CRWRC Seeks Approval to Change Name

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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.

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.

See comments (20)


The CRWRC is a witness to Christ. World Renew is not a witness to Christ. If World Renew becomes the name, and the motto, then perhaps Red Cross or World Vision would be a better alternative for financial contributions. Tell me why not?

Actually, the name "World Renew" fits well with the transformation the CRWRC has undergone in the past 10 years. The CRWRC is now funded in a big way through government grants. Now that the CRWRC is facilitating the Sustainable Development Goals and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, that we as a denomination endorsed. We are now helping to bring land, resources and communities around the world into a universal curriculum, and conformity to a one world governmental and religious system.

The name "World Renew" points us to Christ even more than the name CRWRC... it is through Christ that we are redeemed and that creation is regained. We are privileged to be able to work together towards the redemption of creation and the restoration of God's Kingdom, to work to end poverty and bring justice, as best we can. We address our own brokenness and the brokenness in the world with Christ in our hearts, minds, and actions. The work of this begins NOW and is finished when Christ returns. I love how this name makes me think of C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle", the wonderful realization that the Narnia lived in was only a shadow of the true Narnia. "Higher up and further in!" Christ came and will come again. Hallelujah!

Thank you, CRWRC, for being an agency that holds this vision near and dear and for seeking to express this vision in a meaningful way.

Whenever a name change is considered, it can not be undertaken lightly. CRWRC understands that. I think one of the most difficult challenges CRWRC faced as we considered this decision was whether or not to incorporate the word "Christian" in our name. The truth is, there are some places in the world where our name has prevented us from having access to those most in need. Following the 2004 South Asian tsunami, for example, CRWRC had to act under a pseudonym in order to get aid to the most vulnerable. As we considered changing our name, we wanted to choose one that we could use worldwide to achieve our mission of changing lives and bringing aid to all God's children. Rest assured that our programs are not changing. We will still hire Christian staff and work through Christian churches and partners as we carry out our programs. In this way, our witness will be as strong as ever no matter what our name.

Two things, Keep the triangle, lose The Living Justice, only
God gives justice.

While a name change shouldn't be taken lightly, it's good to embrace the change in circumstances that make the name change necessary. World Renew is an excellent name as it evokes the ministry's mission, reflects Reformed theology and allows the ministry to tell a new story. It is a name that can be used in creative access countries and it doesn't provide the denominational barrier for those who just want to support disaster and compassion relief. Having said that, a name is just one aspect of an organization's brand. It is my prayer that the CRC constituency can support World Renew with open minds and open hearts because of how they carry out their mission, not on the basis of whether the name is liked or disliked.

While on vacation we looked for a church with a reformed background to attend. On line we found a CRC Church and went there, but the sign outside had no reference to being a Christian Reformed Church. It was one, but obviously to make it more palatable, the Christian reformed part was left off. I think this is a very sad thing for churches and for CRWRC. Another sign of the end times when religion will become whatever man makes it. So much for gratitude to God for giving us such a blessed heritage. Also, there is no "World Renew" til Christ comes again and makes all things new!

Agenda 21 is a plan for global ’Sustainable Development,’ brought to you from the United Nations. H.W. Bush agreed in 1992, in 1995, Clinton signed Executive Order #12858 and pushed the UN plan into America’s massive government machine without any review/discussion by Congress/American people.
‘Sustainable Development’ sounds nice but it is a plan to impose the tenets of Social Justice/Socialism on the world.
At risk from Agenda 21;
•Private Property ownership
•Single-Family homes
•Privately owned farms
The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property.
The UN on the issue of individuals owning land;
Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset controlled by individuals. Private land ownership is a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and contributes to social injustice; it is a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole.
Agenda 21 prefers Private Public Partnerships where the government decides which companies will receive tax breaks. (winners or losers) The cozy relationship between the Obamanation and GE who paid no tax in 2010 or the WH telling Boeing in which state they can operate should raise eyebrows and bolster the realization that Agenda 21 is making headway in America.
This global plan could not be implemented without a well-funded group pushing through its priorities. The International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is tried to Agenda 21. George Soros money has funded parts of ICLEI and is deeply entrenched in America. ICLEI is the domestic leader on spreading the global warming fraud at the local government level.

While World Renew sounds so warm and fuzzy I think people best start doing a bit of self research before our own CRC is led/pushed off the cliff.

