What is a Chalice Lighter?

A Chalice Lighter is a generous person who pledges to support the growth and vitality of Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregations by donating at least $20 to each of three Chalice Lighter “Calls” each year.

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Program Description

The Chalice Lighter Program assists the growth and vitality of new and existing UU congregations in the Pacific Northwest with grants to provide vital capabilities. Grants are funded exclusively through contributions from individuals who participate as Chalice Lighters. With the help of volunteer ambassadors within each congregation, the volunteer Chalice Lighter Coordinator manages the program on behalf of the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD), reporting to the Board of Directors. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Pacific Western Region (PWR) staff attend to database and website management and securely receive and disburse all donor contributions.

Chalice Lighter grants are intended to help congregations grow by:

  • securing, improving or furnishing a building
  • providing technology to support new capabilities
  • reaching out to the community to attract new members
  • initiating a new congregation
  • getting started with professional ministry
  • surviving through a crisis
  • funding any other creative program designed to facilitate growth

Grants are generally not awarded for the purpose of covering normal operating expenses or maintenance. Since inception, Chalice Lighters have donated over $800,000 to support PNWD UU congregations. A list of grantees may be found at the bottom of this page. Click here to read the 2019-20 Chalice Lighters Annual Report.

Chalice Lighter Calls

When you become a Chalice Lighter, each year you will receive no more than three call letters. The letter will explain the express purpose of the call and ask for your donation of at least $20. The grant must be used for those purposes, so you will know exactly where your money is going. Administrative fees will be deducted from the total amount collected per call, but your PWR staff do their best to keep these costs to a minimum, and you can help us do this by making your contribution online.

There is an active call open at all times: Fall (July 1-October 31), Winter (November 1-February 28), and Spring (March 1-June 30). Read the current call letter here.

All calls for the fiscal year will open for contributions with the posting of the Fall call. Thus, if you prefer to fulfill your annual pledge in one sitting, you may contribute to the Winter and Spring calls in advance when you make your Fall donation.

If you have questions about the program, contact pnwdchalicelighters@pwruua.org.

Become a Chalice Lighter

Being a PNWD Chalice Lighter brings you the joy of watching your modest contribution multiply to a much larger grant to support the growth of our liberal religion in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, just by being a Chalice Lighter, you will help your congregation qualify for a Chalice Lighter grant. The more of us who take the Chalice Lighter pledge, the more the program will have to offer to growing congregations.

Once your enrollment is processed, your name will be added to the donor roster and you will receive notifications of each new call (three times per year).

If you are not yet a PNWD Chalice Lighter, please become one by using one of the following links:

  • Make a one-time gift (to one or all calls) on the PNWD Giving Page. Many donors have requested the option to set up automated monthly payments. By having calls open continuously, you will find it easy to arrange automated monthly withdrawals.

You may also pledge to make donations to future calls:

  •  Sign up here to become a Chalice Lighter. If you are already enrolled as a PNWD Chalice Lighter, you can use this same form to let us know if you wish to change from paper mailings to receiving emailed calls. 

Every donation is appreciated. If you wish to make your contributions by check, please make your check payable to PNWD Chalice Lighters, include the name of your congregation, and mail it to:

PNWD Chalice Lighters
P.O. Box 567
Brighton, CO 80601

Apply for a Grant

A congregation applying for a Chalice Lighter grant must meet certain minimum requirements at the time of application. A congregation must:

  • Have at least 30% of its members enrolled as Chalice Lighters (just 20% required for Pandemic Relief Grants)
  • Be a UUA Honor Congregation (are up-to-date making “fair share” contributions to the UUA)

Congregations receiving grants pledge to continue to meet these requirements for three years after receipt of the grant. Reviewers will take into consideration the need for the grant, the case for its stimulating outreach and growth, and the adequacy of the plans for implementing the project. To confirm Chalice Lighters eligibility, for answers to your questions, or to express intent to apply for a grant, please contact the PNWD Chalice Lighters Program Coordinator at pnwdchalicelighters@pwruua.org.

