What's In a Name?

Dayton Methodist Episcopal Church - founded in 1830 when the circuit riders came to this area and started a class meeting in Dayton.

Dayton United Methodist Church - became a reality in 1968 when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church united. The name on the door changed, but the congregation remained faithful and true.

Gathering Point Church - will become a reality on July 1, 2022, when disaffiliation from the UMC is complete and this congregation becomes a Global Methodist Church congregation.

A branding team reported to the Administrative Council in April, recommending Gathering Point Church as the new name for our congregation. The Ad Council adopted the new name by a 2/3 majority. Here are some FAQ's regarding the change:

Why drop Dayton from the name? Though our building is physically located in Dayton, Indiana, we have long since stopped being a small-town church. We are a regional church. When we sent notice in the mail for our Town Hall meetings, it was striking that out of about 700 addresses, only 21 were in the Dayton zip code. For a lot of years we have been gathering people from all over Tippecanoe County (and beyond) to be part of our congregation.

Why not just go from Dayton United Methodist to Dayton Global Methodist? This one is a bit trickier. While I am proud to move to the Global Methodist Church (GMC), and I stand in agreement with the founding doctrines and values of the GMC, it's been shown time and again that denominational affiliation simply does not attract younger generations to a congregation automatically, and may have a negative impact (causing a person not to even give us a try because of some perceived disagreement with the denomination). The perception is that a neutral name is more welcoming.

How does this new name express who we are? We are a congregation that gathers for worship. We gather at the communion rails for prayer and support each Sunday. We gather around the Communion Table to receive the Lord's Supper. We gather in small groups to grow in our faith. We gather in ministry teams to make a witness to our community and our world. We gather to Know Christ. We gather to Grow Faith. We gather to Go Witness. Our building becomes the point at which we gather to make commitment to Jesus Christ, to grow deep in our faith, and as a launching point to go into our neighborhoods and workplaces and school to witness to the living reality of Christ in you - the hope of glory!

What about that logo? The spokes that comprise the stylized G in the logo symbolize the gathering in to go out. Here is the cool thing (to me): the new name and logo will not define us - we will define them. Our existing logo and name do not define who we are. Many times I have heard the sentiment expressed, "We're not like most other United Methodist Churches." We have long defined our name and logo, and have not been defined by them. The same will be true of Gathering Point Church. We will give meaning to the name and logo as they become the recognizable "face" of our congregation.

What is really going to change with the new name, the new logo, and the new denominational affiliation, come July 1? We will present ourselves to the community as new and fresh with these changes. But remember what I said in my June newsletter article: the wrapper may change, but the candy bar will still be as sweet. A new name and logo will not change who we are. But they will give us an opportunity to change how we welcome people into our fellowship. The name may change. The logo may change. The denomination may change. But this congregation will still worship passionately, love extravagantly, serve boldly, pray fervently and watch over one another in love, just like always.

So for the rest of June, we are still Dayton United Methodist Church. Then on July 1, we will become Gathering Point Church. Let's do all we can to invite friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors to gather with us to Know Christ, Grow Faith & Go Witness!

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