Our Symbol: The Flaming Chalice
Many faith traditions are represented by a symbol, such as the cross in the Christian faith, the star and crescent of Islam, and the Star of David in the Jewish faith. A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many UU congregations light a flaming chalice in worship, and at meetings and other gatherings.
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. He was asked to create a symbol that could be used on papers “to make them look official, to give dignity and importance to them, and at the same time to symbolize the spirit of our work.” The Unitarian Service Committee was working to assist Eastern Europeans, including Unitarians and Jews, to escape Nazi persecution. The flaming chalice design was made into a seal for papers and a badge for agents moving refugees to freedom.
Over time it became known around the world as the official symbol of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association, though no one meaning or interpretation of the symbol is official.
You will see the symbol of the chalice in different styles on signs in our yard as well as on our building. It is used on literature produced by the congregation, including brochures and newsletters, as well as on publications from the Unitarian Universalist Association. The chalice can also be used to identify Unitarian Universalist websites and other social media.
The chalice is lit each week during worship service to help create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, meditation and singing.
To learn more about the chalice go to https://www.uua.org/beliefs/who-we-are/chalice