Lake Junaluska — Celebrating 100 years

The history of Cross and Flame logo recounted

By Marie Metcalf | Jun 29, 2013

The Cross and Flame, the official symbol of The United Methodist Church, was created in 1968 and registered as a trademark in 1971.  Many of the boards and agencies meeting at Lake Junaluska Assembly in the 1980s used this logo to connect their programs to The United Methodist Church.  Wherever the logo was used, it was memorable though simple and very versatile.

Dr. G. Ross Freeman, Director of The United Methodist Church’s Southeastern Jurisdiction Council on Ministries headquartered in Atlanta, spent summers at the Assembly to oversee the church-sponsored programs.  As the first public relations staff person employed by the Assembly in 1980, I worked with Dr. Freeman promoting programs held at Junaluska throughout the Southeastern Jurisdiction.  He considered the Cross and Flame logo very effective as it was immediately recognizable and inspired trust, admiration, loyalty and quality.

A program booklet mailed from Lake Junaluska to all churches in the nine-state jurisdiction promoted the full year of programs at the Assembly.  Dr. Freeman decided the booklet, to him second only to the Bible as a program tool, needed to be easily recognizable as information from the Assembly.  He felt  Junaluska needed a logo comparable to the Cross and Flame and invited printing company designers from Atlanta and Charlotte to create one for consideration by Assembly staff.

Though not an artist, I found myself scribbling and sketching on scraps of paper, trying to capture the feeling of Lake Junaluska Assembly.  I’m sure I filled several waste baskets with my failures.  Two staff persons, Lawrence Braxton, Director of Finance, and James Hart, Director of Services, acted as my sounding board.  They offered many suggestions, some of which I procured, and encouraged me to keep trying.

The artists and the Junaluska staff gathered for the unveiling of the designs.  Dr. Freeman’s inquiry to each of us as to which design we liked and why was met with modest enthusiasm.  I can still hear him saying, “ReRe, which one do you like?”  I responded honestly that I didn’t like any of them because they looked like forest service shields or something, not like Lake Junaluska.  The designer from Charlotte, an old friend, quipped, “Do you think you can do better?”

Trying to picture sketches in my head, I went to the chalk board showing more confidence than I felt, drew a circle, added the cross coming out of the circle, squiggled in mountains and the lake.  Dr. Freeman, famous for “Freemanizing” things, used deep theology to describe the significance of the circle, cross, water, and mountains.  I was more astounded than anyone at his words as I had been concerned only with making it look like Lake Junaluska!  

Dr. Freeman asked the Charlotte artist, “Can you clean up her doodling?  If you can, this is our Lake Junaluska logo.”   The only changes made to the Lake Junaluska Assembly logo over the years have been to make the lines more clean cut and adaptable for different mediums—wood, metal, pottery, etc.; the integrity of the symbolism has been maintained.  

Dr. Freeman saw Lake Junaluska Assembly as “a place where spirits are reborn and lives find new direction.”    During the ten years I worked at Junaluska, the staff was one big family—a part of the ministry to visitors, always caring for each other.  For many of us it was a life-changing place.

Now that Clifton and I have retired to Lake Junaluska we are involved in the community in a very different way, as volunteers.  Every time I see the logo—whether on a pamphlet, a roadside sign, or a car tag—I am reminded that we are again a part Lake Junaluska Assembly—“a place where spirits are reborn and lives find new direction.”

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