Below currently are five documents related to the resignation of the UTO-Four as they have been called lately.
- A statement from the past-President of the UTO board in response to an email inquiry.
- An email from the past-President announcing her resignation to the President of the Episcopal Church Women.
- A resignation letter from the past-President of UTO read to the UTO board on September 2, 2013
- A resignation letter from the past-President/past-Province I Representative sent to her parish.
- A resignation letter from the Officer of the Communication Convener read to the board on September 2, 2013.
- A resignation letter from the Officer of the Continuation Committee.
Statement regarding resigning as President and Province Representative of the United Thank Offering Board
In case you are not aware, I am letting you know that I and three other United Thank Offering Board members resigned on Sept 2nd in protest of the DFMS treatment of the board and their proposed documents to strip the United Thank Offering of all decision making. I personally felt that the integrity of the thousands of women who have served the United Thank Offering as committee members, the tens of thousands of women who have voted on the awarding of grants and the millions of people who give thanks on a regular basis and show that by putting coins in their blue boxes to meet needs around the world should not have their participation cast aside. The United Thank Offering is and should continue to be the work of the laity of the church caring for needs wherever they may be identified. It has not and should not become standards set by and decisions made by the senior staff at the Church Center. The proposed documents changes the United Thank Offering from a working board into an advisory group. If you have been following the hob/d listserv and/or blogs you may have some sense of what is happening. If you have questions I suggest that you check out the information on the following blog:
I admit I had to take the time to get past my outrage with the proposed documents and my feelings regarding the treatment the United Thank Offering is being subjected to before I could respond to individuals.
September 3, 2013
The Rev. Nancy Crawford
Episcopal Church Women
This letter is to inform you that we, four members of the United Thank Offering Board, have resigned in protest regarding the behavior of the leadership of The Episcopal Church at the Church Center, 815 2nd Avenue, New York, New York. These members are the President, the Secretary, the Communications Committee Convener and the Continuing Review Committee Convener (the committee responsible for the bylaws of the organization). Three of us have been serving on a working group task force appointed by the Presiding Bishop to participate in the revision of the United Thank Offering bylaws, approved by Executive Council just two years ago.
There are two areas of difficulty that seem insurmountable.
First, the fact that the Church Center staff has not supported the granting process, has not followed the policies and procedures of the Board related to the grants program that has been the primary work of the Board for more than a hundred years, and has not gotten grant awards to recipients in a timely fashion. Second, the fact that the Church Center leadership is now proposing significantly revised bylaws that will replace the historic United Thank Offering Organization and its relationship to the Episcopal Church Women with a new entity, no longer relating to the women of the church, but being entirely absorbed by the Executive Council, becoming the United Thank Offering of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. Members of the United Thank Offering Board will be elected through the Episcopal Province Synods rather than through the Episcopal Church Women.
The change in the status of the United Thank Offering means that it loses its autonomous oversight of the trust funds left to its care; these funds will now be under the exclusive oversight of DFMS with the United Thank Offering having no input into the use of the funds given primarily to continue the missionary work of the women of the church. Ingathering funds will now go directly to the Executive Council and the Chief Operating Officer of DFMS for oversight for a new granting process.
The Episcopal Church leadership has stated they "...believe that these revisions will work to maximum the viability of the UTO Board for many years to come." We do not know if what they believe and have proposed to do will accomplish their goals of growing the United Thank Offering; we do not agree with the method or the way it has been executed, yet we do not wish to stay in conflict with the church we love and serve, and have therefore made the very difficult decision to resign, and each of us find other places within the church to serve.
We do this with regret and sadness. We will continue as faithful members of Episcopal Church Women, will stay passionate about the United Thank Offering and will continue to serve our church with Joy, Hope and prayers for Grace. We will continue to pray for the leadership team at 815, and for those remaining United Thank Offering Board members with the stamina to continue the battle.
In His Service:
Barbi Tinder, President, Province I Representative
(signed Barbi Tinder)
Renee Haney, Secretary, Province VII Representative
(signed Renee Haney)
Georgie White, Continuing Review Committee Convener, Member-At-Large Asia
(signed Georgie White)
Robin Woods Sumners, Communications Committee Convener, Province VI Representative
(signed Robin Woods Sumners)
After months of dealing with the environment of The Episcopal Church Center over this past year, I’ve come to the conclusion of certain realities. Each of you, with one exception, indicated last night that these documents represent a takeover of the United Thank Offering.
Because of my long time commitment to the women of the church, the Episcopal Church Women and the United Thank Offering I have tried to maintain hope that the United Thank Offering would continue to move forward as it has since the 1880s.
Over the last two days of repeatedly going over drafts of United Thank Offering governing documents created by DFMS senior staff, the management style at 815 and the disrespectful treatment of the United Thank Offering and its board members has caused me to reevaluate our situation. In re-evaluating the assets available to the United Thank Offering outside of 815 and possible options that could be applied to the struggle I can only come to one conclusion. We, the board, will be prevented from succeeding in this battle. We did not ask to be placed in this situation. We have endeavored to establish a relationship with DFMS and executive personnel in pursuit of the mission of the United Thank Offering. However, repeatedly Church Center staff have rejected the effort, delayed and canceled meetings or withheld information and materials. The latest and most grievous example is the DFMS version of the Memorandum of Understanding and the United Thank Offering By- Laws. To that, add the statement from the author of the document that leaves no room for discussion, negotiation or revision. "...believe that these revisions will work to maximum the viability of the UTO Board for many years to come." Given this environment, there is no doubt in my mind that the documents that the United Thank Offering Board received will be submitted to the October 2013 Executive Council meeting with the ruse that the United Thank Offering Board is in agreement. We most definitely are not in agreement and our voice is being silenced.
