The Episcopal Shield
This shield was adopted in 1940 as the symbol for the American Episcopal Church. The shield brings together some of the American Episcopal Church's history, offering a brief history lesson through its design.
The Episcopal Church was founded in 1789 as a separate group from its parent Church of England, from which the churches in the colonies found themselves divided by the American Revolution. The red white and blue colors are the colors of the American flag. Many of the founders of this nation, including George Washington, were Episcopalians.
The white field with a red cross is St. George's Cross, the patron saint of the Church of England (and incidentally the colony of Georgia). This remembers the Episcopal Churches roots in the Church of England.
There are nine miniature crosses on the field of blue symbolizing the nine dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to ratify the initial constitution of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The crosslets are formed after the St. Andrews Cross. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. This remembers the Scottish Episcopal Churches part in our history as it was their bishops who ordained Samuel Seabury as the first American Bishop in 1784.
The Episcopal Church today remains a part of the Anglican Communion, the name for all those churches around the world which trace their origin to the church of England. As such, St. Luke's is part of a worldwide denomination with more than 72 million members.