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  • Writer's pictureDiocese of WNC

Introducing Our New Diocesan Seal

Dear friends in Christ,

Studying history has always fascinated me and been an essential part of my vocation. Ever since I became bishop, I have delved deeply into the history of our diocese. One of the things that I have been curious to learn is the story behind the creation of our diocesan seal.

Some of you may know that the quote from Isaiah 2:2 (the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all) that frames the left side of the shield came to Bishop Horner as he stood outside the front doors of St. Matthias in Asheville and looked at Mt. Pisgah in the distance. The other symbols in the old shield reflect the world view of early 20th century church leadership. The cross in the lower level reveals our connection to the wider church. Similarly, the hand holding the ornate gold cross above the image of Mt. Pisgah reflects the colonialism of the early European settlers into all regions of North Carolina.

As a diocese committed to the work of Building Beloved Community, especially racial reconciliation, equity, justice, and inclusion with people of color and our Indigenous brothers and sisters, the original shield seemed out of step with our current understanding and practices of mission and ministry.

In light of this, two years ago I initiated conversations with a small group of folks across the diocese to begin initial reflections in preparation for our Centennial year. During this time, I met with both clergy and laity to gather their wisdom and insights to some of our core values and mission as a diocese. What came out of these conversations, and others like it, is the idea of updating our diocesan shield, to make it more reflective of our current context and set the stage for the next 100 years. With the approval and endorsement of the Executive Council of the Diocese and the support of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, I am pleased to share with you our new diocesan shield. The new shield contains many of the same elements from the original shield, but with some refinements. The motto remains the same. The rendition of the mountains is variegated to reflect grandeur of Blue Ridge mountains. Likewise, the cross at the top is designed as a rustic wood cross that is more in keeping with the natural elements of our diocese. Finally, at the bottom, we added the dogwood flower, the state flower of North Carolina and superimposed the cross in the center, adding seeds to remind us of our mission to spread the Good News of God’s love for all people. For the past eight weeks, we have shared our new diocesan shield at our Centennial Deanery Dinners and have received tremendous support for this updated image. We also shared at these dinners a brief Centennial video that highlights who we are as a diocese, our history, and where we are moving to in the future. You can find this video linked at the bottom of this email. As we move towards the next 100 years as a diocese, may this updated seal signify our commitment to acknowledging and celebrating all of those who comprise our diocese. Our story is still being written, but may this seal represent who we are, where we've been, and where we're going.


The Rt. Rev. José A. McLoughlin


Going forward, please use our updated seal on your websites and when referencing the diocese. To download a PNG of the updated seal, please click here. If you need the seal in additional formats, please contact our office at


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