In all good conscience, I will not allow myself, or the United Thank Offering Board, to be victimized in such a travesty.
I hope you understand that U.T.O. did not create this situation. Not a single one of us is responsible for the inevitable and eventual outcome of the end of the United Thank Offering as a daily practice of prayer and thanksgiving.
At the end of this meeting I will be submitting my resignation as President of the United Thank Offering Board as of 11:59 pm on September 2, 2013. This resignation is being sent to the President of the Episcopal Church Women and President of Province 1 Episcopal Church Women. The decision is not made without some concerns and trepidation. However, the injustice and lack of respect to the thousands of faithful women of the church over the last 125 years overrides any personal recrimination I may be subjected to.
I wish to thank each of you for the opportunity to serve as your president and especially to Sarita for her faith and belief in my capabilities. She is one of the individuals that started me on this amazing journey of the last four years. I thank each of you for your time and your commitment to the ministry of the United Thank Offering. Know that my deep belief in the strength, courage and innate wisdom of the women is a centering force for me. I will continue to advocate for women and laity in the life of the church, especially the United Thank Offering and the Episcopal Church Women.
Peace and thankfulness,
(signed Barbi Tinder)
Dear fellow parishioners,
A series of events led up to my decision to be one of four United Thank Offering Board members who resigned on Sept 2nd in protest of the DFMS treatment of the United Thank Offering Board and their proposed documents to strip the United Thank Offering of all decision making. I personally felt that the integrity of the thousands of women who have served the United Thank Offering as committee members, the tens of thousands of women who have voted on the awarding of grants and the millions of people who give thanks on a regular basis and show that by praying and putting coins in their blue boxes to meet needs around the world should not have their participation cast aside. The United Thank Offering is and should continue to be the work of the laity of the church caring for needs wherever they may be identified. It has not and should not become standards set by and decisions made by the senior management staff at the Church Center. The proposed Bylaws and the Memorandum of Understanding basically changes the United Thank Offering from a working board into an advisory group.
As a life long Episcopalian I continue to be an active advocate for women’s ministries, lay leadership, the Episcopal Church Women and the United Thank Offering. What I will not abide is the reducing of the daily prayers, thanksgivings and the sharing of coins for mission to the status of a fundraiser for a few people to determine what the grants will be and select the recipients. I am happy to share my thoughts and what information I am aware of with any of you that may have questions.
If you want to see the documents of concern, they are located at:
God’s peace and in thankfulness of the opportunity to serve,
(signed Barbi Tinder)
September 2, 2013
The Rev. Nancy Crawford; President, Episcopal Church Women National Board
Sandra Squires, President, Episcopal Church Women, Province VI
Dear Nancy and Sandra,
With a deep sense of despair and regret I feel I must resign as the United Thank Offering Representative from Province VI of the Episcopal Church. I will be forever grateful for the time I have served. The work I have done will remain with me as a gift to myself. The women on the Board, the people in the pews, the grant applicants, the women of the church whom I have met have enriched my life in uncountable ways.
The United Thank Offering has been a part of my life since I was born; that is one of the great joys this experience has been, as I have been able to give back to an organization that gave to my Aunt the opportunity to be one of the first women missionaries to Japan. My home has always been filled with the things that represent her.
However, I cannot continue to serve the United Thank Offering at the National level; I cannot go one more day dreading the next terrible step the leadership at the Church Center at 815 will take to destroy the United Thank Offering. I feel that every minute I am available even to talk with or about them and their planned actions, I am a participant in the path of destruction they have undertaken. My experience with the leadership of our church from the top down is that there is no intention of truth, honesty, or integrity. I have found it shocking. My experience is that the National Church leadership thrives on a climate of deceit, discourtesy, rudeness, paranoia, and calculated bullying. There is little room for respect of dedicated lay people willing to give of their treasure, time and talent. I have no energy left for the ongoing battle; my spiritual, physical and emotional energy is exhausted. I have nothing left to give.
I am resigning from my position as Province VI representative effective Sept. 2, 11:59 p.m. I will take the time to be certain that all the records I need to bring up to date and deliver to the UTO office will be completed as quickly as possible.
I remain a servant of the Lord and a faithful member of the Episcopal Church Women.
In His Service,
Robin Woods Sumners
Province VI Representative
United Thank Offering
Cc: Lelanda Lee, The Rev. John Floberg, The Rev. Robert O’Neill, Nel Benton-Hough,
September 3, 2013
The Rev. Nancy Crawford; President, Episcopal Church Women National Board
Barbara Owens, President, Episcopal Church Women, Province IV
Dear Nancy and Barbara,
It is with deep sorrow and regret that I must resign as the United Thank Offering Board Member-at-Large/Asia Pacific. I especially would like to thank the people of Province IV for giving me the honor of representing you the past four years. Province IV is the BEST Province in the world, with this in mind; I’d like to share this meditation with you.
Who Can You Trust These Days?
It’s far better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust any human. It’s far better to take refuge In the Lord than to trust any human leader. Psalm 118: 8: 9
Therefore, with the Takeover that is being perpetrated by the leadership at 815 Second Avenue has left me with a sense of betrayal, shock, and despair. I am not against Change but when I’m asked to give feedback, ideas, and these are duly noted and sent to the Church Center, only to be returned with not a resemblance of what was sent, this is downright rude, abusive and appalling. There was no room for coming to the table again. Being told It’s Done. There is nothing more to say or do. I have thought and prayed and know this is the only thing for me to do at this time.
Grace and Blessings
Member –at Large/Asia /Pacific United Thank Offering