You may see United Methodist missionaries wearing a cross with what looks like a boat anchor at the bottom. The anchor cross symbolizes the need for the missionary to be anchored in Christ and in the community they serve, and their call to ministry with all people, wherever there is need. When missionaries are commissioned for service, an anchor cross is placed around their necks.
In this video edition of Ask The UMC, United Methodist Communications' Vicki Wallace talks more about the history of this Christian symbol.
"Hi, I'm Vicki Wallace. This week, Ask The Umc answers , 'Why do missionaries wear an anchor cross?' The United Methodist Chuch has a long tradition of sending people into mission service. Our call is to go forth into the world to share God's grace with all people. And when missionaries are commissioned for service, an anchor cross like this one is placed around their necks. The anchor cross is one of the oldest Christian symbols, found on tombs in the ancient Roman catacombs, on gravestones and in Christian art. It expresses faith and hope in Christ.
Hebrews 6:19 says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (NIV)
The reason the cross is presented to missionaries is that Christian mission can be a perilous journey and its challenges are no less today than at any other time. Together, the anchor and the cross is a reminder to be anchored in faith, hope and love while engaging in God's mission.
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This video was produced by United Methodist Communications. First published on July 17, 2019.