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Evolving Symbols - Evolving Ministry: An Exploration of Diaconal Symbols in The United Church of Canada Open Access


Other title
diaconal symbols
United Church of Canada
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Sharilynn Gail Upsdell
Supervisor and department
Dr. Caryn Douglas
Examining committee member and department
Revd Dr. Danielle Ayana James
Dr. Ted Dodd
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Theological Studies in Diaconal Ministry
Degree level
This thesis is an exploration of how uniforms, pins and other symbols of diaconal ministry evolved, and how their evolution continues to impact the understanding of diaconal ministry in The United Church of Canada. Theological lenses of incarnational creativity, identity, and faithful response, shape reflection in a two-part process using a mixed methodology of historic and narrative research and writing. First, a narrative history of Deaconess uniforms and the introduction of badges and pins, from early times, through remission, resurgence in Europe, into Great Britain, the United States, and Canada, reveals the connective heritage for uniforms and pins of the Methodist, Presbyterian, and after 1925, United Church Deaconesses. The evolution of United Church uniforms, pins, and other symbols sets the historic context for the second section, the narration of the development of a new pin and coloured logo for Diakonia of the United Church of Canada in 2011. The new pin process and design reveal vital themes of diaconal identity: connection to the United Church, dynamic life-giving theology, action/reflection analysis, creative ministry on the margins, and, accountability to the diaconal community which embodies justice.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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