Unitarian-Universalist and Liberal Religion Page
Unitarian Universalism is faith in
hope for tomorrow's
confidence in a continuity
that spans all time.
It looks not to
a perfect heaven, but toward a
It is respectful of the
past, but not limited to it.
trust in growing and conspiracy
It is a spiritual
responsibility for a moral tomorrow.
Unitarian Universalism is cooperation
with a universe that created us;
it is a
celebration of life;
it is being in love
with goodness and justice;
it is a
sense of humor about absolutes.
Source: Our Chosen Faith
My List of Unitarian, Universalist, UU, and Religious Links
WHO ARE THE UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALISTS?
The Unitarian-Universalists (UUs) are a spiritual community who encourage you to think
They believe that
They can be called `religious liberals'
- everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves
- the fundamental tools for doing this are your own
life-experience, your reflection upon it, your intuitive understanding
and the promptings of your own conscience
- the best setting for this is a community that welcomes you for
what you are -- beliefs, doubts, questions and all!
No one has to pretend to believe anything they can't believe
and no one has to recite anything they don't think to be true.
- religious because they unite to celebrate and affirm values that
embrace and reflect a greater reality than the self
- liberal because they claim no exclusive revelation or status for
themselves; because they afford respect and toleration to those who
follow different paths of faith.
Most UUs are involved, either through the congregation
or as individuals, in some form of social action. Without practical
service to others our faith is of little value.
The UU symbol is the chalice and flame.
At the opening of Unitarian Universalist worship services, many
congregations light a flame inside a chalice. This flaming
chalice has become a well-known symbol of our denomination. It
unites our members in worship and symbolizes the spirit of our
The chalice and the flame were brought together as a Unitarian
symbol by an Austrian artist, Hans Deutsch, in 1941. Living in
Paris during the 1930's Deutsch drew critical cartoons of Adolf
Hitler. When the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940, he abandoned all
he had and fled to the South of France, then to Spain, and
finally, with an altered passport, into Portugal.
There, he met the Reverend Charles Joy, executive director of the
Unitarian Service Committee (USC). The Service Committee was
new, founded in Boston to assist Eastern Europeans, among them
Unitarians as well as Jews, who needed to escape Nazi
persecution. From his Lisbon headquarters, Joy oversaw a secret
network of couriers and agents.
Charles Joy felt that this new, unknown organisation needed some visual image
to represent Unitarianism to the world, especially when dealing with
government agencies abroad.
Deutsch was most impressed and soon was working for the USC. He
later wrote to Joy:
There is something that urges me to tell you... how much I
admire your utter self denial [and] readiness to serve, to
sacrifice all, your time, your health, your well being, to
help, help, help.
I am not what you may actually call a believer. But if your
kind of life is the profession of your faith---as it is, I
feel sure---then religion, ceasing to be magic and mysticism,
becomes confession to practical philosophy and---what is more-
--to active, really useful social work. And this religion---
with or without a heading---is one to which even a `godless'
fellow like myself can say wholeheartedly, Yes!
The USC was an unknown organization in 1941. This was a special
handicap in the cloak-and-dagger world, where establishing trust
quickly across barriers of language, nationality, and faith could
mean life instead of death. Disguises, signs and countersigns, and
midnight runs across guarded borders were the means of freedom in
those days. Joy asked Deutsch to create a symbol for their papers
"to make them look official, to give dignity and importance to
them, and at the same time to symbolize the spirit of our work....
When a document may keep a man out of jail, give him standing with
governments and police, it is important that it look important."
Thus, Hans Deutsch made his lasting contribution to the USC and, as
it turned out, to Unitarian Universalism. With pencil and ink he
drew a chalice with a flame. It was, Joy wrote his board in
a chalice with a flame, the kind of chalice which the Greeks
and Romans put on their altars. The holy oil burning in it is
a symbol of helpfulness and sacrifice.... This was in the mind
of the artist. The fact, however, that it remotely suggests
a cross was not in his mind, but to me this also has its
merit. We do not limit our work to Christians. Indeed, at
the present moment, our work is nine-tenths for the Jews, yet
we do stem from the Christian tradition, and the cross does
symbolize Christianity and its central theme of sacrificial
The flaming chalice design was made into a seal for papers and a
badge for agents moving refugees to freedom. In time it became a
symbol of Unitarian Universalism all around the world.
The story of Hans Deutsch reminds us that the symbol of a flaming
chalice stood in the beginning for a life of service. When Deutsch
designed the flaming chalice, he had never seen a Unitarian or
Universalist church or heard a sermon. What he had seen was faith
in action---people who were willing to risk all for others in a
time of urgent need.
Today, the flaming chalice is the official symbol of the UU Service
Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Officially
or unofficially, it functions as a logo for hundreds of
congregations. A version of the symbol was adopted by the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free
Christian Churches in Britain. It has since been used by Unitarian
churches in other parts of the world. Perhaps most importantly, it has become a focal
point for worship. No one meaning or interpretation is official.
The flaming chalice, like our faith, stands open to receive new
truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion.
Source: Unitarian Universalist Association and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free
BE A CHALICE LIGHTER !
You possess only a small light,
but uncover it
let it shine
use it in order to bring more light
and understanding to the hearts and minds
of men and women.
Give them, not hell, but hope and courage.
Rev. John Murray, Early American Universalist
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