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 United Thank Offering is a venerable institution within the Episcopal Church. Up until now it has been under control of the Episcopal Church Women, a group of people who have had to put up with a lot over the years (such as, the unceremonious ejection of my mother’s ladies’ guild’s rummage sale from the parish hall, which resulted in Palm Beach’s premier resale shop). But, in its centralising rage, TEC has yanked their autonomy also.
Although I have blog readers who disagree, I try to avoid visceral, emotion-charged rants. One exception was The Church of the Palm Crosses becomes the Church of the Double Cross, over what I feel is the Episcopal Church’s shameful handling of its property disputes. At the time I stated that, IMHO, TEC’s leaders “are only in it for the money“. Stuff like this only confirms my suspicion.
But do not be deceived: any church or charity which takes money for one purpose and funnels it into another–the usual result of moves like this–will demoralise its donor base in a hurry. (I think there are some legal problems with that, but TEC seems to be Teflon coated most of the time). And when you demoralise your donor base, you will stop them from giving. This is not a good strategy for an institution whose demographics are as unfavourable as TEC’s and which needs all the happy donors it can get.
And I’ll repeat this from that same rant:
I’ve said many nasty things about Episcopalians and their church, but I’d never have believed that I would come to that conclusion about this church. The Episcopal Church was supposed to be the place where this kind of thing didn’t happen, but happened it did. In the past Episcopalians, lay and cleric alike, could comfort themselves in the conceit that, while rude “Bible-thumpers” went on television to enrich themselves at the expense of the impecunious, the Episcopal church was basically above such tasteless social climbing. One can only conclude that the church is currently held captive by a bunch of left-wing arrivistes who, while attempting to maintain the appearances of the past, are at best no better than those they ridicule.