Church arms

Heraldry in the United States
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Robyn Heisel
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Location: Modesto, CA, USA

Church arms

Postby Robyn Heisel » 31 Mar 2014, 06:23

Quickly, by way of introduction: I was somewhat active in the forums a while ago, and then life got in the way. I hope I will be back for a while, if not for good.

I'm a member of a church in my town, and one day (while paying rapt attention to the sermons, I swear) started doodling ideas for arms for the church. I believe I've come up with a design that works and that my pastor likes, and now I'd like to get input from the board before I tell him to use the arms as he wishes.

The blazon, I believe, would be: Argent, a hill vert surmounted by a Latin cross sable within a bordure sanguine.

Image

I'm rather attached to the concept and the colors, as I pulled them from the church logo, but I'm open to any suggestions, especially as the design seems so simple that someone must be using it.
Robyn Heisel

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Chris Green
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Re: Church arms

Postby Chris Green » 31 Mar 2014, 07:22

Welcome Robyn!

Firstly - simple is good. So many first attempts involve filling the shield with as many charges as one can squeeze in. You have restricted yourself to four tinctures and three elements - cross, hill (or mount) and bordure, which makes for classic heraldry.

However, as you say, it is possible that such a simple design is already in use - though I doubt with exactly the same tinctures. To make yours more distinctive you might go back to your church's logo, the designer of which created a very unusual cross, which I think uses three nails. The symbolism is great and the cross is clearly most unusual, though perhaps not unique (if one of our members has ever seen a nail cross elsewhere please pipe up!). If you used sanguine (more symbolism there) for the nail cross as in the logo there would be no contrast with the bordure, so your original thought of sable (stark against the sky) is probably best. The simple bordure is fine. But you might like to experiment with the various "fancy" lines that exist in abundance - indented or radiant/rayonny spring to mind.

As you are based in California, there is nothing to stop your church assuming the arms once a design is agreed. You should however at least consider registering the arms with one of the organisations listed here:

http://www.americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=Registration.Domestic
Chris Green
IAAH President

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Ton de Witte
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Re: Church arms

Postby Ton de Witte » 31 Mar 2014, 08:17

I have seen this configuration before and it was called a cavalary cross. Now I do not know in which languages I have seen this blazoned, certainly Dutch but I am not sure of English or other languages so some research is needed.
Ton de Witte
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Chris Green
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Re: Church arms

Postby Chris Green » 31 Mar 2014, 08:33

According to Boutell the Calvary cross is a Latin cross set on steps, degrees or grices, the number of which must be stated in the blazon.
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Ton de Witte
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Re: Church arms

Postby Ton de Witte » 31 Mar 2014, 13:04

yes correct I now remember that there were steps involved
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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: Church arms

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 01 Apr 2014, 01:18

I am sure there is another cross on a hill coat of arms, but with a sanguine or gules bordure? I don't know. If you want to be extra sure, you could give the bordure a line of partition. Also, I noticed on the website the phrase "gospel centred" perhaps an open bible could be added. I do like how it is though.

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JMcMillan
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Re: Church arms

Postby JMcMillan » 01 Apr 2014, 04:53

I think Chris is onto something with the idea of using the cross made of nails like the one on the logo.

The bordure unnecessarily (in my opinion) forces the charges to be smaller than necessary. It's better to design arms that don't require an artificial difference to be distinctive, I think.

How about "Sable upon a mount Argent charged with five gouttes Gules a cross composed of three passion nails, one palewise, the point embedded in the mount, the other two fesswise points conjoined all Or"?

The five blood drops would allude to Christ's five wounds. The black field suggests the darkness covering the earth at His death (Matt 27:45), while making the cross gold foreshadows the glorious resurrection.
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA

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Robyn Heisel
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Location: Modesto, CA, USA

Re: Church arms

Postby Robyn Heisel » 01 Apr 2014, 07:45

Thank you all for the suggestions. I was discussing the arms with my sister, who is the designer of the church's logo (it's a very small church), and we both like the idea of the cross composed of passion nails. I haven't had a chance to create a mockup yet, but what about putting a passion-nail cross sanguine between two Latin crosses sable? It's probably a lot more unique and would also echo the church's logo more closely than it does now. (Can the hill be sable, too, or does it need to be a different color?)

We both like the bordure, too, but there's the possibility that with three crosses on the hill, things would become a little squished.
Robyn Heisel

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Chris Green
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Re: Church arms

Postby Chris Green » 01 Apr 2014, 08:43

You could have a sable hill, but: "There is a green hill far away without a city wall ....".

Three crosses would certainly cramp the design if you retained the bordure, perhaps even without it. Of course you don't have to make the bordure quite so broad, nor the hill quite so steep. That would give you more room in the middle. I would advise against making the nail-cross too small (certainly bigger than the Latin cross you have now) as it needs to be clear what the cross is, too small and it could be mistaken for a Latin Cross pommé ("with knobs on").
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JMcMillan
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Re: Church arms

Postby JMcMillan » 01 Apr 2014, 14:24

Here's a quick rough-up of what I had in mind:

Image

With the two flanking crosses and the hill green (although I suspect that "There Is a Green Hill Far Away" is not the first hymn that members of Passion Hill would think of in this connection):

Image

And without the blood drops.

Image
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA


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