'Southern New England Conference' Recommended as New Name

7/18/2019

The three General Synod delegation signs were symbolically placed together following the vote approving the new conference. Photo by Peter Johnston
By Tiffany Vail
Associate Conference Minister for Communications

Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.

That name is what the Together, As One Board of Directors will recommend be affirmed as the official name of the new conference when delegates from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island come together Nov. 1 and 2 for their third Annual Meeting together.

After conducting two surveys in which Southern New England was the hands-down favorite, and gathering feedback in a variety of other settings, board members said they felt convinced that Southern New England is the right choice going forward.

Board Member Hannah Brown, who with a task team conducted the most recent survey, said respondents indicated they wanted a name that offered “consistency and connection” with the wider United Church of Christ.

“People indicated that within the small world that is denominationalism and Christianity, people would know what we were talking about when we said Southern New England Conference,” she said. “Some of the other names – while creative and mission-driven – would require a lot of explanation.”

She also said that while choosing a name that is markedly different than those of the other conferences within the UCC would be exciting, it could also create a barrier to connection within the denomination.

Nearly 600 people responded to the latest naming survey.  Southern New England received 44% of first choice votes, almost five times more than any other choice. With ranked voting, Southern New England was again the top choice, receiving 70% combined first, second and third choices. And three of the top four choices included the words “New England” as part of the name.

The new conference has been provisionally referred to as the “Together, As One Conference” since Annual Meeting voters from the three historic conferences affirmed their desire to join together over two years ago. Last month, the UCC’s national gathering – General Synod – approved the request of the three conferences to form a new, united conference effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The third joint Annual Meeting of the three conferences will be held Nov. 1 and 2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, with Revolutionary Love Project Founder Valarie Kaur keynoting.