God's Mission 9/1/12 – 7/15/13

During the 2013 Granting Season the focus of granting was two of the five marks of mission:
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
The granting focus and criteria were available to the public beginning                11/1/12; final grant application deadline was 2/28/13.

During this granting season, 86 grants were received; 48 grants were funded                fully or partially, for a total of $1,517,895.81.  See Appendix 2: Funding United Thank Offering Grants

Regarding Role, Purpose and Function
The United Thank Offering plays an important role in the missionary life of the Episcopal Church and richly deserves the recognition and support of The Episcopal Church.  It has served the church as a vital force for new work and vision.  Relationship between UTO and TEC is creative one.  The UTO can be a source of vision and that accepting that call to prophetic ministry will open UTO to renewed vocation in the 21st century.

UTO is "grounds up" organization; its role, purpose and function is grounded in  the activity of thankful giving.  The United Thank Offering must continue to be autonomous, but interdependent regarding the entity that is The Episcopal Church.

Triennium Goals and Accomplishments in Role, Purpose and Function 9/1/12 – 7/15/13

During the early months of the 2012-2013 Triennium, the United Thank Offering has stepped up to assume its autonomous position within the great body of the Episcopal Church by doing the following:
*revising and instituting new granting procedures to address challenges presented by the study committee report:
The Ad-Hoc report stated some specific comments regarding the granting procedures utilized by the UTO Board up to 2013:
Applications are reviewed and investigated by the member of the UTO Board assigned to that geographic region. At its annual granting session, the UTO Board prioritizes grant applications and decides which ones will be funded and whether the full amount of the request will be met. Although there are criteria for determining which grants to fund, it appears that they are not applied consistently and that the decisions as to which grants to fund are part of a negotiating process between members of the UTO Board.
The year prior to the 2013 granting season was spent in an in depth revamping of the granting process.  In seeking to function with greater fiduciary responsibility, the Grant  Committee was asked to develop a granting process that would involve each Board member equally in the granting process, and that would have a more objective approach to grant decisions than those described in the study report.  A new grant system was developed, and with the new system, all grants were reviewed by the Grants Committee for completeness of application forms, and for compliance with criteria. Any questions generated were asked by committee members; the involvement of the Province Reps was prior to the grant submission deadline talking with the Dioceses in their areas. 

All Board members then read every grant; each Board member rated each grant using a scale designed to approximate a bell shaped curve; all grants received one rating for each Board member.  When all ratings were in, then all the grants were ranked in order of points assigned.  At the end of the first hour of the granting meeting in May, the granting process was complete.  It was remarkable.  There are still some issues to resolve to make the process be more user friendly, but the end result was extremely successful.  Appendix 3: Backstory regarding promises made by DFMS regarding Grant Application

*requiring all board members to become computer literate and digitally aware

The Ad-Hoc report made the following statement: We believe UTO is an ideal organization to embrace social media and the new technologies of communications. These new technologies are all about building relationships and telling stories, removing the barriers of centrally-controlled communications and putting the personal interaction and experience of transformation directly with the participants.
Taking this to heart, and looking at the concentration of the report on issues of new technology and social media, Sarita asked the new Communications Convener if the Communications Committee (a committee of several subcommittees that ultimately involves the whole board) could plan on going paperless by 2014;  however, the committee was ready to do it now!  Ipads and MacBooks were purchased for the use of the whole board.  Each board member received an ipad;  Executive committee members and committee conveners also received MacBooks; the UTO Board became an Apple Joint Venture, and by the time of the January Board meeting the entire Board went to the Apple Store in Boca Raton, Florida for Ipad training.  Each Board member has a UTO Board email address that is tied to the webhost for the United Thank Offering Website: 
The Board has now been for a second round of training at the Apple store in Richmond, VA.

The Board devices are permanently branded with the United Thank Offering logo; everywhere a board members travels, her electronic device displays who she is representing. The theory is                that all UTO work is on these devices; if one person leaves the board, and that has happened already, the device is set up to serve that Province or focus and all the past info is stored there.  So far this has worked fairly well.  There are a few bugs; however, the Apple Joint Venture membership allows for trouble shooting 24/7 on line and at all stores all over the world.  Any member can get help anytime.

