WHY THE NEW NAME?
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR ELDERS:
Morrill Baptist has been doing ministry since 1848. During those 172 years, many great things have happened - People have been led to Christ. People have been baptized and taught. Ministries have been started and supported. There are precious memories of the beginnings of life. There has been the joyous uniting of numerous lives coming together through marriage, and then there have been many tearful eternal home-goings from both church and community. While everything hasn’t always been rosie, MBC has weathered those storms and stands as a beacon for Christ. But, times change, and they have changed most significantly in this new millennia. With those cultural shifts, conversations about changing the name of Morrill Baptist Church to better meet our changing times began around 12 years ago. Those conversations came and went as other things took priority. But, about a year ago, intentional work began toward changing the name of our church. There were reasons for the name change, mostly missional in nature. FIRST, the name “Baptist” means many different things to many different people. There are highly fundamental baptist churches and there are very liberal baptist churches, so just what does it mean when someone from the outside sees “baptist” in the name? SECONDLY, we draw folks from Dixmont to Troy to Lincolnville and lots of other places, so we are much more regional in nature than just a church of our community, PLUS we would like to start satellites or church plants in other locations – this is the reason for removing the geographical marker from the primary name.
Last Spring, an “at large” name-change team was formed from within the congregation. Some folks who were asked declined, but the team that finally came together consisted of older members and newer members, men and women, younger people and older people. The congregation was asked to submit name suggestions and around 60 names were submitted. This team then to work filtering through the various names. They worked through a rubric or grid of questions trying to determine which names did or did not fit. They considered factors like: Is the name true of us? Does it reflect something we are aspiring toward? Is it simply trendy, or is it longer lasting? What does it communicate biblically? Does it create an opportunity to share the Gospel? Are many other churches using it, or is it unique?
After a few rounds of meetings to pare the names down, the team found themselves at about a dozen names. After more prayer, consideration, and conversation, the team eventually got down to two names. All this work took members of our congregation months to accomplish. In consideration of their work, and after much conversation and consideration of what this team presented, the elders concluded that it is in the best interest of the congregation to simply present you with the new name. To present you with a few choices could be divisive. To ask for an up or down vote on one name would be dismissive of the countless hours this team put into reaching their conclusion. There was much thought, prayer, discussion, and time put into the final decision, but, when it came time, there certainly was unity in the decision.
With all of this as a backdrop, we now present to you the new name of Veracity Chapel! Again, the fact that the team started with around 60 names indicates that a name you might suggest now, probably was suggested then. I know, you are asking a question – what does it even mean? (And this question is the very question we hope many people will ask – it is a great conversation starter!)
In its most basic form, Veracity means “truth.” In its more complete usage, it can mean “conforming to truth.” Prior to the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate asked the question, “What is Truth?” We live in a day where truth has been called into question, some even calling our age the post-truth age. Yet, Jesus taught that it is God’s truth that sets us free (John 8:32) – it is this Gospel Truth that our world needs to hear and that we are called to live. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2 “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are called to conform to God’s truth! From this simple biblical basis, Veracity is a great name for our day. Digging into the name, there is so very much Scripture that can be tied to it. From an evangelistic viewpoint, Veracity can be a great conversation-starter that can help point people to the Gospel. Simply putting the word “Veracity” on a t-shirt or yard sign or other places can create tons of great questions. Apologetically, we live in a day where we need to stand for God’s truth. Spiritually, we are called to be conformed into the image of Christ – to conform to God’s truth! In many ways, Veracity is all about God’s mission!
What about “Chapel” and not “church”? Again, this part of the name comes with great forethought as to its implications. By tradition, the name is originally in reference to a sanctuary in Gaul, France where Saint Martin of Tours gave part of his military clothing to a ragged beggar when was serving as a Roman soldier. After Martin cut his military coat in half to share with the beggar, he had a dream that Christ was wearing the half-cloak and that Martin, himself, the other. Jesus said that whatever you do for the least of these, you do it unto me. What Martin had done was an act of compassion, of mercy, of love – the very kind of love we are called to express to those around us. Additionally, the name also conveys the idea of a smaller part of a larger whole. We see ourselves as a part of God’s bigger Kingdom, just one outpost if you will. We want to be a church of compassion and a church of the Kingdom.
Bringing the two words together, we believe that the Church as a whole, and ours in particular, is called to be a place of Truth and Love – and so we land on Veracity Chapel. We can tell you that it had to grow on some of us too, but as it has grown, its meaning, its relevance, its edge has only rooted itself more deeply within us. Beyond that, there is no Veracity Chapel recorded anywhere else in the world – it is unique, and that can make it memorable. In the days ahead, we will be getting all kinds of different promotional material together to help us take advantage of our new name to promote Christ. We will also be providing evangelistic training on how you can use Veracity Chapel to share the gospel. We are excited for the days ahead, and not just for our local church, but for the Gospel of Jesus to be spread near and far and for disciples to continue conforming to God’s Truth, experiencing the freedom His Truth brings!
We hope you will be excited too! We hope that you will be ready to allow God’s truth to help you conform all the more into the image of Christ! Together, may God use us even more fully and more fruitfully to reach those around us with His Veracity! May we be a place of God’s Truth & God’s Love – WE ARE, VERACITY CHAPEL!