THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION
Over 1,000 congregations promoting compassion, justice, and spiritual growth.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. The UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to Seven Principles that include the worth of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs. Our congregations and faith communities promote these principles through regular worship, learning and personal growth, shared connection and care, social justice action and service, celebration of life’s transitions, and much more.
Our faith tradition is diverse and inclusive. We grew from the union of two radical Christian groups: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. They joined to become the UUA in 1961. Both groups trace their roots in North America to the early Massachusetts settlers and the Framers of the Constitution. Across the globe, our legacy reaches back centuries to liberal religious pioneers in England, Poland, and Transylvania. Today, Unitarian Universalists include people of many beliefs who share UU values.
Each UU congregation is democratic—congregational leaders set their own priorities and choose their own ministers and staff. Congregations vote for the leaders of the UUA, who oversee the central staff and resources. The UUA supports congregations in their work by training ministers, publishing books andtheUU World magazine, providing religious education curricula, offering shared services, coordinating social justice activities, and more.
A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.
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. With pencil andink he drew a chalice with a flame. It was, 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...
The flaming chalice design was made into a seal for papers and a badge for agents moving refugees to freedom. Intime 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.
Many of our congregations kindle a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently. 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.