The other tremendous thing this process has done for us, is that face to face communication with each other has been remarkable.  Using the Go To Meeting program, committees have repeatedly met live doing work in preparation Board meetings and other needs.  The whole board has been able to have a conversation simultaneously; and this week will have a special on line meeting in preparation for the trip to New York.

Part of the theory behind getting every board member online was that if our board can do it, everyone, even those who "hate the internet" and "don't like email" will begin to embrace this new world that their children and grandchildren negotiate with ease.  This has worked for us.  And for us—imagine having every diocesan coordinator show up with their UTO ipad to do a presentation for a congregation!  What does that communicate!  Appendix 5:  Getting the United Thank Offering Paperless Performance Package Paid For!

*establishing a Facebook page and other Social Media that is active and changing daily

The newly formed social media committee is maintaining the Facebook page daily; it has a way to go—but it is there; the membership to Pinterest is there; the option of twitter is there; we have members who will be undertaking maintaining the UTO Blog.

The Social Media presence the Board needs will be a part of the planning for the UTO 125th Anniversary occurring in 2014.  A communications consultation is being held with representatives of the 125th planning committee and Neva Rae Fox of Episcopal News Service to explore the avenues for major marketing of UTO, its brand, and its potential on July 30,2013 at Camp Allen following the Face to Face Training
(Twitter account up and running August, 2013:   Currently following

*redesigning the Face to Face diocesan coordinator training program to be filmed for posting on a United Thank Offering Youtube channel.

The Face to Face Diocesan Coordinator training scheduled at Camp Allen is designed with 12 minute presentations that will be  filmed and put on line on a United Thank Offering Youtube Channel and on Vimeo channel so there is easy access for the constantly changing populations of Coordinators in the field.

(added 9/4/13: the Face to Face training has been held, video taped and is on its own Youtube channel:

*creating a committee structure that requires active participation of every Board member

At the May Board meeting a process of visioning and revamping the way the committee structure functions; every Board member commits to 10-20 hours of volunteer time each week.   This team work offers a remarkable amount of energy available to impact the world where "Our change changes lives!"  The goal is to have  a new committee structure in place in January.

*establishing a website that serves as a source of communication regarding all activities of the Board and its' members, with special pages for Province news and Church wide news, and a virtual blue box for giving that change that changes lives!

The Ad-Hoc report contained a visioning exercise regarding how new technology might look.  The Board has taken that vision very much to heart and has embraced the need for each thing discussed in that vision.  At the May meeting the Board voted to offer two places for online contributions on the UTO change website.  Now we just need the account numbers at DFMS where contributions will be directed and the virtual blue box will be a reality.

Each of the items listed below is being undertaken by a subcommittee of the Communications Committee; reports on the status of these items are due at the September Board Meeting in Massachusetts:

*expanding and organizing a database of the people interested in participating in United Thank Offering activities
*revising the corporate logo of UTO to complement the branding of TEC while maintaining its autonomy
*undertaking a careful analysis of marketing products; discerning which items are needed in print form and designing items that can be easily distributed through digital media
Regarding Board Structure, By Laws, and Policies and Procedures
The United Thank Offering/Board understands itself, and is understood by Executive Council, as an Agency of the Episcopal Church.  It understands it must order its work, understand its purpose, and develop policies and procedures in coherence with the Constitutions and Canons of The Episcopal                Church and the organizational and fiduciary policies of the DFMS.

The Ad-Hoc Committee, working closely with the UTO Board President and  The Board has proposed a set of bylaws that follow closely the policies and procedures already in place with the United Thank Offering.  Recommended by the Ad-Hoc Committee, these Bylaws have been put in place by resolution of the UTO Board and affirmed by resolution of the Executive Council (October 2011).
The ratification of these documents requires a Memorandum of Understanding  between the United Thank Offering Board and the Officers of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society regarding the relationship between the UTO Board and The Episcopal Church.  The occasion of the signing of that Memorandum of Understanding signals the commitment to a relationship of trust and cooperation.

Triennium Goals and Accomplishments (and issues) in Regarding Board Structure, By Laws, and Policies and Procedures  9/1/12 – 7/15/13

In December of 2012, Sarita Redd sent an official Board Memorandum to the  entire United Thank Offering regarding the upcoming finalization and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.  (That Board Memorandum is attached here as Appendix 6)  In this document she itemized several areas of concern she had regarding the clarification between UTO and DFMS to be spelled out in the MOU.  She indicated that she was working with the legal counsel to the UTO Board, and that the entire Board needed to understand the importance of this MOU.  She informed the Board that the final Memorandum of Understanding was due in the office of The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls on January 31, 2013.  That     Board discussion did not take place as Sarita expected as the business of the new granting process to be conducted by the Board occupied the majority of the meeting time.  All parties left Florida expecting to have a copy of the MOU to review at the beginning of the next week.  Sarita died two days later.

