En Espanol aqui
2 of 4 Tiny Houses—350 square feet on site of St. James Church, Cannon Ball, Standing Rock Reservation
Thanks for a Great Meeting
Many thanks to the work we did in North Dakota and will continue to do. We have made a great start to the focus and criteria for our 2017 grants, a start to pocket-sized prayer books for 2018, our rubrics for evaluating grants, and our self-study. Plus we had the visit of a lifetime to the Standing Rock Reservation.
Just a reminder, please get your reimbursement request in as soon as possible. Remember if during the scheduled meeting if UTO provides a meal for the group, you are not eligible for reimbursement for that meal if you choose to eat out. Once those meal arrangements are made through our General Convention Office, we are obligated to pay for them, and I am not able to change the order—I did check on that. So if you ate out when a meal was provided at the hotel, that cost is one you will have to absorb.
Questions from our Meeting
After the goal setting exercise, I asked people to submit questions. I got some related to the survey, some related to the role of the provincial coordinators, related to Heather’s travel, the role of the Julia Chester Emery Intern, and to attracting younger people to serve as diocesan coordinators and provincial reps for UTO. Some are a little rhetorical, but the substance of all is good.
What I would like to do is answer some and save some for our Executive Committee to answer and include those in future missives. I am sure there are no answers that will satisfy everyone, but I will share what I know and perhaps we can talk about this at future meetings as well. Since this question was about Heather’s travel, I have invited her responses so you can hear from both of us.
Perhaps we can have a group discussion through a webinar, pose questions on Facebook or our blog, especially to our younger coordinators.
First Question (quoted directly from questions with added punctuation)
- Why does Heather go speak at various Diocesan Conventions? What about Province Representatives? They can do it.
- Why is the Province Representative not invited to attend when Heather visit—also paid for?
- Who made decision for it to be done this way?
Why does Heather go speak at various Diocesan Conventions?
Heather is a staff employee of the Church Center; part of her job is to speak on UTO’s behalf. She has a working relationship with many bishops in the United States and abroad, and she is known to them and often invited by the bishop of a diocese to come and speak. She can only attend a diocesan event at the invitation of the bishop. The General Convention (GC) contributes to the UTO budget to partially staff the office and provide an operations budget. UTO is given an allocation each triennial, and UTO receives our trust fund income—those two sources give us our operating budget, that is how staff are funded and how we pay for our twice annually held Board meetings and printing materials for use by coordinators. You know this, but it bears repeating, this budget is completely separate from our Ingathering income.
Heather is not an employee of the UTO Board, she is hired by the Church Center and has a direct supervisor there to do UTO’s work, and she operates with us much in the way many non-profit organizations operate with a Board. She would be called an Executive Director in most non-profit organizations, but during the time of the by-laws revisions, we were asked to revise the by-laws to call her a missioner. So we do.
The Board’s primary role is to raise Ingathering funds, and to review and award grants.
I know that Heather has contacted province reps when she is speaking in their provinces. She will have to speak to whether she always does that. She has also been directed by her immediate supervisors at the Church Center to concentrate on certain provinces as well. And the previous Presiding Bishop, Bishop Katherine, directed UTO to make a priority of indigenous ministries.
I am invited by Bishops to come and speak at Convention just as other staff of the Presiding Bishop are invited to do. Sometimes I am invited to come and support a new UTO Coordinator, a new Ingathering process (if they are moving it from a luncheon to Convention, for example), or simply to promote UTO. There are other times that I am invited to come and speak simply as a member of the Presiding Bishop’s Staff. Each staff person is assigned three or more dioceses to partner with and we are responsible for attending events as invited and speaking about our ministry area in addition to the overall ministry of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. I’m speaking at the Diocese of Northern Indiana Convention in that regard, for example.
Province Representatives can speak at events, and many of you do. The reality is that we don’t have a budget for you to travel or the insurance coverage during this triennium.
What about Province Representatives? They can do it.
Regarding budget allocations, however, when the budget for 2015-2018 was approved in 2014 there was no provision for province coordinator funding other than to attend Board meetings.
There had been $4000 annually budgeted for president’s travel in 2012-2015, and that was cut to $1000 in 2014 for the 2015-2018 budget. That $1000 travel fund are used to represent the UTO Board. For example, I spent about $850 of that budget when I traveled to the Convocation of Navajoland, at their invitation, and you may recall I privately funded my travel to Europe.
Part of our conversation led by Kathy Mank was to identify things we would like to ask the Budget and Finance Committee of the Executive Council to consider when they start their planning. So if it is a Board priority to attend diocesan and provincial meetings to speak on behalf of UTO, that should be something you put in writing and submit to the Executive Committee for inclusion as a proposed use of funds when we submit our priorities to the Budget and Finance Committee of the Executive Council.
The invitation must come from the Bishop and it is up to him/her whom they want to invite. Often it is about cost and space and they only want one person to come. Navajoland is a great example of where this is different, Bishop Bailey specifically invited Sandra to come along with me. The invitation was to Sandra, Kayla, me and my family. (My family paid its own way.)
Why is the Province Representative not invited to attend when Heather visit—also paid for?
I think the answer to why the province rep is not paid for is included in the answer above—those allocations were not made in the 2015-2018 budget. As I said, Heather will have to answer the question of how she handles visits since I only know about some visits.
