Our UU Flaming Chalice

A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many of our congregations kindle a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently. The chalice can be metal, like the one at left, or pottery, like ours below. Sometimes UU children make their own small chalices to use at their own Sunday gatherings, and often, chalice is given as a new member’s gift.

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 (UUSC) during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love.

The UUSC began when Unitarian minister Rev. Waitstill and his wife Martha Sharp set sail from the United States in February 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi persecution; the Waitstills needed a secret sign for identification when working with members of the resistance.

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.

We light a flaming chalice in worship to create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, meditation, and singing.

Our TRUU Symbols

Each Unitarian Universalist congregation has a banner that is displayed during worship services. It’s also designed to be carried in processions at UU regional gatherings and at the nationwide General Assembly of Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Our banner, the third in the congregation’s history, was designed in 2018 by Katie Marshall and Nicolette Toussaint. It replaced a canyon-and-river design that dated from the congregation’s time in Glenwood Springs. Early in the congregation’s history, another banner, one whose design is now forgotten, was lost during a trip to General Assembly.

TRUU’s current banner, as well as its pulpit, feature the UU flaming chalice in front of Mt. Sopris, along with two rivers. Nicolette created the mosaic on the front of the pulpit, shown below, in 2018.

The congregation’s “Two Rivers” name was the brainchild of Bill Spence. He was asked, “Which two rivers does it refer to?” His answer: “pick any two.”

That works well for a congregation that is defined by a watershed that includes towns situated on the Roaring Fork River: a river that intersects with Maroon and Capitol Creeks in Aspen, the Frying Pan in Basalt, the Crystal River in Carbondale and then Cattle Creek. The Colorado River receives the water of the Roaring Fork in Glenwood Springs and Elk Creek in New Castle.

Since members of TRUU live in all those towns, plus other smaller places in our upper Colorado River basin, “pick any two rivers” works well for everyone in our congregation.