Anne Gordon Curran, Vice-President acting for Sarita, was asked by the Board to query Bishop Sauls regarding this document.  She reported that he had responded there was no rush regarding this document.  The entire Board was involved in the granting process at that point in time; there was little time to give thought to this document and how it was to come to pass.  There was an assumption by the Board that Sarita had been working on this document with the Board "legal counsel," whom the board understood to be an attorney named Larry Grable, who lived in Oklahoma City, and worked with Sarita.

The board contacted Larry Grable to ascertain the status of this MOU, and he said he was unaware of the status of this document, but that he was the Attorney of Record for the United Thank Offering Board.  He indicated there was a retainer in place, and that he was willing to contact Sarita's family to try to obtain whatever files were in her possession. 

Sarita's family was at that time unwilling to be in contact with the leadership of the UTO Board.  Sarita's mother is of the opinion that the UTO and its years of stress are somewhat responsible for the death of her daughter.  This has been a delicate process for the Board.

At no time did anyone on the Board perceive that continuing to view Larry Grable as the Board's attorney was not "allowed" by the relationship of UTO with DFMS; especially as the relationship of Mr. Grable and the Board began in 2008.  And also as there had been no communication at all after Anne Curran's contact with Bishop Sauls regarding the timing of the document.  One of the appointed members of the Board has recently told the Board that the MOU was to have been generated by DFMS.  The idea that this document was being prepared by the DFMS attorney has never been mentioned to anyone on the Board.

The goal of the Board was to be in compliance with the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc Committee report that the MOU was a necessity.  It was also clear that the MOU was to keep at the center of the relationship, the autonomy of the United Thank Offering Board and its day to day functioning to serve The Episcopal Church.

The Board was also aware that "the UTO Bylaws required a Letter of Agreement between DFMS and The Episcopal Church Center leadership and the UTO Board and staff persons hired concerning UTO expectations and obligations toward the staff hired."

It was made clear to the Board by Sarita that this letter of agreement would be prepared and signed at the time a new UTO coordinator was hired.   It was the understanding of the Board that Mr. Grable would also be the person to help prepare this letter.  There was an assumption that the procedures described in the UTO Bylaws would be followed when hiring the UTO Coordinator, and that                at the time a candidate was jointly selected a simple letter of agreement would be prepared and signed.

There was unfinished business related to the requirements of the Bylaws approved by Executive Council, which spelled out somewhat clearly the expectations of the Board related to the hiring of a UTO coordinator and to the need for the final document called the Memorandum of Understanding.  The Board has believed that the services of Mr. Grable were begun for the reason of creating and finalizing these documents and that once they were complete,  both parties would move ahead in partnership, trust and understanding—as the Board believed was being done even without these documents.

As a Board, we are astounded at being accused of taking an adversarial position with DFMS.  As we will restate—for 125 years coming up we have been part of The Episcopal Church.  We are The Episcopal Church.  We cannot imagine being anything else.

At the same time, we have some very serious issues with how we are relating to DFMS and that specifically has to do with Finance.  And here is that story!

Financial Concerns

The 2012-2015 UTO Board was installed at the Triennial Meeting in Indianapolis in July of 2012; the first meeting of this Board was in September, 2012 in Oklahoma at St. Crispin's Conference Center.

During the July Board Meeting at the Triennial convention of the Women in Indianapolis, it was made clear to the board that the budget being presented was theoretical only as no financial reports had been available to the board for preparing the budget.  Apparently then treasurer, Jan Goosens, had tried unsuccessfully to obtain financial statements in March and again in June.  In March, she was told the audit was taking all the time; in June preparation for General Convention and the General Convention Budget required all the effort available.

