Following the Uniting General Conference which brought together the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Church in 1946, Ralph M. Holdeman was asked by Bishop George Edward Epp, the Secretary of the Board of Bishops, to develop a crest for them.
The chi rho made in the shape of a cross is one of the most ancient symbols found in the catacombs. The alpha and omega is then suspended from the crossarm. The staff not only points to the bishop as the chief shepherd of God's flock but also emphasizes the loving care that should motivate all administrative decisions. The staff is a baroque design because in the Baroque Period the Church expanded with missional/evangelistic zeal, often exhibited and led by the bishop. Frequently a bishop would go into the fields to preach, carrying a pointed staff to stab the ground as the Gospel of love and concern, of salvation and resurrection, was proclaimed. The bishop of today must serve Christ and the Church in a modern world setting and so modern lines are utilized in make the shield of the crest.
From Ralph M. Holdeman, Sculptor
October 23, 1972, Elkhart, Indiana