There are currently three types of grants: (1) Pandemic relief grants to help congregations survive through the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions; (2) Small “growth technology initiative” grants (typically ~$2000 to $4000), which usually fund upgrades to a congregation’s audio and video systems; and (3) Large grants comprising the total funds received from a call (typically ~$10,000-$20,000), for which a congregation is eligible to apply if they have not received such a grant in the past three years. Applications may be submitted at any time. 

Please review the application forms, which have imbedded instructions:

Smaller Growth Technology Initiative and Pandemic Relief Applications can usually be funded promptly from funds previously collected, once they are reviewed and approved. Applications for the proceeds of a full call will be funded within about 45 days after the call closes.   

Please email your completed Chalice Lighter Grant application and all attachments in PDF document format to pnwdchalicelighters@pwruua.org. Application materials submitted on paper will not be accepted. The Chalice Lighter Coordinator will arrange for review of your application. You will be notified if it is approved. If approved for funding from a future call the Chalice Lighter Coordinator will draft the call letter for your review. The call for donations will then be distributed by PWR staff to Chalice Lighters as one of (no more than) three yearly calls. You will be asked to provide evidence of grant expenditures, including photos and statements of the impact of improvements made possible with the grant money. We want to share your story of success!

Groups planning to initiate a new congregation are expected to meet with the Pacific Western Regional Lead before applying for a grant.

Congregations interested in Chalice Lighter grants may also wish to consider other resources such as the Pacific Northwest Unitarian Universalist Growth Foundation. For more information, visit the PNUUGF website.

Serve as an Ambassador

The Chalice Lighter Program works because of many volunteers. If you would like to help, consider becoming the Chalice Lighter Ambassador in your congregation. Ambassadors are the backbone of the program.

Our goal is to have a Chalice Lighter Ambassador in every district congregation. The actively promotes the program with a goal of enrolling at least 30% of the congregation as Chalice Lighters and alerting members to open calls. The ambassador also keeps the congregation’s leaders aware of the potential of Chalice Lighter grants to assist with the congregation’s growth. The only requirements for this role are an enthusiastic belief in the value of Chalice Lighters, and a willingness to acquire and share a basic understanding of how the program works. Time requirements are modest, and assistance is provided.

Contact the Chalice Lighter CoordinatorDave Cauffman, for more information.

Grant History

Congregations throughout the Pacific Northwest District have received grants from the PNWD Chalice Lighter Program.

Grant recipients (church/fiscal year end):

2021
UU Fellowship of Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK)
Woodinville UU Church (Woodinville, WA)

2020
Anchorage UU Fellowship (Anchorage, AK)–Fall and Winter recipients
UU Congregation at Willamette Falls (Oregon City, OR)

2019
UU Community Church of Washington County (Hillsborough, OR)
[No Winter call]
UU Growth Technology Initiative Grants: Edmonds UU Congregation (Edmonds, WA), Cascade UU Fellowship (East Wenatchee, WA)

2018
UU Growth Technology Initiative Grants: Kittitas Valley UUC (Ellensburg, WA), UU Klamath Falls (Klamath Falls, OR), UU Fairbanks Fellowship (Fairbanks, AK), UUC Washington County (Hillsborough, OR)
[No Winter call]
Community UUC (Pasco, WA)

2017
Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (East Wenatchee)
Magic Valley UU Fellowship (Twin Falls, ID)
UU Congregation at Willamette Falls (Oregon City, OR)

2016
[no fall call]
Olympic UU Fellowship (Port Angeles, WA)
UU Congregation of Salem (OR) & West Hills UU Fellowship (Portland, OR) – split call

2015
Westside UU Congregation (Seattle, WA)
Anchorage UU Fellowship (AK)
UU Growth Technology Initiative Grants (second round): North Idaho UUs (Coeur d’Alene, ID), UU Church of the Palouse (Moscow, ID), Magic Valley UU Fellowship (Twin Falls, ID), Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (Ashland, OR), Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship (Hood River, OR), Eastrose Fellowship UU (Portland, OR), Northlake UU Church (Kirkland, WA), Community UU Church (Pasco, WA)

