St. Mary's Pastoral Charge is a member of the Pictou Presbytery of Maritime Conference and is part of The United Church of Canada, which is Canada's largest Protestant denomination. In the United Church, we follow the Reformation principle of "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." St. Mary's Pastoral Charge generally celebrates a more historic faith, but you will find each United Church congregation has their own unique character. We are truly blessed to be part of such a rich and diverse denomination!
The crest is designed in the form of a St. Andrew's Cross with an insignia in each of the four corners. The "X" at the centre, the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, is a traditional symbol for Christ. In the four corners of the crest are symbols, three of which are particularly associated with the three communions—Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian—that united to form The United Church of Canada in 1925.
The open Bible represents the Congregational Churches with their emphasis upon God's truth that makes people free. From this communion we have a heritage of liberty in prophesying, love of spiritual freedom, awareness of the creative power of the Holy Spirit, and clear witness for civic justice.
The dove is emblematic of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10) whose transforming power has been a distinctive mark of Methodism. Here our heritage is one of evangelical zeal, concern for human redemption, warmth of Christian fellowship, the testimony of spiritual experience, and the ministry of sacred song.
The burning bush is the symbol of Presbyterianism. It refers to the bush that burned and was not consumed (Exodus 3:2), and symbolizes the indestructibility of the church. From Presbyterianism we have received a heritage of high regard for the dignity in worship, the education of all people, the authority of scripture, and the church as the Body of Christ.
The symbols alpha and omega in the lower quarter are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They symbolize the eternal living God, in the fullness of creation (Revelation 1:8).
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. They are a reminder that we are both a "united" and "uniting" 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, General Council acknowledged the presence and spirituality of Aboriginal peoples in the United Church by revising the church’s crest. The crest changes include incorporating the four colours of the Aboriginal medicine wheel (yellow as a symbol of life and Asian people, black as a symbol of the south and dark-skinned people of the world, red as a symbol of the west and Aboriginal peoples, and white as the colour of the north and white-skinned people) and adding the Mohawk phrase “Akwe Nia’Tetewá:neren,” which means “all my relations.”
A New Creed
We are not alone,
We live in God's world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God's presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
Information taken from the United Church website: www.unitedchurch.ca