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Dear MidAmerica Chalice Lighter,

First of all, let me say, “Thank You!” Because of people like you, the Chalice Lighter program in MidAmerica has been able to award grants to dozens of congregations throughout the region over the last five years. From Oxford, Ohio, to Omaha, Nebraska, and from Ashland, Wisconsin, to Wichita, Kansas, your generous contributions have helped congregations build new buildings and improve existing ones; hire new ministers, religious educators, and other professional staff; and promote Unitarian Universalist values through outreach and social justice projects.

As you know, these grants are funded by donations from people like you across the MidAmerica Region of the UUA. Pooled together, your contributions have allowed us to award grants averaging $6000 to $7000. But because of the way grants have been allocated—with up to three grants awarded each Fall, Winter, and Spring Chalice Lighter Call—the ability to give larger amounts to congregations with bigger projects has been limited. That’s why we’re making some changes to the Chalice Lighter program starting next year.

Beginning with the Fall 2019 Chalice Lighter Call, we will be awarding only one large grant each call to a single congregation in the region. Our hope is that by giving bigger grants, congregations will dare to take on bigger projects, projects that could use a boost from Chalice Lighters in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. But what about congregations that don’t need a large grant? That’s where another change is coming. To make sure that there will still be plenty of opportunities for congregations to get grants under $10,000, the Chalice Lighter program is going to start supporting Faithify campaigns beginning in September 2019.

Faithify is an online crowd-funding platform for Unitarian Universalism that has, since 2014, raised over 1.3 million dollars for nearly 350 campaigns, including many campaigns from congregations in the MidAmerica Region*. Here’s how Faithify works: any Unitarian Universalist individual or organization can post a campaign at Campaigns can be for any amount, and can appear on the Faithify website for 15, 30, 45, or 60 days. If a campaign has reached its goal by the end of the that time, the individual or group who posted the campaign will receive the funds. If a campaign does not succeed, no donations will be processed and the campaign poster will receive no funds.

This is where Chalice Lighters will come in. In order to help qualified Faithify campaigns from MidAmerica congregations succeed, the Chalice Lighters program will donate up to 10% of their funding goals. So, for example, if a campaign is seeking $5000, Chalice Lighters will contribute $500. To be considered for these funds, a campaign must come from a congregation or related Unitarian Universalist organization in the MidAmerica Region. Priority will be given to groups that show the same commitment to Unitarian Universalism in MidAmerica that Chalice Lighter applicants are asked to show: Shared Stewardship, Honor Congregation Status, Active Chalice Lighter Program, and Participation in the Life of the MidAmerica Region.

As I said earlier, these changes won’t take place until the Fall 2019 Chalice Lighter Call. Until then, we will continue to award grants to three congregations in the MidAmerica Region. With one exception—this Chalice Lighter Call. Because we didn’t have any applications for the Fall 2018 Chalice Lighter Call, we’ve decided to use this opportunity to begin building up a dedicated fund for Faithify contributions. Every dollar you send to this call will be held in a special account to support Faithify campaigns from MidAmerica congregations and related organizations beginning in September 2019. We intend to work closely with groups posting campaigns on Faithify, and our hope is to contribute to one campaign from a MidAmerica congregation or organization every month. That way Chalice Lighters will be able to give thousands of dollars a year to support Faithify campaigns in addition to the three yearly Chalice Lighter calls. This would substantially increase the amount of money we can give to congregations and other organizations in the Region.

For this Fall 2018 Call, please donate by December 31, 2018

As usual, there are several ways you can participate in the Chalice Lighter program, with four suggested levels of donation:
$20 Believer      $100 Benefactor
$50 Builder        $250 Beacon
These are amounts that would be donated three times each year upon receipt of the Call Letter in Fall, Winter and Spring.

If you’d prefer, for tax purposes, to make one donation per year ($60 minimum donation to be divided among the next three Calls) you can send a check now, and we will hold the funds and divide them equally across the three Calls. If you want to make an annual donation, please be sure to note “Annual” in the memo line of your check. To donate:

  • You can DONATE HERE or
  • Write a check out to MidAmerica Region. Please note “Chalice Lighters Fall 2018 Call” or “Annual Donation” in the memo line and mail it to the MidAmerica Region, 2355 Fairview Avenue #312, Roseville, MN 55113.

Thank you again for your generosity!


