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JPD Chalice Lighters
Joseph Priestley Chalice Lighter Program

Chalice Lighters enroll to support grants to organize new congregations in their Joseph Priestley District (JPD), to help congregations buy land and buildings, and to help congregations afford their first minister or other staff leading to becoming full service.

It is huge financial and organizational stretch for small congregations to move from rental spaces using "church in a box" to having their own home. A Chalice Lighter Call letter or email notifies Chalice Lighters of the results of a grant-giving session of the Chalice Lighter Committee and it is time to send in their pledged amount to support the grants. There are currently 3 of these grant-giving sessions a year, giving approximately 2 grants of 20 thousand at each session.

Many Chalice Lighters pay for a year at a time to simplify record keeping. The current suggested pledge is 20 dollars per call, or 60 dollars per year. Pledges of more or less are welcome. Want to enroll? Fill out the online form.

Printable Chalice Lighter Enrollment Brochure—Revised 2-2017 (PDF)

Updated Membership List—6-2017 (PDF)

Here is a timeline for congregations to do a Chalice Lighter Enrollment Drive (Word).

Grant Process

Below please find the necessary forms to apply for Chalice Lighter Grants. You must complete the Intent to Apply first. This gives the staff time to work with your congregation to complete the full grant application.

This program is overseen by Andrea Lerner, Regional Chalice Lighter Liaison, alerner [at] uua [dot] org and the Chalice Lighter Committee.

Chalice Lighter Committee Chalice Lighter Grant Policy (Revised 2/6/2017)


Vision Statement: A larger and growing population of Unitarian Universalists in healthy and sustainable congregations, transforming lives and creating the beloved community within the Central East Region.

Our growth is in numbers, but also in justice, compassion, and spirituality. We broaden our vision of who we are by encouraging all to join us who share our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of each person and to justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has made a commitment to be an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural religious association working to eradicate racism and all forms of oppression in Unitarian Universalist institutions and the larger community. While diversity includes everyone, the Association’s anti-oppression focus emphasizes historically marginalized groups. Unitarian Universalism seeks a welcoming, inclusive, empowering, and just faith for Unitarian Universalists who identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender; economically oppressed; Latina/Latino and Hispanic; multiracial families; people of color; and people with disabilities.* The UUA encourages our leaders to learn, grow, and educate on behalf of our anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural* mission so that we may champion the Association’s commitment to meeting congregations where they are, assisting them as they grow into anti-racist, anti-oppressive and culturally competent religious communities. In keeping with Unitarian Universalist Principles, we are called to take another step in this challenging work, to become an active, spiritually alive institution and to meet our welcoming, anti-oppression goals.

We must look both inward and outward as we organize ourselves for action within our congregations and beyond. Looking inward, the 1997 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urged Unitarian Universalists to examine carefully our own conscious and unconscious racism and to work toward our transformation to an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural* institution. After decades of struggle on these issues, the Unitarian Universalist community now has a sustained program toward the goal of becoming more inclusive and affirming. We acknowledge the lack of racial and economic diversity within most of our congregations.

Mission:  To support the Central East Region creating spirituality and community beyond boundaries, working for more justice and more love by funding growth projects that will enliven new and existing congregations. 

Purpose of the Chalice Lighter Grants:  The CL Grant Program works to encourage new and existing congregations to grow, both in terms of numbers and in their efforts to increase justice, compassion, and spirituality.  The grants support the growth of UU congregations of all sizes and Clusters of congregations.

Grant Policy

The Chalice Lighter Committee concentrates its efforts on those congregations, regardless of size, where there is demonstrated intention to grow in numbers and in justice, compassion, and spirituality and other favorable factors are present and there are specific realistic long range plans to enhance them. The most significant demonstration of intention to grow is a realistic long range plan adopted by a congregation, cluster of congregations, or regional group of congregations. CER staff is available to work with applicants to develop a long range plan. As a part of the plan the Chalice Lighter Grant Committee looks for programs and initiatives in the congregation that are leading to anti-racism, anti-oppression and a multicultural* membership.

