Since April 1998, when we first constituted, we have been known as Grace Evangelical Church. That name has served us well. However, over the years, the word "evangelical" has come to mean way too many things to way too many different people. When we first started, we used Evangelical in the sense of a people committed to historic Christian orthodoxy, the fundamental tenets of the Protestant Reformation (the five Solas), and the centrality of the the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to our life and witness.
While "Evangelical" can be a useful descriptor, it really no longer functions well as a primary "noun" to describe our identity. To some, the name refers primarily to a political lobbying movement. To others, it refers to a generic form of "lowest common denominator" Christianity that is light in doctrine and worship. Neither of those are true of us--as a church. While we have members vested in social and civic affairs, that is distinct from our mission as a church. Social and civic agendas do not form the basis of what unites us. We recognize our common bond of Christian brotherhood with those whom we may not see eye to eye on in secondary and tertiary doctrine. However, we don't want to reduce our doctrine, thus our piety and practice, to just a few broad points. We are a church that is deeply connected to the heritage of the Reformed tradition in general and the Particular Baptists of 17th century London in particular, and we think that our name should reflect that.
Thus, on February 2, 2020, our church voted unanimously to begin the process of changing our name to Redeeming Grace Church. We think that most accurately reflects who we are, and what we wish to be known for, as a body of believers. As of yesterday, July 7, 2020, the name change was completed in terms of our "legal" recognition. Signs, stationary, and graphics are in the process of being updated.
While we have just begun acting on this, it has actually been something in the works for a number of years. A number of elders over the years have seen a need for the change, but it hadn't been the right time to act. Now, it seems was the right time to do so.