Chalice Lighters

Program Description

The idea Rev. Alan Egly had in the early 1980s, that many UUs might be willing to contribute $10 occasionally to help a congregation that needed a boost, was a good one.

Egly, former minister of the Unitarian Church of Davenport, IA, saw his idea implemented in 1984 in the Prairie Star District through the district’s Extension Committee, of which Egly was a part. The program became known as Chalice Lighters, and has spread to other UUA districts. It has raised more than $2 million nationwide.

The idea is simple. Ask individual UUs if they’d be willing to contribute $10 or more up to four times a year to help congregations in their district complete a special project linked to growth. Egly, now the settled minister at the Unitarian Church, Davenport, Iowa, adapted the concept from another denomination. “It’s not a completely original idea, but I’m proud to claim it.”

The Chalice Lighter program assists the growth of member congregations in the Mountain Desert District, providing grants that are funded through contributions from Unitarian Universalists who participate as Chalice Lighters. The Chalice Lighter program gives individuals an opportunity to provide financial support and extend Unitarian Universalism in the District.

Chalice Lighter grants help congregations by providing funds for such things as:
·         starting a new congregation
·         helping a congregation call a minister or other religious professional
·         assisting in the purchase, improvement, or furnishing of a building
·         contributing to other outreach projects that further growth

Become a Chalice Lighter!

Your contribution joins with over 400 others to support the growth of our liberal religion in the Mountain Desert District. The more Chalice Lighters we have, the more we can support our growing congregations. And by being a Chalice Lighter, you help your congregation qualify for a Chalice Lighter grant.

When you become a Chalice Lighter, each quarter you will receive a call or email letter, explaining the purpose of the call and asking for your donation of at least $10. Or, you may make an annual donation, which will be divided between the 4 calls for that year. MDD is a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization and your donation is tax deductible. Notices of charitable contributions are sent at the beginning of the following year.

How to Apply for a Chalice Lighter Grant


  • A congregation completes a Chalice Lighter Grant request form (PDF): Chalice Lighters Application
  • The form is sent to the MDD Office by December 15
  • The grants for the following year are approved at the MDD Annual Conference in the Spring

When a new call starts:

  • The new grant letter is mailed out
  • A report is generated showing the total amount received for the last grant
  • $750 is deducted from that amount to cover the cost of mailing, etc. and the remainder is sent to the congregation

Please join today!

  • Fill out the email form below
  • Or, send an email directly to, with “Chalice Lighter Enrollment” in the subject line. Please include your name, mailing address, phone, email, and congregation name.

Grant History

San Juan UU Fellowship (Farmington, NM)
UU Community of Casper, WY
Namaqua UU Church (Loveland, CO)

Create Meaning
UU Fellowship of Durango (CO)
Mountain Desert District

UU Church of Boulder (CO)
Pacific Western Region Leap of Faith Program
Mountain Desert District