Alone, the cross is a widely recognized, eye-catching symbol of the Christian faith. Set within the context of the world, the cross points to Jesus, who calls upon the Church to go into all the world to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). For this task, the Church is assured of the power and ongoing presence of the crucified and risen Christ.

Within the emblem, the cross is seen in relation to an orb, symbolizing the world. The cross in the context of the globe reflects both the glad news of Christ’s incarnation and the continuing manifestation of the Church as the body of Christ in the world.

The visual motion within the cross and the surrounding orb reminds us of the spreading Light of the Gospel of Christ. Within the spheres of the orb can be seen smaller crosses (a design sometimes known as the “Jerusalem Cross”), a traditional symbol for the commission to spread the Gospel to the whole world.

The proclamation of the Word shapes our whole life as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in all of its expressions. Indeed, all members are summoned to move toward the cross in repentance and from the cross in witness and service.

The cross also provides a reminder of rebirth in Baptism (“…marked with the cross of Christ forever”) and the meal of forgiveness that Christ gives to the Church (“…given for you; …shed for you”).


This emblem reflects visually the conviction that “the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran confessional writings,…[is] the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God’s mission in the world” (ELCA churchwide constitutional provision 2.07.).

The emblem further emerges from this church’s acknowledgment:

a. That the Word of God is “the authoritative source and norm of…[our] proclamation, faith, and life” (churchwide constitutional provision 2.03.); and

b. That the Word of God is understood and read from the perspective of the cross of Christ, reflecting our Lord’s life, suffering, death, and resurrection for the sake of God’s people (churchwide constitutional provision 2.02.a.).

As expressed in the ecumenical creeds, which are embraced “as true declarations of the faith of this church” (churchwide constitutional provision 2.04.), this church confesses God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth…

Within the visual “movement” of the emblem seen in the four quadrants that surround the cross, the creation of the world is reflected.

“In the beginning…[out of formless void and darkness] God created the heavens and the earth….
Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:1 and 3).

The visual “movement” of the emblem focuses on the cross, underscoring the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of sinners.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ…, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made…. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven…. For our sake he was crucified…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).

This church declares that the “canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments…record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them, God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world” (churchwide constitutional provision 2.02.c.).

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life…
who] has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one
holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge
one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into the one body…”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

(Nicene Creed).


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