Great things come in small packages—those little blue United Thank Offering (UTO)- boxes to be precise! Our current effort to support Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) across the diocese would not be possible without the grant of $50,000 we received in the summer of 2017 to hire a Missioner for Community Engagement for a one year period. We are honored and thrilled to have been named a recipient!
Our Missioner for Community Engagement, Adrien Niyongabo, has been trained in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) through the Episcopal Church’s Called to Transformation program www.calledtotransformation.org). He splits his time between an initiative to help us unearth community assets across the diocese and a proof-of-concept project at Holy Trinity, South Bend.
The diocesan initiative has already included an initial round of deanery-hosted ABCD workshops and is now heading into a period of individual faith community consultation, support, and assistance in the discovery of local community assets that can be more fully integrated with the life of the specific local parish. Only the Spirit knows where this will lead us!
We are delighted to be a part of the work the UTO is doing to improve the lives of people at home and abroad. You may remember the presentation by the UTO Director, the Rev. Heather Melton from our 2016 diocesan convention. She shared with us that this project is exactly the kind of work the church overall, and the United Thank Offering, is looking to promote. We can't wait to see how the Holy Spirit inspires this process and helps us live into our communities more fully. It is our hope and prayer that some of the projects we envision will lead to future UTO grant applications.
- Terri and Michelle