In the spring of this year, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee began to seriously explore the possibility of changing its name. There are a number of reasons why this has been considered over the years–this is at least the fourth time that the organization has considered it.
CRWRC was born out of the desire of local congregations and their deacons to respond to needs in North America and around the world that were too big for any one group of deacons to respond to alone. CRWRC's first constitution charged the organization to be engaged in ministry to those who are distressed by reason of the violence of nature, the carnage of war, or other calamities of life, and to relieve the suffering of the needy of the world. Over the past fifty years CRWRC has consistently carried out this work and has grown into a model community development and disaster response organization –with a budget of nearly $40 million. It is recognized around the world for its effectiveness and Christian service to the poorest of the poor and those devastated by disasters.
Today it seems to many involved that the organization has outgrown its name. There is no “committee;” “relief” is an inadequate word to describe the holistic approach that CRWRC takes to its work worldwide; and the supporting constituency, while rooted in the denomination, far exceeds the boundaries of the Christian Reformed Church.
To better explore the possibility of changing CRWRC’s name, a process was carefully designed and professional assistance was sought to carry this forward in a way that will help find a name to carry the work of CRWRC into the future–its next fifty years. At its May meeting, the Joint Ministry Council (CRWRC's "joint" policy-making board, comprised of seven representatives of the Canadian Board of Delegates and seven representatives of the USA Board of Delegates) approved the process to explore a new name, linking this idea to the celebration of CRWRC's 50th anniversary in 2012. The hope is that concurrently CRWRC could position itself for the next fifty years of service and celebrate the first fifty years of God’s faithfulness.
No general revenue from CRWRC’s budget is being devoted to this project. Funding from visionary donors supported significant market and brand research, providing the organization with a wealth of information about CRWRC’s constituency. An initial broad survey of CRWRC constituents in August sought to understand how CRWRC was viewed and why constituents felt supportive. Those who responded suggested well over 1000 creative name options; many envisioned that the “right” name could expand our work, as well as broaden and grow CRWRC’s constituency. This research also affirmed the perception that a name change would be advantageous as CRWRC looks forward to its future, yet revealed some significant concern, perhaps even grief at the idea of “losing” the name that has come to mean so much. So, we are attempting to conduct this process as openly as possible, to encourage input and interaction as much as reasonable.
A follow-up survey in October explored how respondents viewed various name options in comparison to the current name, and while no single name rose as “the” new name, over half of the respondents indicated that the new option that they chose from among five presented was a preferred name to the old name, CRWRC. This survey too was quite helpful in understanding how friends and supporters of CRWRC viewed the options presented and that will help as we move forward.
So, the exploration continues. We have embarked on the process of developing a second round of name options to consider. You have our assurance that we will not make any change until we have identified a name that will carry us forward within the commitment and tradition of our first fifty years. We will periodically update the progress of this exploration at www.crwrc.org/name.
We appreciate the way that our constituency is engaged in our work in so many ways, and value your input as your thinking on this matter evolves!
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