At the September meeting, President, Sarita Redd informed the board that there was no budget as we had no figures from the prior year to help determine a budget.  She told the Board that she and the finance officer elected at the September Board meeting, Lois Johnson-Rodney, had an appointment with the finance office at DFMS in November 15-16 in New York; she said that as Jan Goosen's father had died, Patty Tourangeau, past treasurer from 2006-2009 Board would be attended to help facilitate the transition from one Board to another.  Sarita said at that time that she wanted to be absolutely certain that DFMS had not continued to draw from UTO funds the portion of the salary paid to the UTO Coordinator who had been let go in March and not yet replaced.

Sarita, Lois and Patty indeed traveled to New York, but did not meet with the finance office.  The reports were not yet available.  The three met with Michelle Jobson, Grants Associate regarding travel forms, and online payments for travel reimbursements.  Discussion was held regarding having a finance meeting just before the At Large Grants meeting scheduled for the week of March 13-14, 2013.

There were no financial reports available for the January meeting of the Board in Florida, and again there was no budget.  Sarita continued to voice her concern about the use of coordinator salary money when there was no coordinator.

Sarita died on January 26,2013—two days after returning home from the January meeting.

In March, due to major bylaw issues within the board, a Special Board meeting was called in New York, to coincide with the already scheduled finance meeting and the At-Large-Representative Grant meeting with the Mission department.  At this meeting, Anne Gordon Curran, who as Vice President of the Board, had become President upon Sarita's death, resigned as president, and Barbi Tinder, Province I Rep was elected President; Barbara Schafer, Province 8 Rep was elected Vice President. 

As President, Barbi was to attend the finance meeting Sarita had been hoping to have with DFMS Finance and with Johnson Rodney, UTO Finance Officer.  This meeting did not take place; no financial reports were available, as the auditors were working.  There were no reports to be used as a starting point for creating a budget to present at the May Board meeting.

A new meeting time was scheduled for June 23, this was a reschedule of the original November finance meeting requested by Sarita Redd—again with Patty Tourangeau present to facilitate training and transition from 2009-2012 board to 2012-2015 Board. 

This finance meeting was cancelled precipitously on June 20th, 2013, by Sam McDonald.  Patty Tourangeau was called by DFMS staff and told the meeting was cancelled before UTO Finance Officer, Lois Johnson-Rodney was told.  Plane flights and hotel rooms were cancelled prior to contact with UTO Board members; the only contact from DFMS came after those actions in an email to UTO President, Barbi Tinder, in which Sam McDonald accused the Board of taking an adversarial relationship to DFMS because we had legal counsel for the Board.  The entire Board was shocked at the behavior of DFMS staff in this whole process.  There were no questions asked regarding our perceived need for an attorney; Sam McDonald might have learned something interesting had he asked questions first before reacting. Never had the word "adversarial" entered the thinking of this group of hard working women who give freely and faithfully of their time, talent and trust.

Now, the United Thank Offering Board looks at the behavior of DFMS toward them and asks the question—who is the adversary?  The Board sees a pattern that is very disturbing.

The United Thank Offering Board is responsible for the managing and stewardship of the United Thank Offering money.  Becoming a Board and not being a Committee implies a change in responsibility.  In the past, the UTO Committee received quarterly reports that could be defined as Income Statements and P&L statements.  These reports have not been made available in 18 months.  They have been verbally requested three times a year: the pattern is this:
Financial Report Due                                                            Results
March 2012                                                      No Financial Reports Available
June 2012                                                         No Financial Reports Available
November 2012                                               No Financial Reports Available
March 2013                                                      No Financial Reports Available                        
June 2013                                                         No Financial Reports Received

To make clear the situation; the reports not available are the Operations Reports that are due to the Board to make clear the financial operating picture of the Board.  There are now two grant periods where figures for awarding grants are available, but there is no operating budget as there are no figures. 

The United Thank Offering Board of 2012-2015 understands itself as a fully functioning professional board with fiduciary responsibility for the funds with which it is entrusted.  The Board sees itself as having waited one full year plus several months for reports on the financial status of the operating funds available for its work, as the Board has taken the word of DFMS officers in good faith that reports are forthcoming.  While there have not been written requests for this information, verbal requests should have been sufficient to obtain the needed information.  Finance Committee meetings of the 2012-2015 Board have been held, but no information beyond available grant funds has been provided.

