We’re glad you’re looking at our web pages! Before you go to the next page, let’s say a word about the symbol, “the flaming chalice,” that you’ll see on these pages and in our churches. Although some of our members regard themselves to be Christians, many do not. Therefore, in most of our churches (there are exceptions) we don’t find the cross to be a symbol that unites all of us. Instead, we use a symbol of religious freedom, the flaming chalice.
Here are some versions of the flaming chalice:
Every Sunday we light a flaming chalice that was created in stained glass for us by a local artist:
The flaming chalice logo was first used by The Unitarian Service Committee (now the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee), when they were helping refugees during World War II.
But it has an earlier origin in the story of Jan Hus, a Czech priest who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1415.
Hus had — among other things — shared the communion chalice with the people, a practice that was not authorized by the Roman Catholic Church until the 1960s. After he was burned at the stake, his followers combined the chalice with the flame of his execution, to create the flaming chalice, a symbol of religious freedom. Although Hus was not Unitarian (our oldest churches date to 1568, more than150 years after Hus), we have taken inspiration from his struggle for religious freedom, and have adopted this symbol.
Please continue to the following pages which we hope will tell you more of what you would like to know.