Cathedral of the Incarnation celebrates treasures old and new as the 27th Presiding Bishop and 13th Dean begin their ministries!
One of the many treasures held by the Cathedral of the Incarnation is the original flag of The Episcopal Church adopted by The General Convention on October 16th, 1940. The flag was designed by William M. Baldwin, a lay person from the Diocese of Long Island. Mr. Baldwin spent years studying heraldry and working out the symbolism for the new flag.
The significance of the design and colors were described in 1940 as follows,
“The cross, of course, is the earliest Christian symbol, and stands for the Christian faith, or the Church in its widest sense. The red color of the cross suggest the blood of the martyrs and the white background symbolizes the purity which is the Christian ideal. The light blue in the canton is the color of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and represents the human nature of our Lord. The Jerusalem cross traces the ancestry of the Anglican communion to the church in Jerusalem. The number nine indicates the nine dioceses which comprised the American Church at the formative General Conventions: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. The arrangement of these crosses in the form of a diagonal or St. Andrew’s cross, suggest the Scottish origin of the American episcopate in the person of Bishop Samuel Seabury.”1
The flag fashioned for the 1940 convention by Mr. Baldwin himself was on display in the Cathedral during all liturgies on All Saints Day in honor of the historic seating of The Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry as Presiding Bishop of the arrival of a new Dean of the Cathedral on the same day. Dean Sniffen preached a sermon inspired by the flag which can be read here.
1. “The New Flag of the Church,” The Church Militant - The Helping Hand, 1940-41.