Church Seals were in use among the Mennonite congregations in Prussia, Poland, and Russia, from where this practice was transplanted to America. The best sources for the study of church seals are the church letters brought along by Mennonite immigrants of 1874. Some congregations, such as the Bethel Mennonite Church and Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, Inman, Kansas, and the Brudertal Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, Kansas, have preserved the church letters of the charter members brought along from various congregations in Russia, Poland, and Prussia, all of which are signed by the elders who affixed the seals of the congregation to them. The seal, usually round or oval, had the name of the congregation around a symbol or picture in the center. Two commonly used themes in the picture were John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the Jordan (Margenau, Pordenau, Lichtenau, Petershagen, Berdyansk, etc.), and the open Bible (Rudnerweide, Obernessau, Gnadenfeld, Karassan, Alexanderwohl, etc.). Sometimes the cross, the cup, an anchor, or other symbols were added to the Bible. Some congregations used a wax seal.
Most of the Mennonite congregations of the prairie states and provinces of direct European origin, as well as those of Mexico and Paraguay, still have a church seal which is used to impress the official documents of the church. The seal usually bears the name of the church and possibly a Scripture passage and is used on baptismal certificates, church letters, and other statements or correspondence.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 602. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Krahn, Cornelius. "Church Seals." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 19 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C4944.html.
APA style: Krahn, Cornelius. (1953). Church Seals. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C4944.html.