Driving onto the property, visitors will immediately notice a beautiful cut-metal sculpture. This wonderful work of art created by Edward J. Kimball displays seven religious symbols of different faiths from all over the world (from left to right):
- The Christian Cross, one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbols, is canted at the angle needed to carry it. It is a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians.
- The six-pointed Star of David is seen from slightly above and angled to the rear, its face penetrating into the horizon. Also known as Magen David or Soloman’s Seal, the hexagram is the most common and universally recognized sign of Judaism and Jewish identity.
- Kimball distills Hinduism’s hands-in-prayer gesture, known as Namaste, into a bold geometric design–a play between figurative and pure form. The gesture and its spoken name conveys a respectful salute to the divinity present in everyone, literally translating into “I bow to you.”
- The balanced and circular Buddhist Wheel of Dharma designates natural laws. Also known as the Wheel of Law, it is one of the most important Buddhist symbols, as it represents the teachings of the Buddha. Its steady revolution creates the cycle of time, the cosmic rhythm.
- The Unitarian Universalism Chalice and the Eternal Flame appears canted off the vertical. Many UU congregations light a flame inside a chalice at the opening of their services. Today, UU’s have many different interpretations of our symbol, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.
- The Crescent Moon and Star is the symbol most associated with the Islam faith, adopted from the flag of the Ottoman Empire. Several Muslim countries that feature the crescent moon and star on their national flag. The color, size, orientation, and design features vary widely from country to country.
- The Tree of Life, with its branches reaching into the sky and roots deeply implanted in the earth, is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense.
The sculpture is composed of 14 panels, each implying a door-like rectangle. These rectangles are unified by an array of cutouts forming each symbol. The symbols bridge one panel into the next in a succession of images invoking a call for religious space and unity in a diverse world of religious outlook.
As the eye moves across the sculpture, one perceives that the forms seem to extend beyond the confines of flat surfaces and to penetrate into deeper space, creating a new tension and shape to the work. Some of the forms overlap into adjacent panels. The converging (vanishing point) perspective of the sharp angles in the Cross, the Star of David, the Chalice and the Tree of Life, provide a sense of the infinite. The forms all pierce the door-like panels, which can be thought of as opening into a deeper universe. While it is possible to relate the 14 doors to the Stations of the Cross, the number of doors, like the order of the panels, is not meant as a hierarchical statement. Instead they are more of an intuitive response to the circularity of forms and ideas.