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The United Methodist Church’s cross and flame

A symbol of love and unity

  • Unlike the KKK’s burning cross which is a symbol of hate and division, the United Methodist Church’s cross and flame is a symbol of love and unity.  For more details on its origin and symbolism click here

Cross and flame

The birth of the cross and flame insignia of the United Methodist Church (UMC) quickly followed the birth of the denomination in 1968.  The 2016 UMC Book of Discipline Part VI Chapter 5 Section II ¶ 807.10 states the following.

The cross proclaims Jesus Christ as its foundation, and the two flames descending to one point celebrating its origin when two denominations became one, and affirming its readiness to go forth to the ends of the earth to all people to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as the anointing of the Holy Spirit with “individual flames of fire” sent forth the apostles speaking the language of people whenever they went.

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 UMC 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.” []

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