Stained glass window 2-001A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. We kindle a chalice before worship and other gatherings to create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, meditation, work, and singing.

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. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love.

To Unitarian Universalists today the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope, the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, the light of reason, and more. At Starr King church, we named our newsletter The Flaming Chalice to honor that symbology.

The stained glass “window” in the front of our sanctuary features a flaming chalice against our local California hills. The upper left shows the much loved wisteria vine that still grows on our property, even though the building it once decorated is gone. Upper right is the rainbow symbol that welcomes people of all sexual and gender identifications. Lower left is a symbol showing the connection among all races and ethnicities. Lower right is a traditional church building.