The Nicene Creed (4th Century)
THE CROSS WHICH IS ALSO A SWORD:
A symbol for the Emperor
Constantine and his successors because he called the ecumenical
council which began the process of thinking which resulted in this
creed; because he was the first Christian emperor and because he began
the tradition of imperial Christianity. The cross is central here
because the doctrine of Christ is central in the Creed.
THE BLUE TRIANGLE AND THE THREE SYMBOLS WITH IT:
of the Trinity formalized in the Nicene Creed.
THE HAND REACHING DOWN:
God, the Father.
THE CHI RHO MONOGRAM:
Christ - the first two letters of the
Greek word for Christ, used by Constantine on shields and helmets of
The Holy Spirit.
The rule and glory of GOD.
The Apostles' Creed
THE SOMBER BROWN COLOR:
The difficulty and rigor of early
Christianity under persecution; also the monastic tradition.
THE PURPLE ARCHES:
The entrances to caves or catacombs, where
early Christians met in secret; also the shape of Gothic church
THE ANCHOR CROSS:
Security in Christ, as found by the apostles,
some of whom were fishermen.
An ancient symbol for the Christian faith, perhaps a
secret code mark. Letters of the Greek word for fish can be used as
the first letters in the phrase "Jesus Christ God's Son Savior."
The Lord's Supper, and thus the earnest and simple
fellowship of the early church.
THE UPSIDE-DOWN CROSS:
Peter, chief of the apostles, who, in
legend, is said to have been crucified upside-down because he thought
himself unworthy of a death like his Master's.
The Scots Confession (Scotland, 1560)
THE BLUE OF THE SHIELD:
The background color of the Church of
THE TARTAN, X-Shaped CROSS:
A form called St Andrew's Cross, he
being the apostle who brought the gospel to Scotland. The Tartan, or
plaid, is that of the Hamilton clan in honor of the first martyr of
the Scottish Reformation, Patrick Hamilton.
THE CELTIC CROSS:
Another ancient form associated with
Christians of the British Isles.
A symbol for the Church; the Confession contains a
remarkable, strong doctrine of the Church.
THE BIBLE AND THE SWORD:
Paul called the word of God "The sword
of the Spirit," and the sharpness of John Knox's preaching of the Word
was a major power for reformation in Scotland.
THE BURNING BUSH WHICH IS NOT CONSUMED:
Reminding us of Moses'
Sinai experience, thus a symbol of God's presence and call: the chief
symbol of the Church of Scotland.
The Heidelberg Catechism (Germany, 1563)
THE REGAL RED AND GOLD:
A tribute to the rule of Frederick III
who ordered the writing of the Catechism for followers of John Calvin
THE CROWN OF THORNS, THE "GERMAN" CROSS AND THE TABLETS:
Symbols of Misery, Redemption and Thankfulness-the three basic themes
of the Catechism. (The tablets stand for the Ten Commandments, which
appear in the Catechism where it teaches that obedience is the proper
form of thankfulness.)
THE TWO LIGHTS AND THE FIRE:
The Trinity-with the Hebrew name
of God on the left orb, the Greek monogram for Jesus on the right orb,
and the flame standing for the Holy Spirit. There is a long discussion
of the Trinity in the Catechism.
The Second Helvetic Confession (Switzerland, 1566)
THE BLUE AND WHITE:
Heraldic colors of ancient Switzerland.
Again dominant on this banner because of the
extensive discussion of salvation in the Confession.
THE HAND AND THE BURNING HEART:
A traditional symbol for John
Calvin, father of Presbyterianism in its Swiss homeland.
Knowledge and disipline, two of the themes of the
Helvetic which make it unique.
THE SHEPHERD'S CROOK AND THE PASTURE:
The pastoral ministry and
the flock's care for its own members.
THE CHALICE AND THE WAVES:
Holy Communion and Baptism.
The Westminster Confession and the Shorter Catechism (England,
THE THREE LONG PANELS AND THE MAROON TRIANGLE:
God's providence and control of all life and history-a
dominant theme of Westminster.
THE OPEN BIBLE:
The authority of the written Word, basic to
this Confession's teachings.
THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA:
The A and Z of the Greek alphabet, the
first and last-referring to Christ and His death for us as central to
The Theological Declaration of Barmen (Germany,
THE SWASTIKA CROSSED OUT AND THE CROSS RISING:
A protest and
witness against Nazi tyranny and any effort to take the role of God
and control of the church.
The suffering and death which follows from defense of
the faith against tyranny, as for some of the Barinen signers. But the
cross survives such persecution and the crisis of war, rising out of
The Confession of 1967 (United States of America)
THE BLUE, THE RED AND THE GOLD:
Colors of the official seal of
the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
THE GOLDEN, DOWN-REACHING HAND (REPEATED FROM THE NICENE
God, relating to His world.
THE CROWN (REPEATED FROM THE WESTMINSTER BANNER) AND THE
The death and victory of Christ as he
reconciles the world.
THE FOUR HANDS OF DIFFERENT COLORS, THE CLASPED HANDS AND THE GREEN
The reconciled world at the foot of the cross - God's act
of reconciliation being the starting point and theme of the Confession
THE STARS AND PLANETS ON THE BLUE BACKGROUND:
setting of this Confession.
A Brief Statement of Faith
This confessional statement, officially adopted by the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) in 1991, after the reunion of Presbyterians, North and
South, eight years earlier, uses biblical female as well as male
metphors for God. It acknowledges that to misuse the environment is to
sin. It calls Christians to work for worldwide justice, freedom and
peace. And it states clearly that God calls both "women and men to all
ministries of the Church."
The Banner for a Brief Statement of Faith hangs directly above the
pulpit. It was designed and completed in 1998 by Dale Hadden, an elder
in our congregation.
THE DOMINANT TRIANGLE:
It represents the Trinity; for A Brief
Statement of Faith's three main statements begiln with "We trust in
the Holy Spirit ..." This is the only PC(USA) confession that dwells
on Jesus' earthly ministry.
THE LOAF AND FISHES:
These remind us of his teaching,
preaching, and working of miracles.
It represents Holy Communion, which Jesus gave to
THE SCALES OF JUSTICE:
Stand for the gospel of liberation that
he brought to the poor and oppressed.
THE CROSS IN THE SCALE:
Reminds us of Jesus' sacrifice and
resurrection to reconcile and redeem the world. At the top of the
Triangle the Flames and the Dove represent the Holy Spirit.
THE CENTRAL FIGURE:
In this banner is the symbol for the
Creator - God. God's hands that hold the world are both male and
First Presbyterian Church - Oak Ridge
on the banner are the colors of the old UPC,
is central, because it is central to the church.
The center blue river
is the presence of the water of life,
which flows from the Holy spirit.
The scales of justice
signify that social justice has always
been an important witness of this church to the world.
in the upper left represents the Holy Spirit. Its
position implies that justice flows from the Holy Spirit by the river
in the upper right is, of course, the Bible, but it is
also a book because this is a congregetion which values education.
The symbol in the lower left
is that of Oak Ridge, there to
symbolize our presence in our community. (The atomic acorn seems to
have been phased out as the symbol of Oak Ridge.)
Text received from Dale Hadden October 28th 2003