Chalice Lighters is a program designed to help UUs throughout Prairie Star District be part of “lighting the chalice” for individual congregations: helping congregations to get started, or to get over that next barrier to growth. The program works through modest periodic donations from a large number of donors like you.
PSD Chalice Lighters has been replaced by the MidAmerica Region program. Donate now!
You possess only a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light andunderstanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. Give them, not hell but hope and courage.
— John Murray (Universalist Preacher, 1741–1850)
There’s always a bit of risk when a growing congregation adds another service. Will the end results be worth the additional time and energy required to make the new service successful? Or will those extra efforts become unsustainable before the hoped for results are achieved? These are the very questions our congregation in Davenport, Iowa is facing right now.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (as they are now known) has embarked on an ambitious plan to reach out to the 350,000 residents in their region with our progressive religious message—and worship is the centerpiece of that effort. In fact, worship attendance is already on the rise in Davenport, with a 16% increase in the last five years, and a 26% increase in the last year alone. That’s why, after careful consideration, the congregation has added a second service this fall. And so far the attendance at the service has exceeded their expectations! But increased worship attendance does not mean an immediate boost in resources needed to sustain another service, like addition hours for musicians, childcare workers, and support staff.
The congregation would also like to augment their worship experience with visual elements by installing a large screen television, as well as purchasing a high-quality video camera to record sermons to post on their website and share with shut-ins.
Of course this all takes money. You can support the growth efforts of the UU Congregation of the Quad Cities by responding generously to this Chalice Lighters call. Your tax deductible contribution will help ensure the continuation of a vibrant and growing Unitarian Universalist presence in this part of our region.
As the Prairie Star District gears up to become part of the new MidAmerica Region, many of the programs that have fostered the health and vitality of our congregations are winding down. Beginning next fall, a new incarnation of the Chalice Lighters program will be born. The mission of the regional Chalice Lighters will be to encourage growth throughout MidAmerica. And while there will still be opportunities to support congregations within the former Prairie Star area, this is the final call of the program you have so generously contributed to over the years.
For the last few years, an innovative initiative in Prairie Star has been providing lay-led fellowships in the District with the opportunity to experience the benefits of professional religious leadership. The Visions for Ministry program has matched highly-qualified students from United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities with fellowships in La Crosse, Wisconsin; Decorah, Iowa; and Fargo, North Dakota. Students visit their fellowship six times over the church year to preach on Sunday mornings and offer religious education and faith formation experiences. This program has been funded be a combination of Chalice Lighter Growth Grants, contributions from the fellowships, and money from the Fund for Theological Education. Your contribution to this call will be used to establish a fund to keep the Visions for Ministry affordable for congregations and equitable for students.
By generously responding to this call, you will ensure that the Visions for Ministry program will continue to help both ministerial students and lay-led fellowships share the exceptional experience of learning and growing together.
You have the opportunity to also contribute to the Social Justice Fund which makes grants of up to $1,000 to congregations for use in integrating social justice work into the active life of their congregation. Recipient congregations are expected to fund a portion of program costs. The intention of these grants is to build community awareness of UU values in action. Examples of programs to be funded are: workshops on self-sufficiency and welfare rights; nutritional weekend food supply for elementary students; UU Social Justice Empowerment workshops; micro loans; Green Sanctuary/Earth Ministry projects. You can help turn up the volume for our liberal religious voice by making a gift to this important fund.