Majority of BIC favor keeping their nameBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite Weekly Review
Results are in from a survey of the Brethren in Christ Church of North America that asked whether people favor a denominational name change. About 52 percent of respondents said “no.”
Twenty-one percent favored a name change, and 26 percent were not sure. Two-thirds have a positive view of the current name; 11 percent reported a negative view of it.
When asked about the word “Brethren” in the name, 57 percent had a positive view and 21 percent negative. For the word “Christ,” 92 percent responded with very positive or positive.
Survey results were shared at the BIC General Conference Board meeting Feb. 10.
Based on this data, the board will recommend to the General Conference, which gathers in July, that the name change study be concluded at this time. The board also suggests that a name-change study group be convened at least two more times at four year intervals.
“We need to pay attention to whether we have trends, and this is not clear with just one survey,” said moderator Warren Hoffman. “We want to use this original study as our baseline [for future studies]. This will allow us to determine whether trends are developing.”
The survey was available from October to December both electronically and in print, and in English and Spanish; 3,050 surveys were completed.
Hoffman said the sample of respondents lines up with the demographic realities of the BIC.
The Brethren in Christ are an Anabaptist group with 35,000 members in North America and churches in more than two dozen countries. The name change discussion applies only to North America.
Congregations aren’t required to include “Brethren in Christ” in their name as long as they identify with the denomination somewhere, like on a sign, bulletin or website.
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