Chalice Lighters Announces a New Fund

We’ve got a nifty program here in our District that has been assisting congregations with their growth-related projects for more than 20 years. It’s called Chalice Lighters. Here’s how it works: individual Unitarian Universalists sign up to be Chalice Lighters. They promise to respond to three calls a year, with a check for between $10 and $25 each time, to support a worthy project in a local congregation. Some projects are large  and receive a “full call” of $6,000 – $8,000 — first professional staff member such as a minister or a religious educator, or purchasing or renovating a building, or starting a new congregation. Some projects are small and receive a smaller grant of $1,000 – 2,000 — examples include a small sound system, a keyboard for better music, starting a campus ministry group or young adult group. This program, conceived by Rev. Alan Egly in the early 1980s, has given out more than $400,000 over the years. Those small checks really add up!

We’ve just started a new fund for a new purpose: a Social Justice Fund. This fund will make grants of up to $1,000 to congregations for use in integrating social justice work into the active life of their congregation. The intention of these grants is to build community awareness of UU values in action. Recipient congregations are expected to fund a portion of program costs. Examples of programs that could be funded include things such as: workshops on self-sufficiency and welfare rights; nutritional weekend food supply for elementary school students; UU Social Justice Empowerment workshops; micro loans; Green Sanctuary/Earth Ministry projects. In each case, the congregation needs to be able to tell how they will publicize the project in their community when they apply for the grant.

Obviously, the more Chalice Lighters we have, the more money we can give to congregations for their growth-related projects. The “full calls” could be bigger, and we could fund more of the smaller grants, too. If you’re not already a Prairie Star District Chalice Lighter, consider signing up today. You can find more information at www.psduua.org/ChaliceLighters/ChaliceLighters 

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