Whether or not you’re already a member of a United Methodist church, you’ve surely noticed the “Cross and Flame” insignia used on United Methodist buildings, websites, social media, etc. Have you ever wondered what it means? Hopefully you didn’t think that it represents a “burning cross,” because we’d like to be very clear that it DOES NOT stand for that! We hope you find the information below (from the Council on General Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church) helpful and look forward to seeing you at our services and other activities soon!
HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE
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 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.