Did You Know...

Cross and Flame

Did you know…

…that the universal symbol of the United Methodist Church is the “Cross and Flame”?

 

A member of our congregation recently told me that a person once asked them, “Why does the UMC us a burning cross as its symbol?” This story is a stark reminder that symbols can often be misinterpreted and that symbols, which are familiar to us, can be meaningless to others. So below is our symbol, which is referred to as the “Cross and Flame” not the burning cross. I have also included the history and significance of the Cross and Flame so that you might be prepared to answer other people’s inquiries.

The history and significance of the Cross and Flame emblem are as rich and diverse as The United Methodist Church. The insignia's birth quickly followed the union of two denominations in 1968: The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Following more than two dozen conceptualizations, a traditional symbol—the cross—was linked with a single flame with dual tongues of fire. The resulting insignia is rich in meaning. It relates The United Methodist church to God through Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame). The flame is a reminder of Pentecost when witnesses were unified by the power of the Holy Spirit and saw "tongues, as of fire" (Acts 2:3).

The elements of the emblem also remind us of a transforming moment in the life of Methodism's founder, John Wesley, when he sensed God's presence and felt his heart "strangely warmed." The two tongues of a single flame may also be understood to represent the union of two denominations.

The insignia, one with lettering and one without, was formally adopted by the General Conference in 1968 and registered in 1971 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Since 1996, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist church has supervised the emblem's use.

(Information above taken from UMC website: www.umc.org)

 

Now that you know a little more about our emblem consider this: How does your life and the life of our church honor this emblem? In other words, are we living lives that represent both Christ and the Holy Spirit? Does our emblem symbolize us or is it just a picture we use on stationary?

Fun Christmas Facts

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A Christmas “Did you know”: Please be aware that I used the ever faithful tool, the internet, to collect some of these facts. I know it is hard for us to imagine, but it may be that some of these are not historically accurate. I thought you might enjoy some fun facts and you can decide if you believe them or not.

 

Did you know…

 

…that the tradition of Christmas lights dates to a time when Christians were persecuted for saying Mass. A single lit candle in the window signaled that Mass would be celebrated there that night. Our modern electric lights were first used in 1895

 

…according to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year. For every Christmas tree that is cut down, 2-3 saplings must be planted in its place.

 

…an average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards and receive 28 of their own.

 

…that Christmas trees are edible. In fact the needles are a rich source of Vitamin C.

 

…during the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used 5,340 times each minute in the United States.

 

…that during World War II Christmas presents had to be mailed early in order for GIs to receive them in time. Merchants joined the effort to remind the public to shop and ship presents early and thus the protracted shopping season was born.

 

…in 1647 the English Parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by the Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry on a holy day to be immoral. The ban was lifted in 1660 when the Puritans passed from power.

 

…if you received every gift sung about in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” then you would receive 364 presents.

 

…that the abbreviation X-mas is not unreligious. The first letter in the Greek word for Christ is chi, which looks like our capital X. Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation used in charts and tables.

 

…in 1752 there were 11 days dropped from the year when the switch was made from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian calendar. This is why some traditions still celebrate Christmas on January 7th, the original December 25th.

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