In the Beginning Were the Logos

In the Beginning Were the Logos

Continuing our goal of presenting 125 pictures to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Centre for Christian Studies, here is a look back at some of the logos that have represented the school over the years.  (Thank you to Sharilynn Upsdell and her masters thesis “Evolving Symbols, Evolving Ministry: An Exploration of Diaconal Symbols in the United Church of Canada” for some of the background on these images.)

The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 (a union of  Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist churches).  At the time of union the Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training Home and the Methodist Training School came under the ownership of the United Church, and the new United Church Training School was formed.  In that era, monograms were popular, and the UCTS logo, seen on this pin, had what Sharilynn Upsdell describes as “a classic look, chosen to represent the refining of women for their formal work in the church.” (100)

As early as 1948, students were feeling that “training school” felt too much like a reformatory, and the push was on to come up with a new name.  In 1962 the school became Covenant College.

The Covenant College logo is reminiscent of a Rubin’s Vase – it could be a cup or it could be two bells.  Students from that time suggested that it represented “the communion cup of the Covenant and bells ringing out the Covenant loud and clear through the education of women and men who became educators in the wider world.” (102)  (Others thought it was a rather unhelpful abstract symbol that was not easily defined…. You can’t please everyone, right?)

In 1969 Covenant College merged with the Anglican Women’s Training College to become The Centre for Christian Studies.  The stylized tree logo of the 1970s emphasized the Centre as “a place to grow.”

Through the 1980s and 1990s the logo for the Centre for Christian Studies was a cross and circle.  Sharilynn Upsdell wonders if the background texture was a fingerprint, representing those who take a hands-on role in creating justice in the world.  (I wonder if it’s a solid fill that’s just gone through the Gestetner machine a few too many times.  But that’s just me.)

Beginning in the 90s, the Centre adopted the tagline “Living a theology of justice,” and its logo was a gathering of what is sometimes called “the happy dancing people.”  (It may not be clear because of the placement of the banner, but the figure behind the “of” is in a wheelchair, representing the diversity of abilities.)

By 2012 the dancing people had begun to take a smaller role in CCS’s promotion, as the tagline “Reflect. Act. Be transformed.” took more prominence.  (The tagline is not a logo per se, but the consistency of its font, colours, and layout hopefully provide some of the same recognition factor.)

Reflect. Act. Be Transformed.Throughout the various symbols and images that has been used to represent the Centre, those who love the school have always been able to find elements of connection, familiarity, and challenge.

Comments: 1

  1. Caryn Douglas says:

    The wheel chair in the “dancing people” logo was added in 2000 when Jordan Cantwell was on staff. She adapted the original art done by Ann Turner.

    I always thought that the Covenant logo looked like a mirrored profile of Mary Tyler Moore.

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