chalicelightersThe winter 2017-18 call is open to contributions through February 26, 2018. You can read the call letter here.

Make your donation here.

Program Description

The idea Rev. Alan Egly had in the early 1980s, that many UUs might be willing to contribute occasionally to help a congregation that needed a boost, was a good one. Egly, Minister Emeritus of both the Burlington congregation and the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Quad Cities passed away on January 31, 2016 at the age of 84. He saw his idea implemented in the Prairie Star District through the district’s Extension Committee. 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 $20 or more up to three times a year to help congregations in their district complete a special project linked to growth. Egly adapted the concept from another denomination and said, “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 generous 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, three times a year you will receive a “call” or email letter, explaining the purpose of the call and asking for your donation of at least $20. Or, you may make an annual donation, which will be divided between the 3 calls for that year.  MDD is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax deductible.

Become a Chalice Lighter Today

Please copy the Chalice Lighters brochure to distribute in your congregation.

How to Apply for a Chalice Lighter Grant

  • Complete a Chalice Lighter Grant request form [.doc];
  • Send the form to the MDD Office by December 31, 2017, for calls to be issued in February, April, and September of 2018.


  • Honor Congregation status for UUA and MDD for the previous fiscal year
  • There is no percentage of  membership required, but it is a factor in prioritizing grant applications.

Note: A 10% admin fee goes toward the cost of managing the call. All donations received between open calls go towards the MDD Chalice Lighters Undesignated Fund.

Grant History

UU Fellowship of Bozeman Montana
UU Fellowship of Durango Colorado
Jointly: Columbine UU Church and Two Rivers UU, both in Colorado

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