Bishop Ralph Spence of Niagara designed the original concept for a Coat of Arms for St. George’s Anglican Church in Georgetown. Now on display at St. George’s, the framed original was commemorated at a special service this past Sunday, April 24, 2005 in the Victorian era church. The request for a parish Coat of Arms was initiated during the 150th celebrations at the historic Georgetown church, which Bishop Spence designed in consultation with the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
“Bishop Ralph is Canada’s leading vexillologist — an expert on flags”, said Reverend Rob Park, rector of St. George’s, “so it is only natural that we asked him to design a Coat of Arms to represent our parish.” Bishop Ralph has designed numerous flags and coat of arms including the City of Hamilton and the City of Burlington as well as the insignia for the Halton Regional Police Service.
“It is very momentous for our parish to receive our own Coat of Arms,” continued Reverend Park, “We have stewardship over a church built by Georgetown’s earliest settlers in 1852, we want to uphold the tradition they established.” Each symbol has a meaning significant to the history of St. George’s. The red cross on white is the symbol of St. George. It has been made unique to the parish by the addition of the blue background and the white trillium flowers. The use of the blue makes an illusion to the Royal Union Flag and thus to the pre-Confederation origins of the parish. Long considered an Ontario symbol, the trillium appears in the arms of the Diocese of Niagara and it can also serve as a Trinitarian symbol.
The parish motto is taken from Peter 3:18 – GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST. The armorial bearings were officially granted on the 15th of October, 2004 but the original artwork painted by David Farrar with calligraphy by Doris Wionzek was presented this past Sunday at a special commemoration service at St. George’s on Guelph Street.
“A medieval interpretation of the colors in St. George’s Coat of Arms speaks to the characteristics that our parish wants to be known by: Red signifies bravery, strength and a just and generous nature; Blue signifies truth and loyalty. For our parish, these are all qualities and virtues implicit in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ,” concluded Reverend Park.
The parish, along with other Anglican churches in the Diocese of Niagara, will be holding services on Pentecost Sunday, May 15th with a special emphasis on hospitality, to which parishioners have been asked to invite close friends and neighbours. “Throughout His ministry, Jesus was forever inviting people into new relationships and offering people hospitality – ‘come and see’, he says to us.” said Reverend Park. “If any one is interested, that would be a good day to come and see the Coat of Arms as well.”