Rev. Phillip Lund, Congregational Life Consultant

*MidAmerica Region congregations that have recently had successful Faithify campaigns:
Unity Church-Unitarian, Saint Paul, MN
All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Unitarian Church of Evanston, Evanston, IL
Bismarck-Mandan UU Congregation, Bismarck, ND
All Souls UU Church, Kansas City, MO
Miami Valley UU Fellowship, Dayton, OH
James Reeb UU Congregation, Madison, WI
UU Church of Elgin, Elgin, IL
UU Congregation of Owensboro, Owensboro, KY

General Information
Categories to Be Funded
Overall Expectations
Evaluation Guidelines
Helpful Hints
Application Form

(revised 11/2015)

The MidAmerica Region, UUA Growth and Support Committee is seeking applications for a Chalice Lighter Grant. A Chalice Lighter Grant can be used to start a new congregation, acquire a meeting space, secure a minister, religious educator, or other professional staff, or provide for an outreach or public relations program.  Any congregation may apply.

NOTE: Once you start filling out the application form below, you cannot save it and come back and edit it again.  Once you start you have to finish.  So be sure to print out the Application Checklist below and gather all the information electronically before you begin.

BE SURE you see the THANK YOU page after submitting your application. If you don't see it, contact tech support,

There are 3 cycles of grant giving.  Depending on which cycle you are applying in, the application is due in the MidAmerica Region office no later than:
            August 15   November 15   February 15

Please read these guidelines in their entirety before filling out the application form.

Chalice Lighter Grants




Donations by Chalice Lighters can be used for four (4) purposes:

  • Supporting a new or emerging congregation.
  • Acquiring or expanding meeting space for an existing congregation.
  • Increase paid professional staffing.
  • Establishing outreach and public relations programs.


The primary intent of the Chalice Lighters Program is funding for well-thought-out growth efforts connected to the larger vision of Unitarian Universalism.

  • Congregations may be awarded a CL grant more than once; however, preference will be given to congregations who have not previously received a Chalice Lighter grant.
  • A congregation may submit only one proposal for each call.
  • Shared stewardship within the whole congregation, such as a challenge matching pledge or increase in volunteers will be viewed favorably.
  • Preference will be given to those congregations which have contributed their fair share to the Annual Program Fund (APF) and regional dues, or can demonstrate a plan for getting to Fair Share, and/or have given financial support to a new church start.
  • Preference will be given to congregations with active and growing Chalice Lighter programs.  We suggest a minimum goal of 20% of members active in the Chalice Lighter Program.
  • Churches receiving Chalice Lighter Grants are expected to participate in the life of the MidAmerica Region, UUA, including regional growth, membership and leadership development workshops
  • Interim and 6 and 12-month reports will be required on the expenditure of Chalice Lighter Funds.


Each Chalice Lighter grant application will be evaluated based on the following criteria.


  • The project reflects UU values and the congregation's mission and vision.  (Please include your congregation's mission and vision statements.)
  • The project supports congregational growth and/or Unitarian Universalism.
  • The project has broad congregational support and is integrated into the long-range plan.
  • The budget and pledging reflect strong stewardship values, e.g. pattern of increased giving, fair compensation for staff).


  • All components of the application are complete & concise, and required & relevant documentation is attached.
  • The goals of the project are clearly defined and achievable, and there is a plan for tracking success.
  • The plan includes a means of reporting; project results should be reported to MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee through the regional office at six months and twelve months.

Supporting Information

  • The grant is for a specific project and not general budget relief.
  • The congregation is working toward Fair Share and a high percentage of Chalice Lighters.
  • The application includes the following fiscal information:
  • Current year's budget including previous year's annual fiscal report
  • Budget projections for next 2-3 years that show project sustainability

The application provides:

  • The name of the current Chalice Lighter Ambassador and the number of Chalice Lighters;
  • Information on Fair Share status on a) Annual Program Fund (APF) to the UUA and b) MidAmerica Region congregational contribution.

Connections to the Greater Community

  • Special consideration will be given to projects that promote inclusiveness, environmental issues, social justice, and accessibility.
  • Special consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate learnings that can be shared with other congregations.
  • Preference will be given to congregations that have not received a CL grant in the past three years.
  • Evidence of how PR effort(s) will be integrated with overall strategic planning is encouraged.


