If you tuned in to our first Facebook Live worship gathering this past Sunday, you will have heard me make this announcement about our new name (and why we are changing it now)! If not, you may be slightly confused!
We realise that with all that is going on in the world right now, it may seem an unusual time to make a change like this, so I thought I would explain a bit more for those who want to know.
For the last several months, our Leadership Community has been discussing our name. The name ‘New Inclusive Church’ has served us well in our first few years – it allowed people to know exactly what we’ve been about! But we realised that you can’t be ‘new’ forever AND that our name was causing some confusion with the 500+ strong network of churches known as Inclusive Church, of which we are also a part.
We share our most deeply cherished values with the Inclusive Church Network and think they are brilliant, and so it was important to us that our purposes were seen as clear and distinct with one another so that we can both effectively do what we are set up to do.
That left us with the challenge of finding a new name. It was important to choose a name the represented our key values (welcome, inclusion, warmth, hospitality), that gave us some room to grow and that also was distinct.
After lots of thought, consultation and prayer, we landed on Inclusive Gathering Birmingham. We really love our new name because we feel it represents us well and also perhaps gives us an opportunity to explain more of what we’re about as a church. We’ve used the language of ‘gathering’ since the start, and the term ‘gathering’ is being used more and more for communities of worship (particularly in LGBTQ+ inclusive/ affirming spaces). In fact, the term for the KIND of church we are is a ‘gathered’ church, drawing people from a great distance (both geographically and sometimes philosophically) to be part of our community. This ‘gathering’ element is true even more so now, in the time of Coronavirus, when our top priority is gathering people virtually in order to help them feel connected and cared for despite physical distance.
So why NOW?
Our plan had been to get all our ducks in a row, completely re-develop our website and do some events that would help get our new name out there during May, for Pride Month. But … Coronavirus has changed lots of plans for everyone.
With increasing our online activity and moving our Worship Gatherings to Facebook Live, we realised the least confusing option was to change our name more quickly … even if things rolled out in a bit of a messier way. That’s kind of how we roll anyway, to be honest! We’re all about trying new things and tweaking and changing as we go!
So, I hope that this new name helps create clarity and that we get past anything that is confusing pretty quickly. On a practical note, all of our social media addresses will remain @newchurchbrum and our email address remains firstname.lastname@example.org. We ARE re-developing our website, but www.newinclusivechurch.org.uk will continue to work, as will www.inclusivegathering.org.uk. So you shouldn’t have too many problems finding us!
It’s worth saying that of course names and brands are not the most important thing in and of themselves. BUT they are important tools for helping us connect and communicate with you – clarity is the main thing, especially at a time like this! Thanks for your patience with us!
Pioneer Leader/ Pastor
Inclusive Gathering Birmingham