When we gather for services on Sunday mornings we begin by lighting a hand-crafted chalice to unite us in worship and symbolize the spirit of our community. For Unitarian Universalists, the flaming chalice represents a rich mixture of symbols, including the light of truth, the fire of compassion and commitment and the warm embrace of community.
Historically, the chalice has always been an important symbol of our denomination’s commitment to social justice. The first Flaming Chalice symbol was designed in 1941 by an Austrian artist, Hans Deutsch. It was created to serve as a recognizable symbol to identify members of the Unitarian Service Committee who were assisting Eastern Europeans fleeing from Nazi persecution. (You can read more in The Healing Cup: The Story of the Flaming Chalice, by Noreen Kimball)
We say these words in unison when we light our chalice:
We light this chalice for the light of truth;
We light this chalice for the warmth of love;
We light this chalice for the energy of action;
We light this chalice for the harmony of peace.