And here is something that should be of great interest to the pro lifers about the Millennium Development Goals that the CRC supports. This is the headline....

Access to Safe Abortions:
An Essential Strategy for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals to Improve Maternal Health, Promote Gender Equality and Reduce Poverty.

Below is the link for some self research. If this is OK with the CRC masses, then Houston...we have a problem.

Since receiving the survey last August I have followed this process as closely as possible given the paucity of public information. "World Renew" is an improvement over the five originally suggested. I studied carefully the information given a few weeks ago regarding the logo and bylines. This article now ADDS something crucial: "the new name comes with the tagline: “Living justice, loving mercy, SERVING CHRIST,...” The latter is new; I can't understand why that is the case. But if one carefully reads the last several years of promotional materials, even Banner articles, the naming of "Christ" is minimal in those pieces; that has been a concern for me. As is the distancing I sense from the CRCNA; I've written elesewhere (CRC Global Mission forum)that we need to both keep the CRCNA identity link somehow, and bring Deed back together with Word. "Christian Reformed World Ministries", anyone?! OK, that's history; but lets not cut off our roots.

Any time we're willing to compromise our Christian identity in the name of greater service to the needy, we're taking down however subtly, our Christian banner. Satan must be amused

"World Renew" is shorter than "The Banner?" This is some kind of Dutch "New Math?"

I agree with Bill Veenstra. This change seems part of the stealth program to appear generic "Christian" and hide who we are.

A few years ago I gave up giving to orgs that do not have Christ in the name...

I was disappointed that the "50th anniversary" pamphlet we got a few weeks ago made no mention of the possibility of a name change. IMHO, that would have been the perfect place to "test the waters" or at least make the people in all our congregations aware of a possible change. You know along the lines of 'over the last 50 years.....into the next 50 years, starting with a name that better suits what we are and do'.

Bill, "The Banner" is not related to "World Renew." World Renew is the suggested new name for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.

Betty, the 50th anniversary brochures were produced before the research was completed on the new name possibilities.

I would like to point out that there are other agencies of the CRC that do not have the words "Christian Reformed" in their name. There is no attempt to hide our relationship with the denomination - in fact, you'll see on most brochures that "CRWRC is an agency of the Christian Reformed Church" along with the denominational logo and website.

For a more complete explanation of the rationale behind the name change I encourage you to visit

here we go the word WORLD..
who put you up to that? you will fit in real well with the WORLD council of churches...the One World government folks..

I can understand the desire to shorten the name CRWRC. But please keep Christian Reformed in the name somehow. Without it, World Renew is just another generic name that, to me at least, isn't especially memorable.

Some thoughts on this proposed change, and why it doesn't work. While some agencies and publications have names without "Christian" in them, they are largely designed for more internal consumption. Cadets, GEMS, the Banner, etc. And when churches do not directly put "Christian Reformed" on their church sign, they are doing it to reduce public confusion. Obviously, they are a Christian church, but the term "Reformed" is not understood by most christians, never-mind by non-christians, and it is often initially confused with political reform, or with reform schools.

However, our world missions programs have a primary witness to Christ, but also a specific purpose to work to be a witness to our denomination. It is the main reason we do not simply donate all our foreign mission budget to the anglicans or mennonites or presbyterians. And our CRWRC has a similar purpose, which distinguishes it from World Vision, from Red Cross, from Compassion International, etc. If there is no distinction in purpose, then there is no point to having it. The purpose is not to renew the world; Christ does that spiritually in and through the lives of his people, and governments try to renew the world in a secular fashion. The purpose of CRWRC is to help the needy and less fortunate as an emissary of Christ, and as representative of the CRC.

If you want to shorten the name to Christian World Relief, that might work.

I think from the letter in the print BANNER I got today that the claim CRWRC will continue to present itself as a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church to be fudging a bit. There they complain that explaining the "CR" part of their name is too hard and turns people off. And if, in practice, CRWRC becomes merely "World Renew" rather than "Christian Reformed World Renew", I can't say that I would be able to continue actively supporting the agency.

As for the "World Renew" part, I find it insipid - rather more like a bathroom cleaner or a room freshener - but that's just a matter of personal taste.

Some of the comments for a name change seem to be without much merit.

Dropping the words "Reformed" and "Committee" thereby shortening the name to "Christian World Relief" would have merit because many "other" Christian Churches are supporting our organization.