Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), the relief and development agency of the Christian Reformed Church, is asking Synod 2012 to allow it to change its name to World Renew.
CRWRC asked the denomination’s Board of Trustees to endorse the motion at its February board meeting, but the board delayed making a decision until its next meeting in May.
In its rationale for the proposed new name, CRWRC said, “A new name is needed that does not limit the perception of the organization as much as the current name.”
Sheila Holmes asked, “Is the new name a way of gently moving away from the CRC as you pursue more capacity to get funding?”
Andrew Ryskamp, director of CRWRC-US, responded, “We would be crazy to move away from our base. The reality is that we have grown into a broader context already. . . . We’re an agency of the CRC and will continue to represent ourselves as an agency of the CRC.”
Bob Lyzenga was in favor of the change. “I’m at a church right now where 80 percent are brand new to the denomination. I see something positive about having a shorter, easier name.”
Bill Veenstra was opposed. “I have no objection to Christian Reformed World Renew. I have no trouble with the cross [in the logo], but it is clearly disassociated with the brand of CRC—why not add [the] triangle to it, saying symbolically, ‘this is where our roots lie?’ I sense an increasing detachment from the institution of the CRC.”
In addition to the logo, the new name comes with the tagline “Living justice, loving mercy, serving Christ,” which, Ryskamp explained, represents the Christian context that informs the work of CRWRC. But that would not be part of the legal name in the bylaws and could be changed at any time, which concerned some trustees.
Scott Greenway, who initially spoke in favor of the name change, said, “If the tagline can be moved in and out, that’s a significant thing for me.”
In the end, the board ran out of time and decided to delay making a decision about endorsing the name change until it meets again.
With or without the board’s endorsement, it is synod (the annual leadership meeting of the CRC) that makes a final decision.