Saturday May 6, 2017 — 476 delegates and community members from across 67 churches, community groups and partner organizations throughout Canada met together for our Annual General Meeting. This was a great time of celebrating the legacy, present and future of our denomination, as well as exploring what God is unfolding before us and drawing us into. It really was a joy to be able to spend time together as members of God’s family. For those of you who were unable to attend the day in person, we thank you for your prayers of support and truly appreciate your investment and passion in sharing Jesus’ message in your communities and around the world.
Amidst the worship, prayer, conversations and videos, we also discussed some of the core business decisions we (as the “Senior Resource Team” – formerly “Leadership Cabinet”) have been working through over the last year. This included the extensively discussed Denominational Name Change.
The process that led us to the proposed motion and balloted vote on Saturday, has its roots even further back than 2014. But it was in September of 2014 that Brethren in Christ (BIC) Canada leaders first met to discuss the growing tensions being expressed around our name “Brethren in Christ (BIC) Canada.” For various reasons (listed in our Name Change FAQ) there was an increasing sense that work and exploration should go into the possibility of changing our name.
In the subsequent years there have been:
- 3 major denominational leadership meetings,
- Dozens of senior resource team discussions,
- 3 Online surveys (gathering insight from over 317 members and community representatives),
- 3 additional BIC Church lay leaders name change meetings,
- 20+ Coffee & Conversation meetings (including 3 online or live-streamed events)
- 2 Consultant led Focus Groups
- and a number of legal explorations into the implications and feasibility of a new name.
It has been encouraging to see our invested community work through, imagine and occasionally wrestle with — the values, theology and spirit of who we are and what we represent. Thank you for your engagement in this process.
Last year, Brethren in Christ (BIC) Canada leadership brought forward and proposed a new name: “BIC Canada”. After your vote and our survey designed to understand your motivations we recognized your desire for us to spend more time, consultation and consideration in exploring further names. So, in the last year, we continued to invest in the process, hiring Crescent Group as consultants to develop and explore further options. A year of work, meetings and discussions later and “Be in Christ Church of Canada” was presented for delegates and members to vote on.
We are pleased to announce, with a count of 300 in favour and 28 against, that our new denominational name is:
We are very excited by the new opportunities this name affords us to initiate conversations about what it means to follow Jesus.
“Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, the new creation has come; old things have passed away: behold, all things have become new.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV/NIV)
It is biblically and theologically rich (check out this video of Bruxy Cavey and Charlie Mashinter’s thoughts on our new name) and, we believe, speaks to the very core of who we are as a denomination and as a people.
We also recognize that, whenever there is a vote that is not unanimous, there are people who are being asked to change and adapt to something that they themselves did not choose. Change can be challenging at the best of times, but when it is requested of us against our own wishes it can be especially hard to embrace. Even in our celebration of this new name we are aware and supportive of our family and community members facing the more challenging realities of this change.
So, what does this mean for us now? What can we expect as we “become” Be in Christ Church of Canada?
In the next couple of months (45-60 days) you will see:
- The filing of formal legal work (this includes registration with Industry Canada, The CRA and the trademarking of logos, etc.
- Changes to our digital presence – Our email signatures, social media, etc. will start to reflect our new name.
- We will start to refer to ourselves under our new name (and as indicated at the AGM this will be the fully named organization i.e.: Be in Christ Church of Canada, not BIC Canada).
- Basic digital resources like logos, announcements and slides will start to be made available so that churches and communities will be able to share the news.
In the next few months you will see:
- A slow switch over to the new name in print materials, stationery, etc.
- As we go through the legal name registration process, we will be communicating to those who may be affected about documentation, reporting, congregational services, etc. about how and when we’ll need to use our name in legal contexts
- Provision of a user-friendly handbook guiding us together on how to use the logo and name.
- Future events will start to use the new name and logo. We’ll start to dialogue with you about transition plans and where this change might impact you.
- We’ll be reaching out to partners who work with us locally, nationally and internationally to keep them up to speed with our new name.
In September you will likely see:
- A new denominational website, new print collateral, etc.
- We will officially “Launch” our new name, celebrating with community members, partners and others both our name and restating our community’s continued calling.
- We’ll be continuing to support churches and communities who are more significantly affected by the name change.