  1. Who Can Apply for a Chalice Lighter Grant
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    Individual congregations of any size or a congregation in formation may apply.
    Clusters of congregations may apply.
  2. Grants for Staff Positions
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    1. Grants may be given to establish and fill for the first time the positions of minister, religious educator, music director, administrator and membership coordinator or director.
    2. Grants may also be given for an additional minister or religious education professional if a long range plan shows how this additional ministry will help the congregation grow in the various aspects of larger or stronger congregations.
    3. Grants for ministers and RE professionals must be for at least half time. Minimum half time is recommended for other positions.
    4. Staff grants can be made for moving from part-time to full-time. This could be a second grant for the position.
    5. All positions for which a grant is sought must be paid fair compensation and benefits consistent with current UUA guidelines,
    6. All positions for which a grant is sought must be permanent positions, unless it is appropriate for the position to be time-limited and it is so described in the application.
  3. Grants for Land, Buildings and Increase in Space
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06

    Grants for land, buildings or a significant increase in space are capped so as to be no more than 20% of the total cost of the project,. Double grants are allowed in each subcategory (i.e. two grants for a building or land or a significant increase in space).
  4. Grants for Innovative Growth Projects
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    1. Innovative Growth Grants are to fund creative projects that could be replicated elsewhere. The project needs to be innovative, growth focused, and practical. It is the intent of the Chalice Lighter Committee to encourage joint applications from more than one congregation.
    2. A proposal needs to point out how growth will occur, in what quantities, and how the growth will be tracked and reported.
    3. No minimum financial contribution is required of the grant applicant, but the level of financial contribution by a congregation, cluster, or regional group will be considered in the evaluation of a grant.
  5. Grants for Organization of a New Congregation
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    1. New congregation organizing grants may be for an “organizer” or for other organizing activities; the plan and application should indicate other sources of support for the project.
    2. Organizing grant applications must be accompanied by an organizing plan showing favorable demographics, commitments of financial and organizational support from sponsoring congregations, and the composition of a steering committee including members with UU experience and commitment to attending training in new congregation organizing. The most effective way to build an anti-racist, anti-oppressive and multi-cultural* congregation is to start with this objective at the organizing phase. Thus, we encourage the steering committee to establish welcoming all oppressed groups named by UUA as a goal and include members highly committed to this work. We encourage a commitment to training of the congregation in anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural* work.
    3. Applications for new congregation organizing grants should be prepared in conjunction with the CER Congregational Life consultant before being submitted to the Chalice Lighter Committee.
    4. A new congregation also can apply for a second grant for a minister or DRE two years after the payout starts on an initial grant for the same position (i.e., they could receive two incomes from grants for one year for the same position but the payout schedule may be adjusted).
  6. Requirements for an Applications from a Cluster of Congregations
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    1. A cluster must have a long-range plan for the project for which they seek a grant. The plan should describe the project, how they will carry it out, and how they will measure results.
    2. There is no requirement that each congregation in a cluster that applies for a grant must have a long-range plan.
    3. The cluster must have a fiscal agent
    4. The application from the cluster must show the sources and amounts of financial support in addition to the grant.
    5. The cluster must supply a list of congregations involved and indicate which ones are Fair Share. The application must indicate that all congregations in the cluster have been fully informed of the project.
    6. The cluster must identify a Project Manager for the duration of the grant. The Project Manager will provide an annual grant implementation report describing the efficacy of the grant using whatever indicators the cluster believes are meaningful. If the Project Manager can no longer serve, he/she will inform the Grant Manager of a successor.
  7. Other Requirements for a CL Application
    Approved by the Growth Committee 11/4/06
    Revised by email consultation 12/06

Requirement for a Long Range Plan

  1. An application must include a long range plan written or updated within one year prior to submitting the Intent to Apply. The Long Range Plan must be accepted by the congregation or, in the case of an update, accepted by a formal vote of the board.
  2. The plan must include a five year budget projection showing the anticipated growth and how the congregation will fund the various initiatives outlined in the plan.

