At Westside Church we begin each Sunday morning worship with the lighting of the flaming chalice.
Why we use the Flaming Chalice
The symbol of the chalice has its origin in Jan Hus, Czech priest and forerunner of the Reformation, who was burned alive at the stake in 1415 for suggesting that lay people should be able to partake of the communion cup in an era when that was only available to the priesthood. It is said that while he was burning, his tainted chalice was thrown into the flames to burn with him.
After Hus' martyrdom, the chalice with a flame became a symbol of religious freedom throughout Europe.
During World War II, as the Unitarian Service Committee worked its way through the Allied underground in Nazi Germany, it needed a symbol to identify itself. Many members had heard of the legend of Jan Hus and so a simple drawing depicting a flame within a chalice was used.
Long after the war, some Unitarian Universalist churches began the practice of lighting a chalice during worship and eventually the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations commissioned a rendering of a chalice as the official organizational logo of the association.
About Our Chalice...
Our unique chalice was designed by noted local artist and Westside Church member Charles Boren. This freeform rendering is also a symbol of our own fragile human lives. It is carved from mesquite, a common but hardy wood native to Texas. Like us, it is full of imperfections: knot holes, weak spots and places worn smooth by the years. And like us, it has been shaped into something beautiful and precious within a community of love and common faith.
The chalice was first designed for the ordination of our former minister, the Rev. Sam Schaal, and has subsequently been used in worship services.
Westside UU Church
901 Page Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76110