The only written request for financial information this board is aware of was sent by Barbi Tinder, President of the United Thank Offering Board, to the UTO Finance Committee and to the new UTO Coordinator on June 12, in preparation for the Finance meeting with DFMS on June 24, 2013.  Interestingly, this request dealt primarily with ingathering funds for granting, and not operational funds.  But was Sam's real reason for cancelling the June 24 that the reports Barbi requested were not going to be available for discussion?  In the light of the pattern above, now everything becomes suspicious.

No legitimate business would or could ever operate this way; the trust, understanding and good working relationship that should exist between the United Thank Offering Board and DFMS does not exist at the present time.  And yet the Board has felt helpless, not adversarial, in this situation. Those to whom the Board is to relate at DFMS are those who are refusing by omission, if not deliberate avoidance, to provide the information the United Thank Offering Board must have in order to fulfill its fiduciary responsibility.

Where do we go from here with this whole situation?

Appendix 1:   Board Transition Back Story

There are presently twelve members of the United Thank Offering Board; eleven elected members and one appointed member. There is also a Liaison from Executive  Council to the Board.  There are two vacancies currently:  Latin America Member-At-Large and a second member to be appointed jointly by Executive Council and the Board—the participation by the UTO Board President fulfills the Board responsibility to this appointment. (There is a candidate under consideration.)

The beginnings of this Board functioning cohesively have been challenging.  Board terms are for the three years of a Triennium; a Board member may serve for two terms in a lifetime; these need not be consecutive.  In a usual scenario, one half of the board changes with each Triennium.  With the creation of the INC-055 Ad-Hoc Committee report and the subsequent creation of New Bylaws for the Board, there are now to be 15 Board members.  Nine members are elected from the Provinces of the Episcopal Church, one to represent each Province; three are elected from within the Board to serve as At-Large-Members representing three major areas of the Anglican Communion; two are appointed by agreement of the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and the President of the Board; one is appointed by Executive Council.  In this Triennium, there were to be six newly elected province representatives, six returning members, and the three new persons appointed.

The first meeting of the 2012-2015 Triennium was held in Oklahoma in September;  eleven members of the Board attended this meeting; the Province Nine person, newly appointed by the Province Bishop cancelled her attendance at the last minute (subsequently, she resigned from the Board and was replaced by the previous Province IX person who was eligible to serve one more term.)  At this meeting, the Province V representative was removed from the Board by recommended action of the Continuing Review Committee for actions seriously violating by laws and the required oath of office.

The second meeting of the Triennium was held in Florida; twelve members attended this meeting.  A new person was elected to fill the Province V seat; Province IX sent the past member to fill the vacant seat.

Immediately following the Florida meeting, President Sarita Redd died suddenly.  After a month long period of chaos and controversy, sadness and shock,  the Board called a special meeting; at this meeting, Anne Gordon Curran, Vice President who had become President at Sartia's death, resigned as President.  Barbi Tinder, Province I rep was elected President; Barbara Schafer, Province VII rep was elected VP.  Two days after this meeting ended, the Province III rep resigned.

The third meeting of the Triennium was held in Virginia; ten of the members who attended the meeting in Florida were in attendance, one of these members arrived one day late; one arrived two days late. One of these members left two days early unexpectedly.  The new representative from Province III was in attendance for the whole ten-day meeting.  One of the new appointed members was able to attend for five days; the person identified as Liaison from Executive Council (a position the Board did not know existed) attended for five days.  There is still one elected position open on the Board, and one appointed member has been identified and who is considering the appointment.  In addition, the newly selected UTO Coordinator attended the meeting for four days.  (This meeting was a bit challenging when it came to managing agendas, information, goals and objectives!)

Appendix 2: Funding United Thank Offering Grants            

The United Thank Offering Board is struggling with communication with DFMS regarding the process of actually getting the money for a grant award into the hands of the grantee.  There appear to be multiple issues regarding the process of grants actually being funded.

There are criteria that the Finance department requires regarding past grants; these criteria are not clear to the board, and the process of the communication about the issues is difficult to track. 

The grant awards list was sent to DFMS on June 6; it was forwarded again on June 12.
The sample letter to be sent to grant recipients was transmitted with the list.

After this letter was submitted, the Board requested that the checks go out as quickly as possible.  There are apparently some grants with outstanding final report forms that have emerged for consideration since the award process.  A new grant cannot be awarded if a final report has not been filed. The scope of this information is not known to the Board at this time.

Getting from the Board approval to the money getting into the hands of the grantee in a timely fashion has seemingly been problematic consistently.

