Today Madeline spoke to us about the symbolism of the Chalice. Every UU Church lights some equivalent of a chalice at the beginning of services. This is not surprising. The symbolism of light is deeply embedded in Western cultural tradition. It lights our way. It is warmth, protection, illumination, cooking, and even creation. A flame within a chalice, represents the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.
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. The Unitarians were smuggling refugees out of Europe and they needed some official seal to give their religion more gravitas. Deutsch designed a seal with a flame and chalice. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists adopted the Deutsch's chalice as the sysmbol of the religion. Today there are many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.