Our Symbol: The Flaming Chalice
A flame within a chalice is the primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. You’ll see it many times during a visit to our church.
We open many of our gatherings, including Sunday services, by lighting the chalice and reciting our congregational covenant. In this way we create a space for reflection, prayer, meditation, and fellowship. At the end of a gathering, we say closing words together, and extinguish the flame.
The flaming chalice as a symbol of Unitarian Universalism has its origins in World War II. The Unitarian Service Committee, formed in 1940, worked to aid European refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, was asked to create a symbol for the Committee. A symbol would not only give their efforts an official appearance, but also let Committee agents recognize one another.
Variations on the flaming chalice theme may incorporate additional symbolism. Many are enclosed by a circle or double circle, like the example below, representing eternity, wholeness, and the endless cycles of life. The chalice with its flame forms a cross, recalling the Christian ideals of love and sacrifice. To Unitarian Universalists today, the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope and love, along with the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, and the light of reason.
Community Church’s logo, visible at the top of this page, is uniquely ours, incorporating a beloved 200-year-old pecan tree that is a fixture on our property.