Appendix 3: Backstory regarding promises made by DFMS regarding Grant Application

There is a back story here:  TEC was supposed to provide the UTO Board with an electronic grant application form to be used for granting for the 2013 year.  When Sam McDonald attended the UTO Board meeting in September, he assured the entire Board that the application was "in the works," and that Michelle Jobson, grants associate would be trained how to use the application.  He told us the application would be ready to test by November 1 and would be up and active by the January date we requested.  This information was announced in a press release by Neva Rae Fox in October 2012.

During the second week in December, Sarita Redd informed the Grants Committee that Alpha Conti, DFMS controller was leaving DFMS in a week and indeed there would be no electronic grant application forthcoming from DFMS as he was responsible for this process.; could the committee please find away to create a grant application---

This was done; it required creating the website that had been planned for May launch be completed immediately and this website would need to accommodate an application form that would create a data based for managing grant information.  In a matter of two and a half weeks, two members of the committee and their very helpful spouses created a website, an application form and a method of handling the entire granting process on line, including reading, rating and ranking grant applications.  It was not perfect, and there was no time for testing the product, so the early applicants were experimenting right along with the board.  But at the end of the day, the Board learned many important lessons and solved many problems.

Unfortunately, one of the lessons learned was: do not trust DFMS; what we are told will not happen; attention we need will not be forthcoming—we are not autonomous within a large support system—we are out there on our own!  And we have learned a new level of autonomy that changes the nature of our legitimate needs from UTO?DFMS staff.  We have needs and they are real, but they may be more manageable than they appeared a year ago.

Appendix 5: 
Getting the Untied Thank Offering Paperless Performance Package Paid For!

The attached spreadsheet documents the long process of getting the invoices for the paperless project paid for; the issue was the scheduled training process accomplished at the January Board meeting so that the granting processes could proceed paperless.  The problem was apparently a desire to have a conversation about the proposal—but that was not communicated to anyone on the Board; when it the conversation was finally held at the last moment on December 13, the finance office was closing on December 14 until after the first of the year—a fact not known to the board until the afternoon of December 13.  It would seem that if a DFMS staff person had a question regarding a project of the United Thank Offering, that person could make a phone call for clarification, rather than hold invoices on a desk for four weeks.


10/8/12  Email              Robin Sarita   Registering domain names for UTO websites, blogs, etc.
10/11/12 Email              Robin Max      Request for quote regarding electronic devices for UTO Board
10/18/12 Email              Sarita DFMS  First submission of request for payment of electronic package
11/16/12 Email              Robin Sarita    Second submission of request for payment of electronic package:new invoices
12/2/12 Email                Sarita Michelle    Please expidite payment of electonic package invoices
12/12/12 Email               Sarita Robin      Payment has been made, check with Apple
12/12/12 Phone Call         Robin Sarita     Payment has not been received
12/13/12 Phone Call         Robin Arlyssa/DFMS Have no idea what you are talking about. Have never seen invoices
12/13/12 Phone Call         Robin Michelle    Invoices were given to Sam in Nov. Still on his desk.
12/13/12 Phone Call         Robin Sam         Invoices finaly walked to finance and paid on 12/14/12
Sam says "I do not have authority to approve this, but I should have been informed."
12/13/12 Phone Call         Sarita DFMS        Sarita learns 815 is closing until after the New Year on Dec 13
12/13/12 Phone Call         Sarita Robin        There will be no online application created by 815; can you create one?
12/17/12 Phone Call       Robin Kurt Barnes Kurt Barnes facilitates final payment for electronic package for Boad 12/17/12 Phone Call          Robin Sarita       Work will begin today on website and application form: goal posting 1/1/13 1/1/13 Email          Robin Sarita       Website and Form up ready for testing
1/5/13 Email                    Robin Board        Website and Grant Application Up and Ready for testing
1/7/13 Webposting            Robin DFMS        Request that DFMS place link to grant application on UTO Mission Page
1/17/13 BOARD MEETING               New Granting Process and Electronic Grant Process presented to Board
1/23/13 Sarita Dies

Appendix 6:  Board Memorandum 12/11/12

“Our Change Changes Lives”


TO:  Marcie Chérau
  Margaret Cooper
  Cindy Dillon
  Blanca Echeverry (Maria Atondo)
  Anne Gordon Curran
  Renee Haney
  Lois Johnson Rodney
  Barbara Schafer
  Robin Sumners
  Barbi Tinder
  Georgie White
United Thank Offering Board Members

FROM: Sarita Redd, President
  United Thank Offering Board

DATE: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SUBJECT: Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding between United Thank Offering and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will be submitted by the United Thank Offering Board, Thursday, January 31, 2013.

