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Beth-El Temple
College of Theology


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Legend of the Seal of the Bishop
 of the
Beth-El Temple Church of Christ

Episcopus ministro mater matris ecclesia

According to the English tradition from which the name Pender originates, the ancient Coat of Arms for this name is blue with a silver chevron between three lions heads each with a crown. The lions have been chosen to depict the family motto: Ex fide fortis, when translated, means, Strong though faith.

It is the strong faith of Richard Jerome Pender, Sr., which has elevated him to the highest ministry office of the Christian Church, that of the bishop. Hence, the following is the legend for the Seal of the Bishop of the Beth-El Temple Church of Christ.

The Shield symbolizes the bearer is a defender. The bearer's identify is realized by the elements of the shield. These elements make up what is known as the Coat-of-Arms. A silver chevron separates the shield into primary and secondary portions. The higher portion shows, a ram’s horn, representing the anointing through which this servant is empowered to do the work of the Lord. The Oil poured upon the Rock is the symbol of the Beth-El Churches and remains apart of the bishop’s seal as pastor of the founding church. The Oil and the Rock were made official symbols of Beth-El by the late Apostle Robert Evans, Jr., preceding pastor of the founding church. The lower portion, with the chevron shows a lion, which reflects the Pender name. The color blue in the traditional family coat-of-arms has been replaced with the color purple, the color of the bishop in the primary portion denoting the vocation to which he now gives his life.

Atop the coat-of-arms are the symbols of the bishop’s office, namely, the mitre, which is the crown of the bishop, symbolizing the prelate as a Prince of the Lord’s Church. The Crosier (or Shepherd Staff) that symbolizes the bishop as a shepherd and pastor of pastors; and, finally the Key, which is a symbol of the bishop’s spiritual authority.

The motto of the Seal of the Bishop is Episcopus ministro mater matris ecclesia. When translated, means, Bishop to serve the mother church. Hence, this man, who is strong though faith and, who has been faithful in service to this house called Beth-El, is, now consecrated Bishop To Serve The Mother Church. Today, the day when his bishopric is affirmed, his episcopal seal becomes official. Those privileged to bear it must do so proudly, knowing they are blessed to serve the one who serves THE MOTHER CHURCH.

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