What’s in a name? There’s a lot of history, reputation and identity for sure. There is 50 years of identity as Southminster United Church and 40 years of identity as Steinhauer United Church. There’s a reputation for innovation and for investment in social justice. There’s identification as a congregation within the United Church of Canada. More recently, there’s identity as a progressive and affirming congregation. For those of us who are on the inside, there is much in our name and much for which we are proud to be known.
We know, too, from experience that there are many in our society who identify as ‘spiritual but not religious’, ‘casuals’ or ‘non-religious’ who would love who we are and resonate with much that we do. While they consider themselves spiritual seekers, they would never imagine themselves to be interested in a church. For many seekers, the “brand” is irrelevant and communicates nothing in particular. They don’t distinguish between Lutheran, Baptist, Anglican, Evangelical or Community as a modifier for the word “church”. And the word “church” is loaded with the baggage of preconceptions and expectations (many of which we have shed but how would someone who is seeking spirituality in community know that?)
For communications purposes (ie. publicity through our website, social media presence and signage) we are using our acronym, SSUC (a shorthand way of spelling the name of our church) and a way to communicate something descriptive about who we are with the double use of the acronym. Not only does it allow us to spell our name in a more user friendly way but it also enables us to communicate something about who we are to say that we are spiritual seekers united in community. We are indebted to Clair Woodbury for his creativity in coining that phrase from our acronym.
The church hasn’t changed its name. It remains important to who we have been and who we continue to be. With the guidance and wisdom of the Communications Committee, the Ministry Team, and the Media and Communications Coordinator, we are making better use of our acronym to communicate something meaningful about who we are as a spiritual community as part of our communication strategy. We are saying to the world that we are about the life and world-changing work of spirituality and that we don’t wish to do that alone, but together. Our byline… Spiritual Seekers United in Community…hopes to reach those who don’t yet know us in order to introduce them to a community, to values, to the collective work of a fantastic group of people making a difference in people’s lives and in the world.
We invite you to use whichever form of our name makes you feel most at home, most embraced by who this community is, has been and will be.