I have asked the United Thank Offering legal counsel and legal team to readdress several matters facing the relationship between United Thank Offering and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, to including securing a document that provides clarity and understanding in all matters regarding UTO professional relationship with DFMS.

This document will be a point of discussion during the 2013 United Thank Offering Winter Board Meeting to be held in January, 2013.  Please take the time to review the United Thank Offering Board Bylaws, Article VI, Business, Sections 1, 2, and 3 will require our attention and some discussion.  (United Thank Offering Board Bylaws, Article VI, Business, Sections 1, 2, and 3 – see attached).




Section 1: These Bylaws shall become effective upon their approval by a majority of the members of the United Thank Offering Board and subsequent approval by the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

Section 2: The affairs of United Thank Offering shall be controlled and administered by the United Thank Offering Board, consisting of fifteen (15) members as set forth in Articles II and III.

Section 3: The United Thank Offering shall conduct all business within accordance to The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, policies of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Memorandum(s) of Understanding(s)/Letter(s) of Agreement(s) between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and United Thank Offering and the Bylaws and Policies and Procedures of the United Thank Offering; shall be accountable to the Executive Council and General Convention regarding the business of United Thank Offering and submit a written report(s) concerning said business.

Thank you for your time and considerations.


September 9, 2013

The follow represents an addendum to the above of the challenges faced by the board since the planned meeting with DFMS finance in June 2013

The cancellation of the June 2013 meeting between DFMS finance, two board members, and a past UTO finance officer was followed by a request from the Presiding Bishop to meet with the UTO board and DFMS management/staff personnel. The meeting was set for July 15th. At the meeting, at the request of the Presiding Bishop a task force was set up to continue to meet in the future to develop the By-Laws and Memorandum of Understanding by 9/15/2013. Upon her insistence there would be an equal number of DFMS personnel and UTO board members. Originally there was to be three (3) members each to the group that would become known as the “task force”. A member of DFMS asked to include Heather Milton the UTO coordinator on the task force and the UTO board agreed. In keeping with the Presiding Bishop position to have an equal number from each group; a fourth member from the UTO board was added to the task force. A follow on meeting was scheduled for August 1st with the objective to start work on the two documents (by-laws and MOU).

Two days before the meeting the UTO members on the task force was notified by the COO (Rt.Rev Sauls) that he would wanted the meeting to focus on “Relationships” instead of working on the two documents. The UTO member at first was taken back a bit by this since the 7/15 meeting direction was to work on the two documents. However, again in hope and an element of trust, the board member view this to be maybe a positive movement, in spite of the original objective, and agreed to meet in at 815 as planned on 8/1.

Upon arriving at the meeting at 815 the UTO board members was introduced to Michael Barlow the Secretary of General Convention. The board members took this as simple an introduction and proceeded to ready themselves for the meeting. However, Michael did not leave the meeting but instead stayed for the entire meeting with a very active voice in the process. SO MUCH FOR THE PRISIDING BISHOP INSISTANCE OF EQUAL NUMBERS AND VOICE. What was the meeting about, preparation of the two documents, no, working on relationships, evidently not?

The meeting concluded with a plethora of newsprint taped around the walls of the conference room regarding the relationship discussions. A follow on meeting was not scheduled to continue the process of developing the two documents. Instead the direction put forth by the COO was to have Robin from the UTO board and the Paul Nix, the legal counsel for the Church, to start to work together on the two documents. Note at this point in time the Church Center had received a copy of the board’s By-Laws (the current by-laws accepted at the 2012 General Convention) and draft MOU; the board had neither from 815. These two documents from the UTO board were actually submitted to the Presiding Bishop before the 7/15 meeting.

On Tuesday August 27th the Robin, a member of the task force and the one ask to work with Paul Nix, called him to express concerns that the timetable to complete the two documents by 9/15 was becoming very tight. Paul did not answer his phone so Robin left a voice mail to this effect.

