On this page:
Our Principles
Celebrating Diversity
Flaming Chalice

Our Principles

Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote these seven principles:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Many congregations including this one have adopted the following 8th principle: Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.

Our church has augmented these principles with Mission and Vision Statements adopted by the congregation.

Unitarian Universalism draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
  • Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

The above principles and sources of faith are the foundations of our beliefs.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, NH, prepared an excellent publication, 100 Questions that Non-Members Ask about Unitarian Universalism (PDF), which contains answers to many questions about UU beliefs.

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Celebrating Diversity

As Unitarian Universalists, we celebrate and embrace diversity of both people and religious perspectives. We welcome people of all ethnicities; national, geographical or historical origins; colors; genders; physical or mental challenges or attributes; affectional or sexual orientations; gender identities; ages; and classes. We are a community of faith where young and old, partnered and single, gay and straight, skeptic and believer, and people of every race and background come together.

We are officially recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a “Welcoming Congregation” because of our acceptance and support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (more information on the LGBTQ Page).

Diversity of belief also is a hallmark of our religious community. In addition to holding different beliefs on spiritual topics, individual UUs may also identify with and draw inspiration from Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions. Our Unitarian Universalist faith has evolved through a long history, with theological origins in European Christian traditions.

Today Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith which allows individual Unitarian Universalists the freedom to search for truth on many paths. While our congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about spiritual, ethical, and theological issues.

More diversity information on the UUA website

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Flaming Chalice

World Chalice

A flame within a chalice – a cup with a stem and foot – is the primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith and represents the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and its member congregations. In most UU churches, including ours, we light a flame in the chalice at the opening of our worship services and at the beginning of many other church group meetings. The chalice unites our members in worship and symbolizes the spirit of our work. The lighting of the chalice is usually accompanied by a brief reading.

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. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the image.

More information about the history of our Unitarian Universalist symbol.

The current official UUA logo (seen in the header on all pages of this website) was designed to offer a visual representation of a modern and dynamic faith. flaming_chalice-circlesThe flaming chalice image has changed many times over the past 65 years. Modern chalice designs often incorporate two overlapping circles as seen here, which, for many people, represent our Unitarian and Universalist heritages. Other chalice images include additional elements, some of which are merely decorative and others which are very meaningful. One interpretation, the “World Chalice,” appears above.

UUCC’s Chalice

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri observed the 67th anniversary of our church’s founding at worship services on Jan. 28, 2018 that included dedication of a beautiful new metal chalice purchased and given to the church by a member couple.

The late Naoma Powell made the chalice we had been using since 2006 after the congregation’s previous chalice broke, and it was always intended to be temporary. Naoma’s chalice served us long and well, but was showing signs of wear. To protect this beloved artifact, it was officially “retired” from active duty but will always have a place in our sanctuary and will still be used for special occasions.

The new chalice is larger and will be easier to see from all parts of the sanctuary, in keeping with the needs of our growing congregation. It was dedicated with Naoma’s own January 2006 words of dedication of the temporary chalice that is now retired:

Though chalice changes, the flame burns bright.
Not holder, not cup but flame that offers light.
Flame that lights the darkness.
Flame, in its burning, illumines night.
Flame, its double halo, bringing light to shadow, warmth to shade.
Flame, re-igniting

Meet our Chalice Artist

Ryan Schmidt

Our new chalice that was dedicated at the Jan. 28 worship services was crafted by Ryan Schmidt, a metal artist based in Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

Ryan owned and managed a motorcycle repair shop in Kansas City before moving to Tennessee in 2015. Shortly after moving he met a neighbor, William Brock, a traditional blacksmith who taught Ryan the art of blacksmithing. Ryan’s passion is creating custom-made functional objects, ornamental ironwork, sculptures, and furniture. He is a member of several professional blacksmithing groups.

When Ryan is not creating art at his shop, Mitty’s Metal Art (, he likes to get out and explore the surrounding Appalachian region on his Harley or mountain bike. Ryan is not a UU but is familiar with our denomination through friends.


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