Four Members of the UTO Board Resign in Protest of Proposed Bylaw Changes.

The following was received the evening of September 3rd.I will post some reflections on this later. 

(In the interest of full disclosure, I was the chair of the committee that proposed to Executive Council the bylaws currently in use. These were approved by Executive Council prior to the 2012 General Convention. My term has ended on Council and I have no official relationship to either Council or the UTO at this time. What I have is hopes for both the UTO and for The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, and sadness that UTO leadership has seen this as a necessary action to take at this time.  May some good come from all of this.)

"For release September 3, 2013

A Statement from the Former Communications Convener of the United Thank Offering Board:

With the stroke of a pen, the United Thank Offering Board (UTO) will possibly be rendered powerless and voiceless by Episcopal Church leadership.  This is a complete reversal of a three- year study process that resulted in the General Convention ratifying the report of a Study Committee (INC-055 AdHoc) in 2012. The report praised the UTO Board’s work and declared:
                  “We believe that the United Thank Offering must continue to be autonomous but interdependent as regards the corporate entity that constitutes The Episcopal Church.”

The abuse of power seems staggering.  With the revision of bylaws written by DFMS leadership, anticipated to be presented to The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church in October 2013, the current United Thank Offering Board, representing 125 years of service, will cease to exist.
The revised bylaws document eviscerates the United Thank Offering. It is monstrous and the worst set of revisions ever seen by one longtime bylaws expert.   Several Board members described initial reactions to the document as "Horror."  The Board President said the word "eviscerate" occurred to her as well.

In protest, 4 persons including the board president, Barbi Tinder, and most of the officers have resigned from the board.  The group resigning includes 3 of the 4 persons appointed by the Presiding Bishop to be part of a working group to revise the "old" bylaws that were approved by Executive Council just two years ago.  One person said she felt betrayed. It appears that none of  the input from the UTO members of the group was integrated into the proposed document.

In the proposed draft revision, the current board is superseded by a new election process that totally removes the United Thank Offering from its historic relationship with Episcopal Church Women.

Any decision making from board is removed; it will be only an advisory body. It appears The United Thank Offering Board will no longer be responsible for its granting process, budget and approval of expenditures, communications, meeting planning, education and training events, and public appearances.  The Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, also known as DFMS (the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society), becomes fully responsible for the administration and management of the United Thank Offering.

The earned interest from millions of dollars of UTO trust funds and annual UTO offerings come totally into DFMS control. The Chief Operating Officer has said,  "We, DFMS, are the United Thank Offering and the United Thank Offering is DFMS."

For further information contact:

Robin Sumners:  rwc@prismnet.comrwc@prismnet.com

Cell: 719-235-7516 719-235-7516
Former Communication Convener

Barbi Tinder: uto prov1@gmail.comprov1@gmail.com
Former President


  1. OK, yes, I will await the "real" story behind this, as I'm sure there is one.

    Gretchen R. Chateau

  2. Very overt power grab by the sound of it

  3. What's going on here, Mark?
    I ask this as one who drops coins into my "little blue box" almost every night. I love the sound of those coins, but I don't like the sound of this press release.

    Now, let's see if I can navigate the hieroglyphics that are required to post on your blog. :-(

  4. Sounds like DFMS is operating true to form.

    We're currently awaiting judgment from the court regarding who owns and controls the property and accounts of the Diocese of Quincy.

    God will judge.

    At times, as a parent, I have laughed at our children and the silly things they sometimes do.

    I hope God is amused by some of the silly things we do, but I have my doubts.

    I thank Him for His Mercy.


  5. This has been going on since 2008 when certain staff attempted to take over UTO. During the six years I served on the UTO Committee, we did extensive study on governance and operation, kept by-laws and procedures up to date, the Committee got legal counsel; the president (me)met with INC of Executive Council; and there were numerous discussions with the presiding bishop, the COO, the task force, discussions and resolutions at Triennial Meeting 2009 and others. There has not been any wrongdoing on the part of the UTO Committee/Board. Women started this ministry, built the Memorial and Gift Trust Fund to cover expenses and work very hard to grow UTO in order to provide for grants. UTO should continue to be administered by lay women who encourage everyone to be involved in giving and thankfulness.
    Regina D. Ratterree
    Former UTO President 2008-2009

  6. Everyone - but especially members of the Executive Council and 815 who are involved in this issue - ought to read chapter 9 of "New Wine" by Pamela Darling.

    One would think that the administration at 815 might have learned a few lessons the last time a "restructuring" was proposed. GC responded by (1) proposing to sell 815 (There, that'll learn ya!) and (2) forming it's own Task Force for Restructuring / Revision.

    Makes the heart sad - and, very, very angry.

  7. I pry for all those involved and offer the thought that reconciliation and humility are possible paths forward....


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.