The most widely used symbol of Unitarian Universalism, and the official logo of the UUA, is a flaming chalice. The symbol had its origins in a logo designed by Austrian refugee Hans Deutsch for the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) (now the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) during World War II. According to USC director Charles Joy, Deutsch took his inspiration from the chalices of oil burned on ancient Ancient Greece and Roman religion altars. Later, associations were made between this symbol and the Hussites.

Czech religious reformer Jan Hus (1369-1415) read the Bible to his congregations in their native language, whereas the Catholic Church demanded that the Bible only be read in Latin. Also, the practice of the church at the time was that during communion, the chalice was reserved for the clergy, the laity only receiving bread. When a church council condemned the practice of some priests who were giving the chalice to their congregants, Hus refused to support the condemnation. After his execution by burning in 1415, Hus' followers adopted the "lay chalice" as an important symbol of their movement.

After 1941, the flaming chalice symbol spread throughout the denomination. The symbol of the chalice has a myriad of interpretations that aptly reflect diversity of Unitarian Universalism, but there is no one, othrodox interpretation. One common interpretation of the chalice is a symbol of the church freed from the impositions of doctrine by a hierarchy and open to participation by all. The flame is interpreted as a memorial to those throughout history, such as Hus, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of religious liberty. In many depictions, the flaming chalice resembles a cross, symbolic of the Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism.

The chalice symbol is often shown surrounded by two linked rings. These can be seen as commemorating the joining of Unitarianism and Universalism.

Many churches prominently feature chalice symbolism on their signs, logos, and in their meeting places. Some churches light a chalice while saying opening words at the beginning of each service. Many of these "chalice lightings" vary, here is one example:

We light this chalice
to remind ourselves
to treat all people kindly
because they are our brothers and sisters
to take good care of the earth,
because it is our home
and to try to live lives,
filled with goodness and love
because that is how we will become,
the best men and women we can be.

Here is another example:

We light this chalice
to celebrate Unitarian Universalism.
We are the church
of the open mind,
the loving hearts,
and the helping hands.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.