Monday, November 17, 2014

The Symbolism in our Symbols

You may have noticed that St. Mary's has recently transitioned from using the fleur-de-lis to using the Episcopal Shield as our primary symbol on our website, facebook, newsletter, and service bulletin. But you might be wondering: "Why the change?"

While the fleur-de-lis will continue to be an important symbol for St. Mary's, the Episcopal shield helps visitors quickly associate our congregation with the Episcopal Church, and the 80 million member, Anglican Communion.

The shield is also richly symbolic: The most distinctive part of the image is the red cross placed over a white background. The white represents the purity of the Christian faith that moves us all to do good; while the red cross represents the sacrifice of the martyrs, and more importantly, the Son of God. Together these are a reminder of our salvation in Christ, and the dedication of the saints who have come before us.

In the upper left hand corner of the shield there are nine white crosslets arranged on a madonna blue background. The background color is associated with Mary, as she is traditionally adorned in blue by artists. The nine crosslets represent the nine original Episcopal diocese in America. Together these remind us of the history of our faith, from it's beginnings with the incarnation of God, to it's more recent history, with the establishment of the Anglican Church in America.

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