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United Free Church of Scotland

Last modified: 2013-11-16 by rob raeside
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The United Free Church of Scotland is the result of a merger between various splinter groups and breakaway factions of the Church of Scotland. Its web site is The heraldry of this denomination is quite complex, although I am awaiting a reply from the General Secretary regarding a possible church flag. The logo consists of two extremely colored circular seals, adjoining and actually touching each other. They are linked additionally by what appears to be some sort of shell-like structure at the top and a B&W ribbon with the date '1900' at the bottom. The space between the shell-like structure and the adjoining circles is vaguely triangular in shape.

Each seal is luridly colored and fimbriated black. At the top of the left-hand seal is a B&W label with the date '1733', and over the right-hand seal is a similar label containing the date '1843'. The left-hand seal has a pale blue background color representing the sky, which comprises about 2/3 of the total image. The remaining third is dark blue and presumably represents the sea. In the center of the image is a white dove volant sinister, with black highlights and clutching an olive twig proper in its beak. The right-hand seal depicts the Biblical Burning Bush in the foreground, in dull green and with a dark brown trunk resting on a similarly colored base, also marked with black highlights. In the center of the Bush are the words 'I Am the Lord Thy God' in vermillion, while the Bush itself is surrounded on three sides by stylized red flames on a sky blue field.
Ron Lahav, 31 January 2005

The dove was the seal of the Seceders, one of the two bodies that merged into the UFC. The burning bush is the principal symbol of Scottish Presbyterianism generally. It appears before the St. Andrew's cross on the seal of the established Church of Scotland. Without the St. Andrew's cross, it is the emblem of the Free Church of Scotland. The majority of the FCS merged with the Seceder United Presbyterian Church in 1900 to form the United Free Church. The remnant, which retains the name Free Church of Scotland, and is known as the "Wee Frees," still uses the plain burning bush, while the UFC of S combines it with the Seceders' dove.

Basically the Seceders, who split from the mainstream Church of Scotland in dissent from the main body's established status as the state church in 1733, and the Free Church, which split from the Church of Scotland over the issue of clerical patronage.

The dove was the emblem of the Seceder body, the United Presbyterian Church. The burning bush is the principal emblem of Scottish Presbyterianism in general and appears on the seal and arms of the established Church of Scotland as well, placed in front of the St. Andrew's cross from the Scottish national flag. The Free Church of Scotland used (and its surviving remnant uses) the plain burning bush. The United Free Church emblem unites the seals of the two bodies that merged in 1900.
Joe McMillan, 31 January 2005