Requirement for Fair Share to UUA

  1. A single congregation applying for a grant must be full fair share to the UUA for the previous full fiscal year. Also, they must commit to stay fair share for the duration of the grant.
  2. There will be an annual review by August 15; if a congregation holding a grant has not maintained full fair share status, the grant will be reviewed by the Growth Committee and may be suspended.
  3. A cluster applying for a grant has no requirement for its member congregations to be Fair Share. However, the Chalice Lighter Committee will use this information as part of the evaluation of an application.

Requirement for Approval of the Grant Proposal

  1. For newly forming congregations, a planning committee must approve the grant proposal.
  2. For a cluster of congregations, each congregation or Board must approve the grant proposal.
  3. For a Regional Growth Committee, the application must include a copy of a letter sent to all involved congregations informing them of the project and outlining the details. The application must describe the level of participation expected from the participating congregations.

Requirement for a Minimum Average Pledge

The application from an individual congregation must include information on the average pledge per pledge unit. There is no average pledge requirement. The Chalice Lighter Committee will use this information as part of the evaluation of the application.

Requirement for an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multi-cultural congregation.*

The application from an individual congregation must include information on its current and planned programs on anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism.* There is no requirement that the congregation has such programs, however, the Chalice Lighter Committee, in responding to the goals of UUA and the Central East Region, will use this information as part of its evaluation of the application.

Requirement for the congregation to contribute financially to the project

  1. A Staff position should be planned as a permanent position that is reflected in the congregation’s long-range plan. A 5-year financial projection is required that describes salary and benefits (including COLA and potential merit increases), and the assumptions that are the basis for the projection. The usual payout schedule for a staff position is 50%-30%-20% over the three years. The grant recipient can negotiate a different payout if there is a reason to do so.
  2. No minimum contribution is required for an innovative growth but the level of financial contribution by the applicant will be considered in the evaluation of a grant.
  3. New congregation organizing grants may be for an “organizer” or for other organizing activities; their plan and their application should indicate other sources of support for the project. Chalice Lighter Committee will not require specific levels of other support, but will want to see in their plan how they expect to fund the overall project.
  4. For a grant to help purchase land or construct a building or add significant additional space, the application should include the results of a Capital Campaign or any other sources of financing available to the congregation.

Payout of Grants

  1. If the grant is awarded, the congregation will supply information about how the checks should be made out and the address to which they should be sent.
  2. The congregation must inform the Grant Manager when the payments should begin – that is, after any stipulations have been met or after the staff position in question has been filled.
  3. The usual payout schedule for staff positions is 50% in year 1; 30% in year 2 and 20% in year 3. For land and buildings, the grant is usually paid as a lump sum. For innovative growth grants the payout is usually set up to meet the requirements of the project. This payout schedule should be agreed between the Grant Manager and the congregation.

Other Requirements

  1. The grant application must identify the Project Manager for follow-up on grant implementation/results. This Project Manager should be someone who is available for the life of the project. The Chalice Lighter Committee is to be notified immediately if a Project Manager changes.
  2. The application will detail how the efficacy of the grant will be measured including statistics on membership and attendance.
  3. As a condition of receiving a grant, the Project Manager is required to provide an annual grant implementation report. The report will describe the efficacy of the grant, including measures of memberships, attendance and growth. An individual congregation will also send the congregation’s newsletter to the Grant Manager.

Grant Amounts

Grants are normally for $20,000. Grants for land, building, significant renovations or for organizing a new congregation are usually paid out in a lump sum. Grants for other purposes are usually paid out monthly over three years (50% the first year, 30% the second, 20% the third year). Other payment schedules may be requested by the congregation.

Application Process Deadlines for each meeting at which grants are considered:
(The Intent to Apply and Application forms are available above.)

Intent to Apply Full Application Grant Meeting (Normally 3rd Weds.)
April 1 - August 1 meets September
August 1 - December 1 meets January
October 1 - February 1 meets March

*Throughout this document, the phrase, “anti-racist, anti-oppression, multiculturalism,” refers to the Unitarian Universalist Identity-Based Ministries program which seeks to make Unitarian Universalism a welcoming, inclusive, empowering, and just faith for Unitarian Universalists who identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender; economically oppressed; Latina/Latino and Hispanic; multiracial families; people of color; and people with disabilities.

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