American Baptist region renamed ‘Growing Healthy Churches’

A new name for churches in the West
In recent decades, a congregation seeking unchurched members has often called itself a “center” or “fellowship” instead of a “church.” It may also drop the name of the locality for a bucolic name like “Mountain View,” and may erase the denominational identity from its name.

Now, as of January 1, the American Baptist Churches of the West, based in the northern California city of San Ramon, wants to be known as Growing Healthy Churches, or GHC for short.

The decision stems partly from the ongoing struggle over homosexuality and local church autonomy in the denomination. Some ABC of the West congregations “find it difficult to be identified with a denomination that will not affirm biblical standards,” the region’s executive minister, Paul D. Borden, wrote to pastors November 30.


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