Chalice Lighters is a program designed to help UUs be part of “lighting the chalice” for individual congregations: helping congregations to get started, or to get over that next barrier to growth. The program works through modest periodic donations from a large number of donors like you.
You possess only a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women.
Give them, not hell, but hope and courage.
— John Murray (Universalist Preacher, 1741–1850)
There’s always a bit of risk when a growing congregation adds another service. Will the end results be worth the additional time and energy required to make the new service successful? Or will those extra efforts become unsustainable before the hoped for results are achieved? These are the very questions our congregation in Davenport, Iowa is facing right now.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (as they are now known) has embarked on an ambitious plan to reach out to the 350,000 residents in their region with our progressive religious message—and worship is the centerpiece of that effort. In fact, worship attendance is already on the rise in Davenport, with a 16% increase in the last five years, and a 26% increase in the last year alone. That’s why, after careful consideration, the congregation has added a second service this fall. And so far the attendance at the service has exceeded their expectations! But increased worship attendance does not mean an immediate boost in resources needed to sustain another service, like addition hours for musicians, childcare workers, and support staff.
The congregation would also like to augment their worship experience with visual elements by installing a large screen television, as well as purchasing a high-quality video camera to record sermons to post on their website and share with shut-ins.
Of course this all takes money. You can support the growth efforts of the UU Congregation of the Quad Cities by responding generously to this Chalice Lighters call. Your tax deductible contribution will help ensure the continuation of a vibrant and growing Unitarian Universalist presence in this part of our region.
As the Prairie Star District geared up to become part of the new MidAmerica Region, many of the programs that have fostered the health and vitality of our congregations are winding down. Beginning in fall 2013, a new incarnation of the Chalice Lighters program was born. The mission of the regional Chalice Lighters will be to encourage growth throughout MidAmerica. And while there will still be opportunities to support congregations within the former Prairie Star area, this is the final call of the program you have so generously contributed to over the years.
For the last few years, an innovative initiative in Prairie Star has been providing lay-led fellowships in the District with the opportunity to experience the benefits of professional religious leadership. The Visions for Ministry program has matched highly-qualified students from United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities with fellowships in La Crosse, Wisconsin; Decorah, Iowa; and Fargo, North Dakota. Students visit their fellowship six times over the church year to preach on Sunday mornings and offer religious education and faith formation experiences. This program has been funded be a combination of Chalice Lighter Growth Grants, contributions from the fellowships, and money from the Fund for Theological Education. Your contribution to this call will be used to establish a fund to keep the Visions for Ministry affordable for congregations and equitable for students.
By generously responding to this call, you ensured that the Visions for Ministry program will continue to help both ministerial students and lay-led fellowships share the exceptional experience of learning and growing together.
Prairie Star offered the opportunity to also contribute to the Social Justice Fund which makdegrants of up to $1,000 to congregations for use in integrating social justice work into the active life of their congregation. Recipient congregations are expected to fund a portion of program costs. The intention of these grants is to build community awareness of UU values in action. Examples of programs to be funded are: workshops on self-sufficiency and welfare rights; nutritional weekend food supply for elementary students; UU Social Justice Empowerment workshops; micro loans; Green Sanctuary/Earth Ministry projects.
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Your gift to Friends helped fund the services PSD offers to congregations - leadership training, assistance with growth-related issues, and consultations with congregations' staff and volunteers - services that help congregations thrive.
Friend: (friend) n. [ME. freond] 1. An ally, supporter, or sympathizer 2. One of the group of generous individuals who contribute to Prairie Star District; as in: “become a Friend of the District by making a contribution and making a difference in the strength and vitality of Unitarian Universalism on the prairie.”
UU congregations on the prairie are thriving with the help of Prairie Star District. People are attracted to healthy, vital congregations that offer vibrant Sunday services, programming for people of all ages, and outreach to their communities. PSD provides a variety of consulting services to all our congregations, large and small, to help them meet their challenges.
In 2011 we heard from people in several towns who want to start new UU congregations in those locations. Several of them, as well as teams from more than ten of our small congregations, converged on Des Moines to attend the first-ever Small Church Conference in November. These services were supported by the Friends of Prairie Star District.
A healthy, vital district contributes to the growth of healthy, vital congregations. In the past few years PSD has strengthened and extended its services by offering evening webinars – online workshops – on a variety of topics. These free webinars are also archived for future viewing at www.midwestuuleadership.org The webinars, on two different topics each month, are just one example of the district services that congregational leaders find valuable. Your contribution to Friends of PSD can help us serve our congregations better.
"I contribute (to Friends of PSD) because of the support we got from the District in finding a great minister for our church and because my wife and I believe in the UU mission outside of our little church community." -- Dale Trott, former President Shawnee Mission UU Church, Overland Park, KS
"I give to the Friends of Prairie Star because I believe it helps the District to do even more to help our congregations." -- Martha Easter-Wells, UU Congregation of the Quad Cities, Davenport, Iowa
"I am a friend of the Prairie Star District because I value the collegiality of congregations that lies at the heart of our Unitarian Universalist Association. The competent work of our District staff enables us to help and support each other in our near-by churches and societies, and I want Nancy, Phil, Sarah, and all our District volunteers to have the resources they need to serve us effectively." -- Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons, First Unitarian Society Minneapolis, MN
Working together we can make a difference. Your gift to Friends of Prairie Star District helped fund programs aimed at
“I firmly believe the world would be a better place if we had more UUs in it,” says Nancy Heege, District Executive. You may think so, too. Thank you for your commitment to our religious faith.
Fair Share is the portion of financial support for the District expected of each congregation. The amount of District Fair Share was set by PSD Board of Directors:
FY2012 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012): $23.00 per member
(for number of members reported between November 2010 and January 2011 on UUA GA Certification form)
FY2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013): $23.00 per member
(for number of members reported between November 2011 and January 2012 on UUA GA Certification form)
FY2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014): MidAmerica Region Fair Share $23.00 per member
(for number of members reported between November 2012 and January 2013 on UUA GA Certification form)
To check the amount of your congregation’s Fair Share for MidAmerica Region, refer to: