Name Change

Past Name Change Updates

Name Change Introduction (July 26, 2020)

This church, this community of faith, this body of Christ has been responding from our very beginning to the Great Commandment—to love God, and to love our neighbors.

Yet it's become more clear in recent years — now more than ever in light of George Floyd's killing — that the name "Colonial" bears a legacy that's painful for neighbors we're seeking to know, love, and partner alongside.

When we originally chose this name, we were moved by the best parts of the first Pilgrims: a deep love for Jesus, unrelenting belief that God speaks through Scripture, and loving commitment to the good of our neighbors.

But now, we're acknowledging that the word "Colonial" doesn't mean to our neighbors what it did to our original community. Because the word also evokes the worst parts of our history as Americans, our history of colonialism, the domination, exploitation, and destruction primarily of Native American and African people and their cultures.

This isn't Jesus, who became human to reconcile us to God in one body, creating peace in response to hostility (Ephesians 2:14-16). This isn't what we're about as Jesus' followers, either.

As a result, the Church Council, in conversation with lay leadership, approved a motion in June to recommend changing our congregation's name.

Beginning on Sunday, July 26th, we'd like to start a conversation as a community about our name. In the coming days, we'll be doing the same thing we've always done for the last 75 years: sharing, listening, praying, and discerning the Spirit of God's next invitation to us.

We're praying that engaging in this process will help us embrace the best parts of our Congregational heritage while moving us closer to our Core Values, creating a community where we can welcome all our neighbors as God's beloved and courageously wrestling with tensions in God's world.
Update from the Moderators (July 31, 2020)

After introducing the process for considering changing our name, our Moderators gave an update to clarify a few things.

To read more about that update, click here.
Summer Courtyard Conversations (August - September)

This name change process takes lots of conversation, sharing our stories, and discerning where God’s Spirit is leading us next.⁠

That's why we made space for all those things in our first round of Courtyard Conversations. For more on what and why behind our summer Courtyard Conversations, click here.

As Jeff Lindsay candidated to become our Senior Minister last winter, one Scripture grounded his vision.

Behold, I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

Together, we considered this vision. We asked questions. We had conversations. We discerned what God’s Spirit was inviting us into next, like good Congregationalists do. And together, we said “Yes!” to the new thing that God was doing among us, unanimously voting our beloved brother and friend to lead us into the coming season of ministry.

We all know how much has happened in our world since then. Yet through it all, we’ve kept our eyes fixed on the new thing God is doing in our midst.
And we want to affirm that the invitation to consider changing our name is rooted in our initial discernment that changing our name is one part of saying “Yes!” to the new thing God is doing.
We sense that our neighbors on the other side of our bridge are central to the new thing God is doing. We also sense that changing our name is one choice that would signal to our neighbors across the bridge that we are listening to them, that we’re ready to learn, respond, and even change if it means we’ve loved our neighbors well.

Here's where we are in our journey considering changing our name, both where we've been and where we're going next.
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Phase One

Invitation to Conversation
This first part of our journey has been about starting a conversation. We know it is a new concept to some that changing our name is essential to building bridges to our neighbors. We knew we needed to lay some initial groundwork, which is why a position paper stood at the center of our communication, outlining the meanings our name carries for our neighbors and articulating why the biblical call to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God might compel us to consider the change.

This first phase assumes that Colonial is our name, that for many there is no apparent reason to change it, and that it’s therefore on us to comprehensively spell out why the congregation ought to pick up the invitation to consider changing it.

And from emails to in-person meetings, phone calls to Courtyard Conversations, you have fully engaged in this first phase. And we’re grateful for it.

Phase Two

Deeper Discernment
After hearing from you, we voted at our last Council Meeting to update our original motion from this summer. Click below to see the original motion and the recent update to Item #4.

Name Change Motion

Original Council Motion
The Council recommends that the church change its name. Council will create a team charged with the following:

1. Articulate the rationale behind the need for Colonial Church to change its name and communicate it to the congregation (position paper).
2. Build a process for robust congregational discussion.
3. Develop a list of no more than three potential new names for the church, based on input from the congregation and other resources that the team may deem appropriate.
4. In conjunction with Council, schedule a Special Church Meeting (as described in Article Xll Of the Bylaws), for final discussion and a vote on whether to change the name and if passed, a second vote to determine the new name.
Update to Item #4
#4 As described in Article XII of the Bylaws, Council will schedule a Special Church meeting for January 10, 2021 where the congregation will discuss and vote on whether Colonial Church should change its name. If the church, by a two thirds majority or greater, votes to change the name, then a second special congregational meeting will be held at a later date to vote on a new name.
Between now and January 10th, 2021, we're pulling out all the stops to make sure your voice is heard, that you have multiple channels to share your thoughts, that you have every opportunity to share your own discerning to our congregation. This is a congregation-wide discussion, and in the end it’s a congregation-wide decision.

Between now and January 10th, 2021, here’s what lies ahead:
Town Hall Meetings
We will be hosting four Town Hall meetings this Fall where you’ll get a chance to let your voice be heard. These will be hosted in a hybrid format -- each gathering being held in-person while also being simulcast -- to maximize participation. Each Town Hall can host up to 50 people in-person and will require an RSVP. Standard COVID-19 protocols will be in place and will be attached to all communications about Town Hall meetings. Click here for more information on Town Halls.
Congregationalism Class
As we look to the next chapter in our story, Rev. Dr. Christian Collins Winn is teaching a class on our Congregational history this Fall from 11:00am - 12:00pm on Sunday mornings via Zoom. We’d encourage you to join in as you’re able. (Click here for the Zoom link.) (If you're looking to get caught up on, head to our YouTube channel here.
Fall Courtyard Conversations
We’re adding more Courtyard Conversations to our calendar. If you’re looking for a smaller outlet to let your voice and discerning be heard, Courtyard Conversations are for you. Click here for more information on Courtyard Conversations.
Across the Bridge: Community Commentary + Conversation
Throughout the Fall, we'll be sharing voices from those who have concerns about changing our name as well as those who are supportive of the change. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to offer your reflections to each post. Be sure to look in your E-News to watch as the links to those posts are released. You can also pick up a paper copy of these community commentaries by visiting the Church Office.
Name Change Themes
We are working to bring together themes and thoughts across the congregation regarding the pros and cons for changing our name. Look for more information on that soon.

Phase Three

Congregational Vote
Please mark your calendars then for a Special Church Meeting on January 10th, 2021 at 11:00am. We will be prepared to ensure that the voting process will be in line with our bylaws and inclusive of our entire membership while upholding COVID-19 protocols.

A note on accessibility: we recognize that some of you don’t have easy access to online technology, while others of you with access aren’t comfortable with it. If you need to receive communication regarding name change or other church-related matters, please call the Church Office at 952.925.2711 or email Alice Loddigs by clicking here.

As we continue our listening and discernment, we want to hear from you.

What questions do you have?
What information would be helpful?
Do you have ideas for how we can best wrestle with this invitation?
How would you like to process this together?


Let us know by emailing namechange@colonialchurch.org. Keep tabs here for updates on our journey together.
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