With that said, if we did have a budget for Province Representatives to travel and be invited places, I wouldn’t recommend that they travel with me all of the time. For one, we have limited resources and a great need to increase visibility of UTO, therefore if we can send two people, I would rather send them to two different places so two dioceses hear about UTO instead of just one. The other reason is that I travel on a pace that would be considered pretty grueling for most people. For example, when I go to Northern Indiana, I literally am flying in, driving to the event, driving back and flying out. I will be there less than 18 hours. I do this because it saves money and that’s all that I have been invited to do while I am there. Sandra will be happy to share with you how challenging it is to travel with me and how fast we turn things around!
Who made decision for it to be done this way?
The Board determines how to best spend the money it has, directed by the Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Financial Secretary. We were over-spent on meetings during 2014, and our meetings were cut by the Executive Council from 3 to 2, meetings were shortened, so obviously they have some influence on our allocations as well since they approve UTO’s proposed budget.
During Heather’s pregnancy and the first year of her twins’ lives, she traveled less and allocated money from her operations budget for Board use. That is how we were able to meet our expenses including significant printing costs in preparation for Triennial. Since she is now able to travel more freely, that funds are no longer available for Board use.
Staff travel approval policies are in place for all staff of the Presiding Bishop and we, like everyone else, follow those policies. When I receive an invitation, I have to ask my supervisor, David, for approval. If it is international travel, then I have to ask Canon Robertson. If it overlaps with something someone else is doing, I write and notify them as well, in addition to letting the staff liaison for that diocese know that I am visiting their diocese and why. I then tell Sandra where I’m going so she’s aware of my schedule. I also notify Episcopal News Service in case I can get us press for the event. I then contact the Diocesan UTO person (if there is one that I know about) to let them know I’m coming, to find out what supplies they need, if there are specific things they would like me to do while I’m there to support them and so forth. Sherri can also share more about that, since I came to Maine last year, or Joyce Landers who I am descending upon in February.
Additionally, as I shared with the Finance Committee in North Dakota, I did ask for budget funds to be set aside for Board travel before last General Convention when our budget was being initially reviewed for this triennium. My recommendation was that with cutting the third meeting we could use those funds for additional travel. As you all know from looking at our budget that obviously didn’t happen. As I also shared with the Finance Committee, this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask again, especially since so much has changed in the last year on the Presiding Bishop’s Staff.
Sandra’s Summary Comments
I don’t know that these answers will satisfy the questioner’s need for information, but I will continue to address each question as well as I can in future missives. I will also reach out to Heather or others to help answer the questions when I think it is needed.
If this is helpful, let me know. I am never hesitant to answer questions, but some we have talked about at meetings, and apparently are not as clearly understood by Board members as I thought.
I have entered the dates of travel that I have received from Board members at the meeting, and asked Sherri to update future vacation plans.
Those who have weekly obligations of meetings at your church, EFM, other meetings, we will do our best to avoid those conflicts, but I have found personally that while serving on the UTO Board, my personal obligations have taken a real hit. So I have arranged with others in my various groups to anticipate that I will have intermittent attendance during the 3 years I am on this Board.
Webinars typically fall on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. We have found those two days of the week the optimal to get people engaged. Predictability is also important, so we try to use the same time, days of the week, and phone numbers and log on information to reduce confusion.
From our Extranet Site
|May 3-6, 2017
The Condado Plaza Hilton, Puerto Rico
|United Thank Offering Board
|September 25-28, 2017
Maritime Institute of Technology, Maryland
|United Thank Offering Board
Recommendation: Reaching Out to Diocesan Coordinators by Phone Once a Year
In light of the information on funds for travel noted above, I would recommend that we make phone calls to the diocesan UTO coordinators in our provinces. I know many of us have unlimited phone time on our landlines at home or on our cell phones.
Here is my recommendation: make a list of your diocesan coordinators in your province with both phone numbers and emails. Contact them at least monthly with some encouragement as a group, but make it a goal to call or see each diocesan coordinator at least once a year. Make sure they are all on the e-newsletter list. After the call, I suggest you follow-up with a short email.
If any of you have too many coordinators in your province to call once a year, let me know and I will ask members of our Executive Committee to help. I am glad to help in anyway I can. It doesn’t have to be a long call, but just a reminder that you are out there.
Slight Change in Focus and Criteria for 2017 Grants
The Grants Committee and majority of the Executive Committee has approved a change to grant requests for vehicle for our aided dioceses. In the past, those vehicle requests coming outside the United States were fully funded, and those inside the US funded for half of the vehicle cost.
This change was noted and corrected so that aided dioceses will now be treated the same as companion dioceses and allow requests for full vehicle funding. If you recall this does not include insurance, licensing and other costs.
That change is being incorporated into the material being sent to the Executive Council for its approval of our 2017 regular grant cycle.
See you in mid-November
I will be gone from now until mid-November. I hope you all have a great time of trick or treaters, holiday preparations, and beautiful fall colors. I will be in Morocco and Spain for the next month. Based on my previous travel experiences, I doubt I will have reliable internet service. So don’t forget to vote, and enjoy your fall knowing you have done great work and that you are much appreciated.
|WORD FOR THE DAY
No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you.