On Wednesday August 28th Paul Nix returned Robin's call and indicated that there was no timetable issue but in fact that the documents were all “done”. There is no need to do anything further.

During the day Thursday the 29th of August two documents from the legal counsel for the Church Center were received in a email. Upon receipt of the email Robin sent a thank you reply immediately before the attachments were review. An immediate “out-of-office” message was receive back by Robin.

The review of the two documents brought a feeling of total shock, horror, and disbelief to the four UTO task force members. On Friday 8/30 the President of the board contacted all of the elected board members to set up a communications session using the Go-2-Meeting technology the board and committees has used in the past. The desire was to have the session as soon as practical which meant probably on Saturday night but with the number of scheduling conflicts the meeting was schedule for Sunday night instead among the elected board members. The documents were provided to the elected board members in advance of the meeting for them to review. The reaction of the board members, with the exception of one, was again shock and disbelief that the Church would take such a position. Questions abound and with the way the documents were constructed most members had difficulty understanding all the nuances of the two documents. After a lengthy discussion it was decided to get together again on Monday evening. The board ask to have an “annotated” version of the proposed By-Laws be prepared for the Monday night session. An version was prepared by basically removing all the line-through (crossed out)  UTO input text leaving only the DFMS By-Laws text. The reaction by the board members, with the exception of one again, was similar yet even stronger than Sunday’s session. Yet hope springs eternal and the discussion Monday night phrased like “can’t we sent them our documents”? No our documents were provided before the meeting on 7/15 with the Presiding Bishop. After all the members had a chance to voice their feelings and thoughts the President of the board read her letter of resignation in protest of the clear injustice of these documents, continued/constant DFMS management obstacles, and the certainty of the path to take over control of UTO and all that goes with it. Following the President’s resignation, to be effective at 11:59pm September 2nd, Robin Sumner read her resignation letter. Each board member was allowed to express their option of remaining on the board or not. All members made a decision were made with respect by all. Two additional members, Continuing Review Convener and the Secretary Officer tenured their resignation also in protest of the documents and the continued treatment by DFMS toward the board. The resignation of these four members vacated 4 out of the 5 offices leaving only the Treasurer’s office filled.

Surely the resignation of these members should send a significant message to the Episcopal community. The President of the board in fact has nearly 30 year of dedicated and volunteer service to the ECW, UTO, and other women ministries. Similar time of dedication applies to the other three members that resigned. Why would these member with this history of service take such an action if:
1)     The level of injustice to the ministries of the women was beyond comprehension.
2)     The continued approach and methods used by the very core of the Church Center in dealing with the board has been beyond any reasonable practices of a business and not a culture that could acceptable not only the board but all Episcopalians.
3)     Given the power brokers, resources, and culture existing at the Church Center the President and other that resigned concluded they could not be remotely connected with any part of the obvious dismantling of the UTO and it’s 125 years of service. As one message that has come forward lately put it; the members who resigned in protest realize that the important of the UTO ministry is larger than any personal aspect of their service.

Closing the book on such a historical and valuable lay ministry brings forth many emotions; anger, sadness, and disbelief. The very people that should be advocating, nurturing, and serve the efforts of the women of the church are the individuals that has perpetuated this injustice.

Several saying comes to mind: Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. The DFMS By-Law will means the concentration of power is now nearly complete at 815. Removing the UTO with a dotted line reporting and by taking the current structure at 815 to draw classic organizational chart it would show all power reporting to the COO as a solid (direct) line. This would be with one exception; ECW.

Who has held the most funds in restricted use trust accounts besides UTO and ECW?

Unless the Executive Council:
1)  Does not accept the DFMS By-Laws that will undoubtedly be submitted at their October meeting.
2)     Undertake a process to changing the power and control culture pervasive at 815

the survival of the UTO board operating as it has for past 125 years is unlikely. The six years of study of the UTO role in the Church will have been ignored. The idea repeated five times in the INC-055C report that the UTO board be “Autonomous yet interdependent” will never be realized. Even if the DFMS By-Laws is not accepted by the Executive Council the damage to the UTO board will render the success of a women’s and lay based ministry will suffer for years to come or possibly forever.

Surely for the board members that resigned the issue is not only and attempt to control the UTO and all that goes with it through the changes in the By-Law and MOU: a phrase used often when talking about governments:
It should also be
“a vote of no confident”
in the management style of our Church.

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