Why a Flaming Chalice?

Lit ChaliceThe flaming chalice with two circles around it is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Like any great symbol, it has multiple meanings. The chalice has been used in many cultures to symbolize communion and sharing. The flame symbolizes sacrifice, courage, and the light of truth, among other ideas. The two circles symbolize the coming together of the separate denominations of Unitarianism and Universalism to form Unitarian Universalism.

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. To Unitarian Universalists today the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope, the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, the light of reason, and more.

Why three chalices?

At the beginning of our service, we light three chalices. One is for our congregation. One is for our partner church in Simenfalva, Romania. The third chalice we light for the children to take back with them to their classrooms, in recognition that they are a part of our congregation.