Here at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church, we love to share stories! Here are some stories about the church and its members. We would love to hear your story too.

Our Stories

Church members and guests all have stories about where they’ve come from and why they’re at Starr King. Hearing these stories is a great joy! We have time for fellowship after every Sunday morning service. It’s a wonderful time to chat and listen over coffee, tea, and snacks. Until then, you can read some of our members’ stories

Our Church Story

Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church of Hayward was founded in 1954 and began as a do-it-yourself operation! After a few years, the founders purchased the grounds of a lovely old plant nursery beside a creek (our present location) and built a bare bones sanctuary. It took them 8 years to hire their first professional minister, partly because they enjoyed what they were doing so much. Since then, the church has grown into maturity, with responsible business practices and much nicer facilities, but never lost its welcoming, experimental nature. Read more about our history

Our Religion’s Story

Unitarian Universalism grew from the union of two radical Christian groups: Unitarians and Universalists. Thomas Starr King, for whom our church is named, described the difference between Unitarians and Universalists this way – “Universalists believe that God is too good to damn people, and the Unitarians believe that people are too good to be damned by God.”

Finding that they had much in common and were also complementary, the two churches joined in 1961 to create the Unitarian Univeralist Association. Unitarian Universalism remains a living, changing, diverse, inclusive religion. We don’t have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door. Instead, we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been and might go. Read more about Unitarian Universalist history and practice…

Thomas Starr King

We named our church to honor Thomas Starr King, a California Unitarian Universalist hero known as “the orator who saved the nation.” During the Civil War, he tirelessly campaigned throughout California, speaking for the Union and against slavery. Read more about Thomas Starr King

The Flaming Chalice

The primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition is a flame within a chalice, which is a cup with a stem and foot. We light a chalice before worship and other gatherings to create a reverent space.

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.

The stained glass in our sanctuary features a flaming chalice set against our local East Bay hills.

  • Upper left: the much loved wisteria vine that still grows on our property
  • Upper right: the rainbow symbol that welcomes people of all sexual and gender identifications.
  • Lower left: symbol showing the connection among all races and ethnicities
  • Lower right: a traditional church gathering place

We also named our monthly newsletter The Flaming Chalice!