The oval shape of the United Church of Canada crest is derived from the upended outline of a fish, a symbol of identity for early Christians. The “X” at the centre, the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, is a traditional symbol for Christ.
The crest is designed in the form of a St. Andrew’s Cross with an insignia in each of the four corners. In three corners of the crest are symbols representing the faith communions that united to form the United Church in 1925.
The open Bible represents Congregationalists, the dove Methodists and the burning bush Presbyterians. They are a reminder of biblical roots, belief in the Holy Spirit and the enduring nature of the church. The other symbol, the alpha and omega, represents God as the beginning and end of all things.
The crest is the official signature of The United Church, placed on legal documents, ordination and commissioning certificates, and licences to perform the sacraments. Designed by the Rev. Dr. Victor T. Mooney (a treasurer of the United Church), it was officially adopted in 1944 by the 11th General Council.
Four languages are on the crest: English, French, Latin and Mohawk.
The Latin words “ut omnes unum sint” that surround the symbols on the crest mean “That all may be one” and are taken from John 17:21. These words are a reminder of “united” and “uniting” nature of the United Church. In 1980, a French translation of The United Church of Canada—L’Église Unie du Canada—was authorized by General Council to be added to the crest.
In 2012, the church’s 41st General Council approved changes to the colour and wording on the crest to acknowledge the church was founded and continues to exist on the land of indigenous peoples. The new crest includes the four colours of the indigenous medicine wheel: yellow, black, red and white.
The Mohawk phrase “Akwe Nia’Tetewá:neren”, meaning “All my relations”, was also added to the Latin words “ut omnes unum sint” (“That all may be one.” John 17:21) that were already on the crest. Canada’s Aboriginal peoples’ understanding of the phrase “All my relations” encompasses Christ’s vision of the inclusion of all in God’s kingdom.