First United Presbyterian Church

The PCUSA Seal

Harry Vandergriff carved this wooden form of the PCUSA Seal. You may see the seal in other formats around FUPC, too. But just what is the seal? It’s a registered trademark of the Presbyterian Church USA, comprising four symbolic elements: the cross, scripture, a dove, and flames.

The seal was adopted in 1985 and was designed by Malcolm Grear and Associates.

The primary focus is the cross. “The cross represents the incarnate love of God in Jesus Christ and his passion and resurrection,” the PC(USA) website explains. “Because of its association with Presbyterian history, the Celtic cross was chosen as a model for this contemporary rendering of the ancient symbol.”

The cross begins at the top with a descending dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It also reminds us of Christ’s baptism.

Below the dove is the image of a book, symbolizing holy scripture. In the Reformed tradition, God’s words is emphasized as the source of our knowledge of God.

The book rests on a lectern, which shows the importance of preaching in the Presbyterian church.

The flames remind us of Pentecost. They also provide the outline of a triangle, which makes us think of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

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