Our Symbol: The Flaming Chalice
The flaming chalice is the most central symbol in Unitarian Universalism. Almost all of the thousand-plus congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) light a chalice each Sunday morning during worship. Similarly, we light a chalice at weddings, child dedications, and memorial services. Often a church’s chalice is a gift from one of its members or one of its ministers. Made of clay, wood, metal, or glass—large and small—the chalices vary widely in their style. However, each is at its essence a cup with a flame inside it. When we light the chalice at First Parish in Concord, we acknowledge how this act joins us with all other Unitarian Universalists in our country and around the world. For us, the flaming chalice a symbol of truth and beauty. It is the light of peace and justice. It is a sign of our quest for meaning. It is a beacon of our love.
The history of the chalice symbol
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope. (Source: UUA.org)