The History of UTO

At the 1889 Triennial Meeting in New York, the Women’s Auxiliary instituted the United Offering for the support of innovative mission projects and to send female missionaries to serve as nurses and teachers. The United Offering eventually became known as the United Thank Offering (UTO) collecting the prayers and grateful offerings of The Episcopal Church in thanksgiving for the many blessings of this life. Throughout its existence, the work of UTO was fundamental to expanding the mission of The Episcopal Church. While UTO has expanded and grown over the years, the United Thank Offering continues to promote the spiritual practice of gratitude.

Julia Chester Emery, founder of the United Thank Offering

“Julia Chester Emery was National Secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary, now called the Episcopal Church Women, from 1876 until 1916. She was a modest and self-effacing Victorian lady who was so careful to stay out of the limelight that it is difficult today to piece together all the things she did to advance the missionary efforts of the church and to enable women’s ministries. She led in the effort to get canonical status for deaconesses. She invented and brought into being the United Thank Offering. She was the indefatigable “Miss Julia” to a whole generation of missionaries, both men and women. Her entire life was focused on devotion to this one cause: the spread of Christ’s kingdom among all people.”


Courtesy of Dorothy McLean from the Diocese of Southern Ohio, we have a reprint of a 1994 UTO coloring book available to download below. We also partnered with Illustrated Ministry in 2022 to create a new coloring book available to download below.


Our annual reports are great tools for understanding the most recent history of UTO.