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THE FLAMING CHALICE

The Flaming Chalice has become, for all intents and purposes, the symbol of our free faith. We can also think of ourselves as the chalice and our spirits as the flame, and each congregation as a chalice and the community created by our coming together as the flame.

First designed by artist Hans Deutsch as the symbol of the Unitarian Service Committee in 1941, the chalice made its first official appearance as a symbol of Untiarian Universalism on the 1976-77 UUA Directory. For more detailed history please click here.

There are many variations on the meaning of the chalice. However, we particularly like the description given by our friend Mark Krehbiel, Master White Smith of Raventree Pewter. We came to know Mark when we ordered beautiful hand-poured pewter chalice pendants from him as Coming of Age graduation gifts and as tokens of appreciation for our Religious Education volunteers.

Though not a UU himself, Mark developed this description by synthesizing his readings about the chalice when he first decided to design the pendant:

"The Flaming Chalice, like the faith, stands open to receive new truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion. A flame can symbolize witness, sacrifice, testing, courage, and illumination."

We would hope that we ourselves, as the chalice and the faith, stand open to receive new truths as part of our free and responsible search, acknowledging that such a search may call us to be tested, to make sacrifices, to draw on reserves of courage and to bear witness for change in order to work towards our goal of a beloved community where there is peace, liberty and justice for all.

There are many forms of the chalice in use in the UU world. At the Fellowship, we light the chalice at the beginning of every service, at the beginning of every Sunday school class and often at the start of important meetings.

The slideshow at the right includes various forms of the chalice, including Mark's lovely pendant.

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