First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, will present J. Patrick Manley from Masons On a Mission, to speak on the topic of “Laying Foundations for Change” Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.

Manley, a stone mason from Washington, is known throughout the country for his stone work, and will be presenting a slide show detailing his experiences over 17 years of building stoves in Guatemala. Light refreshments will be served.

In the winter of 2000, Manley started traveling to remote villages in the western highlands of Guatemala to build stoves for the Mayan people who live in the higher elevations of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. Millions of Mayans burn open, unvented wood fires inside their dwellings for cooking and as a source of heat. Since these fires are unvented, the entire family breathes in the toxic smoke, causing a variety of respiratory illnesses and even blindness. Ventilated stoves provide a solution to this problem.

In an effort to increase his outreach to these people, Manley created Masons on a Mission to raise awareness and funds for the project. Every year he organizes groups of volunteers to go to Guatemala during the month of March to build stoves. Fundraising efforts continue via the Masons on a Mission website and various presentations conducted throughout the country.

The cost of materials for each stove is $150, with all materials purchased locally to boost the local economy. Each volunteer is required to raise a minimum of $300 to pay for the materials for two of the stoves that they help to build.

There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted at the door. Masons On a Mission is a tax-exempt 501 C (3) charitable foundation. All donations are tax-deductible.