2014
Olympia UU Congregation (WA)
Northlake UU Church (Kirkland, WA)
UU Fellowship of Central Oregon (Bend, OR)

2013
Umpqua UU Church (Roseburg, OR)
Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass (OR)
UU Growth Technology Initiative Grants (first round): UU Church in Eugene (OR), Florence UU Fellowship (OR), Umpqua UU Church (Roseburg, OR), Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (WA), Kittitas Valley UU Congregation (Ellensburg, WA), Olympic UU Fellowship (Port Angeles, WA), Westside UU Congregation (Seattle, WA)

2012
Community UU Church (Pasco, WA)
UU Church in Eugene (OR)
UU Church of the Palouse (Moscow, ID)

2011
Alaska Consulting Travel Fund
Atkinson Memorial Church (Oregon City, OR)
Magic Valley UU Fellowship (Twin Falls, ID)

2010
Quimper UU Fellowship (Port Townsend, WA)
Whidbey Island UU Fellowship (Freeland, WA)
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (WA)

2009
UU Community Church of Washington County (Hillsboro, OR)
Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (Ashland, OR)
Westside UU Congregation (Seattle, WA)

2008
Evergreen UU Fellowship ( Marysville, WA)
Woodinville UU Church (Woodinville, WA)
Northlake UU Church (Kirkland, WA)
Free Church Unitarian (Blaine, WA) – special grant

2007
All Souls UU Community (Lacey, WA), Rainier Valley UU Congregation (Seattle, WA), & Umpqua UU Church (Roseburg, OR) – split call
Michael Servetus UU Fellowship (Vancouver, WA)

2006
Olympic UU Fellowship (Port Angeles, WA)
Boise UU Fellowship (ID)
District-wide Youth to General Assembly Grants

2005
UU Congregation of Whidbey Island (Freeland, WA)

2004
Eastrose Fellowship UU (Gresham, OR)
UU Fellowship of Fairbanks (AK)

2003
UU Fellowship of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap (WA)
Shoreline UU Church (WA)

2002
UU Church of Yakima (WA)
Olympia UU Congregation (WA)
North Shore Unitarian Church (West Vancouver, BC)

2001
Rainier Valley UU Congregation (Seattle, WA)
Northlake UU Church (Kirkland, WA) and Extension Consulting Grant – (Split call)

2000
Umpqua UU Church (Roseburg, OR)
West Seattle UU Fellowship (WA)

1999
Unitarian Church of Victoria (BC) and Klamath Falls UU Fellowship (OR) – (Split call)
UU Congregation of Salem (OR)
Olympic UU Fellowship (Port Angeles, WA)

1998
Saltwater UU Church (Des Moines, WA)
Evergreen UU Fellowship (Marysville, WA)
Boise UU Fellowship (ID)

1997
Puget Sound Extension Ministry Program
Skagit UU Fellowship (Mount Vernon, WA)
UU Church of the Palouse (Moscow, ID)

1996
Quimper UU Fellowship (Port Townsend, WA)
Shoreline UU Church (WA)
Wy’east UU Congregation (Portland, OR)

1995
Edmonds UU Church (WA)
UU Community of Cottage Grove (OR)

1994
Woodinville UU Church (WA)
Northlake UU Church (Kirkland, WA)
Unitarian Fellowship of Kelowna (BC)

1993
Extension Training Grant Fund
Olympia UU Congregation (WA)

1992
Evergreen UU Fellowship (Marysville, WA)
UU Community Church of Washington County (Aloha, OR)
Free Church Unitarian (Blaine, WA)

1991
Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (Ashland, OR)
Boones Ferry UU Congregation (Tualatin, OR)
Idaho Falls Unitarian Fellowship (ID)

1990
South Fraser Unitarian Congregation (Surrey, BC)
Woodinville UU Church (WA)
Eastrose Fellowship UU (Gresham, OR)