After a month of voting, the results are in: Our new church name is Garfield Park Community Church.
We held a congregational meeting on November 27th to begin voting. Since that was Thanksgiving weekend, at that meeting, we agreed to extend voting on the new name for three additional Sundays to include as many members as possible. We also voted on the rules for the name change election, that a name would require over 50% of the vote to win. Three names were on the ballot: Garfield Park Evangelical Church, Garfield Park Community Church, and Garfield Park Evangelical Community Church. As I’ve said before, I liked all three options personally. We realized that votes between three choices might create a situation in which no name got over 50%.
That’s how it turned out; none of the names achieved over 50% of the vote. Garfield Park Evangelical Church and Garfield Park Community Church each had most of the votes, with Garfield Park Evangelical Community Church getting the fewest votes. Therefore, we eliminated that third-place name and held a runoff between the top two names. For the runoff, our president contacted anyone who had voted for the third-place name and asked them to re-vote for one of the two remaining names. Their votes were added to the existing tally for the top two names. Garfield Park Community Church received over 50% of the votes and that is our new name! We announced the new name for the first time at our Christmas Eve services.
During the transitional period, you will see both names in writing to maintain continuity of identity while people hear about the name change. What should you say if someone asks what church you go to? I would tell them Garfield Park Community Church, but you’ll probably have to be doing some explaining for a while. We are still currently affiliated with the UCC. At some point during 2017, we will disaffiliate. Until then, our Messenger will bear the UCC logo, the new name, and under it, “formerly Garfield Park United Church of Christ.” We will use that “formerly” language as long as we feel we need to. After we leave the UCC, the UCC logo will disappear from the Messenger and other places. For now, if you write a check to the church, continue to make it out to “Garfield Park United Church of Christ” until further notice, as we haven’t changed the name with our bank yet. May God bless you in 2017.