  • A New Congregation (A Congregation that has been affiliated with the UUA for less than 5 years):
  • New congregations should have the endorsement of a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation. The group should furnish with its request for funds:
    • A feasibility study
    • Financial projection

Special Notes for Emerging and New Congregations:

  • An Emerging Congregation is defined as a congregation that is beginning and has not yet formally affiliated with the UUA. 
  • New Congregations are congregations recently affiliated with the UUA, within the past 5 years.
  • Both emerging and new congregations can apply for separate earmarked CL funds.  These funds use the same categories as explained below.  Personal contact with a MidAmerica Region staff person is recommended. Please be in contact with the MidAmerica Region if this is your situation.


“Supporting a new or emerging congregation”

See definitions above in C.  Use the following guidelines as they are useful to you. If your project does not seem to fit, please call MidAmerica Region staff.  Your situation may well not easily fit in these guidelines, but would be very appropriate for a young congregation.

“Acquiring a Meeting Space”

  • A proper, permanent location is a vital step in strengthening a congregation.
  • Preference will be given to congregations without a meeting space. Funding may be applied for:
  • Purchase of a building;
    • Deposit for acquiring long term space – lease, rental or special arrangements;
    • Construction of a new building, or remodeling of a currently owned building.
    • Purchase of a land for future construction.
  • Financial projection for the next five (5) years should be included with the application showing how the estimated funds from Chalice Lighters will be used.

“Increasing paid professional staff: Minister, Religious Educator, or other Staff”

  • Professional leadership is the single most influential factor on the growth and well being of a congregation.
  • The congregation should be following the UUA guidelines for settling a minister. If the minister, or other religious professional, is to be shared with another congregation, both should make the request for funds. Five (5) year financial projections, including the compensation package should be included with the application.

“Outreach and Public Relations Programs”

  • Outreach and Public Relations programs may constitute a number of clearly defined projects from one or more congregations.  Please include an explanation of your plans and choice of methodology.  Please include clearly defined goals and measures of accountability.


Open this PDF and print out as a checklist to gather your information.  You won't be able to save and then go back and edit your application once you've started.  Note, this document contains important information about information required, so please don't fail to print it out and read it and follow its instructions.

pdf Chalice Lighter Grant Application Checklist (74 KB)

Chalice Lighter Grant Application form - If you find you need assistance filling out this form, please contact the MidAmerica Office at 312-636-9724 or
BE SURE you see the THANK YOU page after submitting your application. If you don't see it, contact tech support,

Chalice Lighter Grant Application

NOTE: This form will not work on the old INTERNET EXPLORER. If you are using that program, your computer is vulnerable to security risks. READ WHAT MICROSOFT SAYS.

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Other Congregation Name
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Congregation Street address*
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Congregation Phone*
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TIP: if you copy and paste e-mail addresses, be sure there are no extra spaces before or after, as this will prevent the form from working.
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Contact First Name*
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Contact Last Name*
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Person to be contacted with questions and to announce the Committee's decision on your application.

Contact E-mail*
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NOTE: please enter dollar amounts WITHOUT the dollar sign or commas. Thanks!
Funding $ Requested*
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Donations by Chalice Lighters can be used for four (4) purposes, for established and emerging congregations and affiliated organizations in the Midamerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

  • Supporting a new or emerging congregation.
  • Acquiring or expanding meeting space for an existing congregation.
  • Increase paid professional staffing.
  • Establishing outreach and public relations programs.
Please select a category*

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Size of Congregation: current year*
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Size of Congregation: last year*
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Size of Congregation: 5 years ago*
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Number of Members last certified with UUA*
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Religious Education enrollment (n-12 grade)*
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Average Attendance at Weekly Services: current year*
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Average Attendance at Weekly Services: last year*
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Average Attendance at Weekly services: 5 years ago*
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Number of Active Chalice Lighters*
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Name and contact info for your Chalice Lighter Ambassador
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Are you Fair Share to both the MidAmerica Region and to the UUA APF?*
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Board Endorsement*
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Persons Responsible for Project*
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Full Description of Project*
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Budget for the project*
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Congregation Budget: previous yr, current, projections for 3-5 years*
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Other Documentation for Consideration
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Is there anything else you would like the Committee to take into consideration in its deliberations?

Other Documentation 2
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Other Documentation 3
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Anything else we need to know?
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Please note: If you don't see a thank-you page after submitting, please contact us right away. Email

CL Committee Login

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