“A New Day Together.” Our merger last October changed us forever. We brought together the significant history of Blanchard Alliance Church with the roots of Living Water Alliance Church in the immigrant church, and this fusion is bringing to birth new life in our midst. Attendance overall has grown; the combined Sunday attendance of Living Water and Blanchard grew by 4% in our first quarter together (560 in October–December, 2014 vs. 583 Oct-Dec 2015) and about 10% in our second quarter together (545 in Jan–March 2015 vs. 597 in Jan–March 2016).
Structural realities should match the spiritual realities that have changed. The Merger Task Force (Sue J, Jeanna E, Gary G, Noah K, and Sandy K) has met to explore how to match the structural reality to the actual reality of our merger. They have secured the help of an attorney. Also, they have consulted Jon Rich, the Midwest District Superintendent for the Christian and Missionary Alliance (our denomination). Upon his strong recommendation, the Merger Task Force is currently exploring the legal formation of a new church, where the two previous churches (Living Water and Blanchard) would formally dissolve and bring their assets into this new church. The Merger Task Force is developing, on the basis of the C&MA Constitution and suggested bylaws, a new set of bylaws that will serve as a governing document for our merged church.
But what shall we call this new reality? The Naming Task Force has concluded its analysis of the data from surveys, and their conclusions can be found here (2016.04.26 Naming TF Survey Report copy). In sum, they found that a vast majority of our church is open to a new name to express this new reality. This name should satisfy the following criteria:
- Conveys who we are as a church in our local communities (Mission/Vision from Ps 40:1–3; John 17:20–21)
- One name for all congregations (Unity/Community)
- A traditional name that captures our merger and history (not a trendy name)
- A name that will work (or can be shortened) in an international setting
- Name should include the words Alliance and Church (inviting and understandable)
- Name should focus on who we are and not where we are (not be location based)
What will our new name be?
More updates in person will be presented at our Townhall on Sunday, May 22. At that time and in weeks following, there will be plenty of opportunity for feedback and questions. Please pray for and encourage these teams as they do the behind-the-scenes and sometimes thankless structural work that lays the foundation for our future growth.