DOGWOOD Dogwood blossoms have four petal-like bracts making the shape of a cross, the center of the flower resembles a crown of thorns, and the spots on each tip represent Christ's bloodstains. Legend tells us the dogwood tree used to be large and mighty like the oak so it was used as the wood for the cross. Since that time, the dogwood has never grown large enough to be used for that purpose again. The dogwood flower expresses new life, hope, and the resurrection.
CHRIST THE TRUE VINE The grapevine border represents Christ who tells us in John 15, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser...I am the vine, you are the branches." In referring to Himself as the stem that sustains the branches, and his Father as the vinedresser, He was using a metaphor that was well understood, since grape growing was widely practiced in the Holy Land. He describes how the vinedresser prunes so that it will bear more fruit and how a branch thrives in its connection with the stem and root system.
QUATREFOIL The Quatrefoil is a suggestive cross form. In historic Christianity, the four lobes of the quatrefoil represent the four gospel evangelists and the four compass directions, serving as a symbol of the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Four equal foils represent equal proportion, balance, harmony, and wholeness. It doesn't protrude or intrude. It fills and includes. Having no sharp external edges, it can remind us that somehow, our faith walk and that of others must co-exist compatibly, to proclaim the truths of our own tradition without hard edges or harsh boundaries.
This cross design holds much significance for us in the Diocese of Texas since the dogwood is a native tree that grows and blooms profusely in East Texas and at our beloved Camp Allen. The dogwood symbol was used on the pectoral crosses of Bishop Doyle and Bishop High and the quatrefoil shape mirrors the shape of Bishop Harrison's pectoral cross. Bishop Doyle's wife, JoAnne wears this quatrefoil design with the dogwood.