Dear MidAmerica Chalice Lighter,
We are pleased to announce the first Regional Chalice Lighter call for the newly formed MidAmerica Region of the UUA! As you may know, Chalice Lighter grants are funded by small donations (see back of this letter for more information) from Unitarian Universalists across our large Midwestern region, pooled together to help congregations with specific growth projects. For this first round, the new committee for the Regional Chalice Lighter program met via conference call to consider six applications that were received from congregations in all three of the former districts. And, the new committee is comprised of representatives from all three of the former districts. The committee has decided to issue this call to all who are signed up to be Chalice Lighters across the Region, and to distribute the funds according to the greatest needs of these three congregations:
- The Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation of McHenry, Illinois, for support of the renovations to a new building they moved into in 2012. Their new building used to be a restaurant and banquet hall, with an attached apartment on the lower level. Specific projects are building permanent walls (to replace partitions) for soundproofing and privacy of office space and Religious Education classrooms; renovating the kitchen to meet codes for use as a professional kitchen (which will generate rental income); and installation of new phones, a wireless microphone system in the sanctuary, and new computers for the offices.
- The Harmony Unitarian Universalist Church in Morrow, Ohio, for support of their new facility and improvements. This new congregation began about four years ago and from the beginning, they’ve had almost 100 adults and young people attending services each week – with more children than adults! They have just moved into a new, long-term rental space at a UCC congregation and members have been busy remodeling and painting for several months. Major needs they will use Chalice Lighter funds for are purchasing additional chairs; improvements to A/V equipment and acoustics; and improvements for hospitality and signage.
- First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, Iowa for installation of a lift to make most of their building accessible to everyone. The Sioux City congregation is a small congregation of just over 50 members who have worked very hard to raise more than half of the $65,000 cost of the lift, and the Chalice Lighter grant will be used to offset the amount of the loan they will take to pay the balance.
For this Fall Call, please send your check or make an online donation by January 15, 2014.
We deeply appreciate your generosity in contributing to the MidAmerica Chalice Lighter program. There are several ways you can participate in the Chalice Lighter program, with four suggested levels of donation: $20 Believer / $50 Builder / $100 Benefactor / $250 Beacon. These are amounts that would be donated three times each year (Fall, Winter & Spring Calls) upon receipt of the Call Letter.
As we transition from three districts into one regional program, the committee currently plans to solicit grants from congregations in the MidAmerica Region twice a year – Fall and Winter – for individual congregational growth projects. After the committee selects applications, the Call Letters will be sent or emailed to you, announcing the Call and recipients.
For the third annual call in the spring, the committee is exploring possibilities for selecting a broad-based program to support growth and ministry that can potentially help all the congregations in the Region.
If you’d prefer, for tax purposes, to make one donation per year (any amount over the $60 minimum donation for three Calls) you can contribute to the Winter Call of 2014, and we will hold the funds and divide them equally among the three Calls in that calendar year.
There are several ways you can donate:
• You can send in your check through the mail in the enclosed envelope.
• You can go to the Chalice Lighter webpage:
http://midamericauua.org/programs/chalice-lighters and click on the Donate option of your choice. Please note, we accept a single annual donation ($60 minimum) only during the Winter Call.
Lastly, we are hoping to move most Chalice Lighter notifications and donations to our online system, so please consider switching to use the online system if you are not currently using it.
Former Central Midwest District Chalice Lighters:
If you were previously signed up to receive notifications and make donations online, you do NOT need to sign up again.
Again, please know that we and the congregations who have and will receive Chalice Lighter Grants are deeply grateful for your generosity!
The MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee
Rev. Peter Connolly, Bowling Green, KY; Emily Jaycox, St. Louis, MO; Heidi Lackmann, DesMoines, IA; Karen McMillin, Oak Park, IL; Kathy Silver, Dexter, MI with staff support from Rev. Phillip Lund and Dori Davenport Thexton
In getting our regional Chalice Lighter program and database up and running, we encountered unexpected delays in setting things up with a new printing/mailing company. The Fall Call letter is being mailed this week (December 11) while it is technically still fall - even though most of our region is experiencing a winter deep freeze!
We have sent the letter to all the Chalice Lighters in our database. It's possible that in combining the three former district databases, information was lost. If you do not get the letter via USPS by the end of next week, please visit our Chalice Lighter website to sign up: http://midamericauua.org/programs/chalice-lighters.
If you've never heard of the Chalice Lighter program, you can read about it at that page - it's a great, easy way to support growth of Unitarian Universalism in the MidAmerica Region. The current call letter is also posted there so you can read about the three congregations that will be supported through this Fall Call. And if you're interested in promoting the Chalice Lighter program in your congregation, you might consider becoming a Chalice Lighter Ambassador - please contact Dori Thexton at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Call Letter was prepared in November and lists a deadline of December 31, 2013 for donating to this Call. Because of the delays in getting it out, we will accept donations until January 15, 2014 for the Fall Call.
Thank you for your generosity to our Chalice Lighter grant program over the years - the congregations you help with your small gift three times a year are deeply appreciative!
-- Dori Davenport Thexton