Information about Seal

Presbyterian Seal

 
The Seal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a symbolic statement of the church's heritage, identity and mission in contemporary form.  Designed by Malcolm Grear, the seal was officially adopted by the General Assembly June 8, 1985, just under two years after the formation of PCUSA itself.  Its power depends upon both its simplicty and complexity, as well as its traditional and enduring qualities.  
 
The basic symbols in the seal are the cross, Scripture, the dove, and flames.  The cross is the universal and most ecumenical symbol of the Christian church.  It represents the incarnate love of God in Jesus Christ and his passion and resurrection.  The Presbyterian church uses the Celtic cross as a comtemporary rendering of the ancient symbol.  The integration of the horizontal dimensions of the cross with the book motif highlights the emphasis which the Reformed tradition has place on the role of Scripture as a means of knowing God's word.  Another symbol here is the communion chalice hidden within the pulpit.  The dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, affirms the role of the Spirit in both inspiring and interpreting Scripture in the life of the church.  Within the dove the form of a fish is visible, which is an early Christian sign for Christ, recalling his ministry to those who hunger.  The flames are a symbol of revelation in the Old Testament when God spoke to Moses from the burning bush. 
 
The symbolic and visual qualities remind the church of its identity and call to be the servant of Jesus Christ.  The union of three churches to create PCUSA and the pluralism of their members is represented in the three-fold quality of the cross and the graphic representation of the diversity within unity.  It also recalls John Calvin's commentary on Paul that "the union ought to be such that we form one body and one soul."
 
seal info
Last Published: July 12, 2013 1:18 PM
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