Congregations Benefit from Chalice Lighter Grants

CER Chalice Lighter Logo

Is your congregation dreaming of a project that could make a huge impact in its mission and growth, but in need of some additional funding to make it possible?

  • Do you want to add a new staff position or increase the hours of an existing position so that you can enrich your congregation’s outreach and programming?

  • Install equipment to make hybrid worship services easier and more accessible for everyone, inside or outside your walls?

  • Expand or make major renovations to your building?

  • Create an innovative way to grow UUism in your community or join with a partner organization to promote justice in your area?

The CER Chalice Lighter Program can help with that!

The CER Chalice Lighter 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.

Image of person playing cello, wearing a mask with COVID barriers around them, on a stage in a church.

UU Amherst livestreaming

What kinds of grants have recently been awarded? In the past 2 years, grants have included a variety of projects. The UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester in Mount Kisco, NY received a grant to create a new part-time Membership Coordinator staff position. We have funded new equipment for livestreaming of services to online for the UU Congregation of the Catskills, Kingston, NY and UU Church of Amherst, Williamsville, NY. The UU Church of East Aurora, NY received a grant to provide anti-racist, multicultural programming in their community, providing an outreach program and education opportunities. Building renovations to provide better air filtration and energy-efficient windows that open were part of the grant received by Accotink UU Church in Burke, VA. UU Congregation of Monmouth County, Lincroft, NJ used their grant for building renovations that addressed infrastructure and unsafe HVAC issues. A major building renovation was supported by a grant to the UU Congregation of Binghamton, NY, which included a commercial-grade kitchen to help provide meals to the hungry in the community, energy efficient systems, and expanded office and meeting spaces. Each of these grants gave the recipients an opportunity to grow our faith and deepen our commitment to justice and equity.

UU Congregation of Binghamton under construction.

UU Binghamton Expansion

Grants can support four types of projects, including:

  • Church staff, such as hiring a first-time minister, RE professional, or other staff, moving a position from part-time to full-time, or adding an additional minister or RE professional.

  • Building or land, such as constructing or expanding a church, making major renovations or repairs, or acquiring land for church facilities.

  • New congregation organizing.

  • Innovative growth initiatives, creative projects to help attract or retain members, and promote justice, compassion, and spirituality.

To learn more about how to apply for a Chalice Lighter grant and the process, please visit the CER Chalice Lighter FAQ Page . Each grant application starts with an Intent to Apply form and then a member of the Chalice Lighter Program Committee will help guide you through the application process. The deadline for the next Intent to Apply is June 1 for the October Call cycle.

What innovative project does your congregation want to do?

In order to give out these grants, we depend on individuals like you to become Chalice Lighters and donate to the program. The CER Chalice Lighter Program uses the spark of small, regular contributions from individual UU’s to ignite the growth of our UU faith, both in numbers and in justice, compassion, and spirituality. These contributions are pooled to make grants available to CER congregations.

Chalice Lighters respond to calls three times a year from the CER Chalice Lighter Program Committee to support new congregational projects. The suggested commitment is $20 per call, or $60 per year, but amounts of any size will help light the flame. Sign up on the CER Chalice Lighter Sign Up Page.

We ask that congregations advertise this program and opportunity to their members and even consider including the program as a share the plate or special collection recipient. You can find more details and the CER Chalice Lighter Pages.