Have you seen the new banner at Sicamous United Church? Where’s that? It’s that blue building attached to the Thrift Shop – yup, it’s a church.
The banner, as well as saying Sicamous United Church welcomes you, shows the new crest for the United Church of Canada (UCC). When the UCC was born 90 years ago, the forming churches brought their symbols into the crest. The open Bible came from the Congregational churches with their emphasis on God’s truth that makes people free. The dove represents the transforming power of the Holy Spirit – a symbol from the Methodist churches. The Presbyterians chose the burning bush, from the Exodus story of Moses encountering God. It signifies the indestructibility of the gospel.
The oval shape of the crest echoes the outline of a fish – an ancient Christian symbol, while the X in the centre represents Christ. The alpha and omega in the lower quarter are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, representing the eternal living God (Revelation 1:8)
In 2012 the crest was updated to incorporate the four colours of the Aboriginal Medicine wheel, reflecting respect for diversity and interdependence.
The perimeter ribbon contains four languages – The name of the church in English and French, ut omnes unum sint – Latin for “That all may be one” part of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in John17:21; and a phrase from Canada’s many Indigenous languages, “All my Relations” In Mohawk it reads Akwe Nia’Tetewa’:neren. Mohawk was chosen because it was the first documented ministry between Aboriginal peoples and one of the founding denominations – Methodist missionaries.
Well, that’s the history lesson, but the real ministry happens with community connections through the Thrift Shop, thanks to our amazing volunteers and hardworking staff. It goes on Sunday by Sunday, as we open our hearts and minds to God – learning, praying and singing together, and it goes on as we give back to the community through grad scholarships, camp registrations, assistance to the Resource Centre and many other forms of care for neighbours near and far. You really are welcome at Sicamous United Church.
Blessings, Rev. Juanita Austin