Chalice Logo Consultation Outcome

28 February 2023

A message from the Executive Committee:

We are writing to update you on the outcome of the recent consultation on the flaming chalice logo.

We want to reassure those concerned that there is no intention to abandon the use of the flaming chalice as the symbol of British Unitarianism. Whilst the design of the symbol used by headquarters at Essex Hall will of course evolve and change over the years, the flaming chalice symbol and all that it represents remains constant. In response to the many interesting and helpful responses concerning the history of the symbol, we are creating a new page on our website telling the story of the flaming chalice and showing the diverse range of artistic interpretations available worldwide.

We would like to thank everyone who has been in dialogue with us on this subject since the re-branding in February 2021. The strong feelings we have heard expressed are a welcome reminder of the passion of the many people who play a role in stewarding this community. We hope that as we move forward, this passion for the ideas and values that we stand for can help us find our way forward so we can be sure the flame will be passed forward for many generations to come.

Back in November we wrote to all 152 of our congregations asking for their views and received responses from a total of 32 congregations, a response rate of 21%.

The responses can broadly be categorised as: 

  • 19 preferred the old (2007) chalice logo (13% of our congregations, 59% of responses)
  • 4 preferred the new (2021) chalice logo (3% of our congregations, 13% of responses)
  • 5 were neutral or contained a range of individual views (3% of our congregations, 16% of responses)
  • 4 were unclear and needed further clarification (3% of our congregations, 13% of responses)

The most common themes we heard were:

  • A dislike of the style of the new chalice
  • A lack of a sense of connection and meaning with the new design
  • A wish for unity across the denomination
  • A concern about a lack of consultation

Among those who supported the new look, the main themes were:

  • Support for a bright and modern new look
  • Appreciation of the aim of reaching new demographics

The Executive Committee have carefully examined the responses and discussed them at their meeting on 17th January, along with the feedback received at the listening circles we hosted in September 2022.

Balancing the views of the 32 congregations who responded to the consultation with the wider context, the EC would like to acknowledge to all our congregations and members that the communication and consultation around the change to the flaming chalice logo did not meet everyone’s expectations, and apologise to those who have felt upset, confused or left out of the process. We are committed to learning from this experience for the future.

The priority behind the rebranding, including the adoption of a new style chalice design, has always been to reach new people, beyond our existing, declining membership. Therefore, the new designs may not always appeal to those who have been Unitarians for many years – but we ask for your patience and trust that we have the best interests of the Unitarian movement at heart in our decision-making.

We will retain the design work adopted in 2021, including the new style chalice for use in the GA’s communications. However, we remind all congregations that it is their right to use any logo or symbol for their own purposes.

With best wishes,

Rev Dr Rory Castle Jones, Communications Officer

Liz Slade, Chief Officer

on behalf of the Executive Committee