Bishop Dena Harrison's Pectoral Cross designed and made for her consecration as Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in the Fall of 2006.
"In Newness of Life"
symbolism printed in her consecration service program:
The pectoral cross worn by a bishop signifies the centrality of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, events out of which all ministries flow. It is a constant reminder to the bishop and to the faithful of the redemptive gift of salvation through the Cross and is a symbol of our call to allow our own lives to be shaped into a cruciform identity.
Jewelry artist Nancy Denmark researched, designed, and made the pectoral cross. She is a member of Church of the Epiphany, Houston, the parish from which Bishop Harrison was originally sponsored for Holy Orders.
The Quatrefoil shape of the pectoral cross was chosen as a symbol for mission, a reference to the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). In historic Christianity, the four petals of the quatrefoil shape represent the four gospel evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They also represent the four compass directions, serving as a symbol of the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. The design contains four equal foils, representing equal proportion, balance, harmony, and wholeness and thus serving as a symbol of global communion and unity. Lacking sharp external edges, it reminds us of the call to welcome the entire world into the fellowship of the Cross.
The top lobe of the quatrefoil holds a Calla Lily. The flower’s shape resembles a candle or torch flame and also suggests a trumpet shape. Since the calla often blooms in the dark of winter, Christians have historically associated it with the promise of light and used it as a symbol of the Light of Christ. This light is conferred in the rebirth of baptism and heralds the rejoicing we will one day know at the return of Christ. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
The baptismal theme continues in the horizontal lobes depicting Living Water. In Holy Baptism, the water is a sign that God both washes away our sin and pours out divine love so that we are reborn into a new life of relationship through Christ. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow from the heart of those who believe in me.” (John 7:38) This depiction also suggests the wind and waves of a tumultuous sea, reminding us that in all difficulties God has the power to overcome our fear.
The Tongues of Flame in the bottom lobe recall the story of Acts 2, when Jesus' disciples were gathered together and experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit. There came a sound like the rush of a mighty wind, and tongues of flame appeared to touch each of them and fill them with the Holy Spirit. This event, which we call Pentecost, gives us flames as a symbol of the spiritual power given to us through the Holy Spirit.
A cord frames the quatrefoil, crossing the form and creating the "X" shaped Chi, a sacred monogram for Christ at the center of the design, symbolizing Christ at the center of our lives. The continual line created by the cord weaving under and over represents the interconnectedness and continuity of our lives, woven together in unity with Christ and one another and making up the one whole body of the Church.
The theme of movement and action carried throughout the design represents our Living Faith of past, present, and future. The Holy Spirit is ever living, moving, and breathing new life into each of our lives and into the Church.