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Executive Council approves new agreement with UTO

Executive Council approves new agreement with UTO

Today, the United Thank Offering and the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council officially agreed on a memorandum of understanding between the two groups. Executive Council also approved a new set of bylaws for UTO, which has supported the church’s mission and ministry for 125 years.


The bylaws outline the UTO’s mission and purpose, its responsibilities, the roles of the board’s officers and members (and the terms of their service) and other functional issues.

The memo of understanding details operational aspects of how DFMS will work with the UTO and vice versa.

Among the things the DFMS has agreed to do are:

  • include the UTO in its mission-planning discussions so that it is aware of the mission department’s goals and priorities;
  • collaborate with the UTO board in preparing annual and triennial budgets for the council’s approval;
  • manage all of UTO’s financial affairs in conjunction with the UTO board, reporting to the board with monthly financial operating statements and quarterly investment statements;
  • manage trust funds held in whole or in part for the UTO “in a prudent manner consistent with DFMS investment policies and in accordance with the terms of the funds;
  • provide the board with meeting-planning services and travel logistics, as well as needed staff training;
  • provide the board with grant-accountability information;
  • provide communications resources and a web-based internal communication system for the board that will also allow for archiving of electronic documents;
  • manage the archiving of non-electronic documents, memorabilia and other UTO items;
  • provide translation services and legal services as needed;
  • promote UTO “whenever possible”; and
  • provide two full-time DFMS staff members to work with the board (the memo outlines the tasks of each employee).

Among the UTO’s responsibilities are:

  • acceding to the authority of the church’s Constitution and Canons, the council’s bylaws and DFMS policies and procedures;
  • submitting an annual report to council;
  • having its annual grant recommendations vetted by the DFMS director of mission for compliance with that year’s council-approved grant criteria, and submitting the awards to council for approval;
  • agreeing to consult with members of the church center’s Global Partnerships Team regarding grant applications from provinces outside the Episcopal Church;
  • being “responsible for the UTO granting process in support of the mission initiative as established by the leadership of the Episcopal Church”; and
  • expanding participation, with cooperation of DFMS staff, in UTO “to represent all demographics found within the Episcopal Church.”

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This MOU has many positives, but in essence destroys the very reason for the formation of the UTO — a source of funds for grants controlled by women of the church. The last two bullets above make the UTO subject to mission priorities set by the Executive Council (bye-bye UTO setting its own giving priorities) and they promise to expand the board to reflect the demographics of the church. To do that, it can no longer be a ministry of WOMEN.

Joan Gundersen

Chris H.

Unfortunately, they don’t have the actual bylaws up yet, but I don’t see anything in that list that wasn’t in the “new” bylaws that caused the upset. The board works for 815. 815 decides the agenda, controls the money and decides for itself whether or not to follow the boards recommendations. The parts I found most interesting/new were the reason for the takeover wasn’t the IRS anymore but dwindling income(which couldn’t be from the shrinking of TEC itself, could it?) and the part about UTO “representing all demographics of TEC”. UTO as a women’s lay outreach/mission is finished.

Chris Harwood


Good to see that, after all the Sturm-und-Drang…

JC Fisher

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