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President of Episcopal Church Women on UTO developments

President of Episcopal Church Women on UTO developments

A letter from the Rev. Deacon Nancy R. Crawford, President of the National Episcopal Church Women on “recent developments with UTO”:

ECW and UTO have been sisters in the Spirit and long-time partners in ministry for nearly 125 years. It is with personal feelings of great distress that I have learned of recent events that have taken place and have led to the resignations of the president and three other members of the UTO national board.

None of us take our roles of leadership lightly, and I am certain that the women prayed for guidance and took time to deliberate their decision to resign or to remain on the board. As Presiding Bishop Katharine has recently stated, “the United Thank Offering is a ministry of the whole church” and the goal of the UTO remains: “relieve suffering.”

The ECW national board will meet in early October and together we will determine how best to help in healing for our church. Until then, I ask you to continue to put your coins of thankfulness into your blue boxes and continue to hold your fall ingatherings in your parishes and at your diocesan conventions.

Finally, I ask your prayers for those who administer to the needs of our church, and most especially for all the women of our church who strive daily to do the work God calls us to do in mission and ministry in the world, that we may shine forth the joy and wonder we share in God’s holy name.

The Rev. Dcn. Nancy R. Crawford

President, National ECW Board

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Sandra McPhee

I was a member of the INC-055 Task Force from 2009 to 2012. I also served on the study committee that preceded the task force and met in the summer of 2008. At the time I was a member of the Executive Council and chaired the Executive Council’s International Concerns Committee for the 2006-2009 triennium.

I have been aware of and committed to the UTO since I was a very little girl. I remember the blue box on the window sill above the kitchen sink and watching my mother and my father drop coins into the box. The current confusion about the UTO and its role in the life of the Episcopal Church is a matter of great sadness to me and to many many others. Much has been posted on the internet in recent days that is confusing and misleading and does nothing to further the important work that the UTO has performed for 125 years and continues to perform.

Since its founding, the UTO has been an integral part of the life of Episcopal church women and its support has been critical in many parts of the Anglican communion, especially for the support of missionaries. That work must continue.

However, the UTO must comply with legal and accounting requirements for not-for-profits promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service and it must comply with generally accepted accounting principals to protect the contributions that many faithful people have made over the years. In order for an organization to use the tax id number and tax exempt status of another organization, the IRS requires that the organization with the tax id number demonstrate certain elements of control over the organization that is using its tax id number and tax exempt status.

Prior to 2007, the legal relationship between the UTO and the ECW and DFMS was fuzzy at best. As part of the well-documented study undertaken at the behest of the Presiding Bishop, it became necessary to make certain that the UTO complied with IRS regulations and with the regulations and procedures of DFMS. The INC-055 Task Force worked very closely with representatives of the UTO and indeed, Sarita Redd, who was the president of the UTO until her untimely death last January, was a member of the Task Force. Early on in its work, the INC-055 Task Force discussed the option of the UTO forming a separate corporation. That idea was rejected by the INC-055 Task Force and by the UTO Board. The report of INC-055 was never intended to be an end. It was intended as a starting point with the clear understanding that the UTO Bylaws would have to be re-written to comply with current procedures of both the IRS and DFMS. In addition, a formal Memorandum of Understanding would be prepared to set forth the relationship between the UTO and DFMS.

The proposed Bylaws and MOU that have been posted on the internet are just that, they are proposed and not final documents. It seems premature to attribute various motives to the Presiding Bishop and members of the DFMS staff or to the current and resigned members of the UTO Board. What seems appropriate is to let the UTO Board members who remain react to the draft bylaws and MOU and let the Executive Council have an opportunity to review and discuss this issue at its meeting in October.

Sandra McPhee

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