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Saturday, October 15, 2005

RevJATB on Church Names
One of the blogs I enjoy the most these days is by John Allen Bankson, pastor of John Knox, Ruston (now that Jeff Steel's across the pond studying for his PhD and going through the ordination process in the Diocese of Durham, Church of England). Quirky, erudite, urbane, fun - what more could one ask of a blog? Plus, I happen to share Reverend Bankson's love for Seinfeld, popular Jewish culture and tradition, good grammar and style, and better music, food, etc. Clearly we both have impeccable taste. :)

The other day, Reverend Bankson took a poll on whether his parish should refer to ordinary time as the season after Trinity, or after Pentecost. In the comments to his post, he added the following:
I've often said if I were in the position to name a church, I would want to call it Church of the Holy Spirit. I offer the following reasons:

1) We do believe in the Holy Spirit, outward evidence of Presbyterian behavior notwithstanding.

2) John Calvin had more to say about the Holy Spirit than almost any other theologian, therefore it seems odd that his spiritual heirs (a designation which, I know, is today debatable) seem embarrassed to talk about the Holy Spirit.

3) I agree with Peter Toon that a church's denominational designation should not come between the name of the church and the word "church". Example: "St. Mary's Church (Episcopal)" or the Church of St. Mary (Episcopal), not "St. Mary's Episcopal Church." Thus, "The Church of the Ascension (Lutheran)" rather than "Ascension Lutheran Church" or "The Church of the Holy Spirit (Presbyterian)." This emphasizes that we are part of THE Church first, our denomination second. (This is not the same as a church wanting to be known as "NorthePointeChurch" or "Turkey Crossing Fellowship" and burying its denominational name deep in an interior page of its web site.)
I couldn't agree more.

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