The rich history and natural beauty of the coastal south combine with symbols of the Gospel in our diocesan seal. The shield has a background of seven wavy bars alternating gold and blue (for the water, sand, and sun of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico). An anchor (red for summer's heat) is a nautical symbol of steadfast hope. Atop of the shield, a descending dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, is flanked by St. Andrew's crosses (found on the flags of Alabama and Florida). A bishop's mitre is above the shield. The name of the diocese lettered within an elliptical band completes the seal.
In heraldic terms, the seal is "Barrywavy of seven, or and azure, an anchor in pale gules; on a chief of the third, a dove descending proper between two saltires couped of the first."
At the request of Bishop George Murray, the seal was designed by Professor James Waring McCrady of the University of the South, Sewanee, and adopted by the Standing Committee in late 1971.
When Bishop George M. Murray addressed the 1968 convention of the Diocese of Alabama, he described his vision of a new diocese which might be formed from counties in south Alabama and northwest Florida. He made his address immediately following Bishop C. C. J. Carpenter's announcement of his plan to resign at year's end after a thirty-year episcopacy. After his 15 years of assisting Bishop Carpenter in serving the more than 100 congregations in Alabama, Bishop Murray spoke of new possibilities. One of them was a new diocese.
His vision was as exciting as it was historic. Since 1830, the Diocese of Alabama had covered the state. The Diocese of Florida, formed eight years later, also covered the state (including congregations in Cuba for a few years) until 1888 when a new jurisdiction of South Florida was created. From time to time, dividing the Diocese of Alabama had been considered, but never decisively.
Throughout 1968 and 1969, Bishop Murray and Bishop Hamilton West of Florida worked with clergy and lay leaders in both areas. In early 1970, the conventions of both dioceses agreed to the new diocese. General Convention approved in the summer of the same year. Bishop West, senior of the two bishops, chose to remain where he was. Bishop Murray then chose to lead the new diocese.
The Primary Convention of the new diocese met December 3-5, 1970, in Christ Church, Pensacola. Bishop West preached from Exodus 14:15: "The Lord said to Moses, 'Tell the people of Israel to go forward.' "At his invitation, Bishop Murray presided over the sessions that organized the diocese. Before adopting canons, the convention adopted a motion "that the new diocese should be structured so as to allow freedom to explore new ideas and to not be hampered by traditional concepts of either of the existing dioceses." With this as the standard, canons were adopted for a relatively simple structure open to possibilities for creative mission and ministry. The convention named this new beginning the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.