A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many of our congregations light a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently.
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. The footed cup represents community, partnership, and sustaining love. The flame represents the light of wisdom and illumination, sacrifice and courage, and bearing witness.
To Unitarian Universalists today the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope, the mystery of the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, the light of reason, and much more. It has been suggested that the chalice holding the flame represents the way the community of faith, the congregation, holds and supports an individual throughout their lives and along their search for truth and meaning. We light a flaming chalice in worship to create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, meditation, and singing.
Two chalice images recently used by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
...but what about the big cross in the sanctuary?
...This one? (Yes, this one!)
This is a Universalist symbol! We are very proud of our Universalist roots, and the theology behind this symbol is fully integrated as part of the modern faith of Unitarian Universalism.
Click the button below to learn more about the Universalist Off-Center Cross.