The Power of Naming

PowerAnnual Assembly held at Mount Zion Temple

by Rev. Victoria Wilgocki

For those of us who are parents, we have had first-hand experience with the power of naming — the privilege and responsibility of naming our children. There are other examples of the power of naming — naming a building, naming a church, naming a pet, naming a street, naming a work of art. And yes, naming an organization.

On May 5th, I had the pleasure of being in the room when a significant re-naming occurred. At the Annual Assembly of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, the gathered body voted unanimously to change its name to Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul. Talk about an exciting moment! Such a buzz of energy in the air!

Why the new name? To better reflect the organization’s active participants. Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Muslim, Jewish, Native American — the word “Churches” in the former name simply did not reflect the fullness of religious traditions that make up the organization. Over the course of 2+ years, a major re-branding process took place, complete with new logo.

St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ‘s participation in collecting school supplies each August for “School Tools,” our donations of non-perishable food shelf items for the Department of Indian Works throughout the year and for the Generous Spirit Food Drive in March, our taking part in CROP Hunger Walk, our former involvement with Project Home — these programs (and others) are all under the umbrella of Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul. We also support the organization through an annual financial contribution of $2,400.

Two other things worth noting:

  1. Interfaith Action will soon name a new Executive Director. Rev. Patricia Lull stepped down from that post a year ago to become the bishop of the St. Paul Area Synod of the ELCA (Lutheran).
  2. Our very own Steve Magistad is a Foundation Board member, and our very own David Misemer has served as President of the Board of Directors for the past three years during a truly dynamic, important and demanding time. Kudos, and gratitude to them both.

Thanks be to God for Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul.

Rev. Victoria Wilgocki
Pastor, St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