At its annual conference this week (25-27 June 2012), the 311-year-old Anglican mission and development agency USPG announced it will be changing its name.
The decision was taken by USPG’s trustees following a lengthy consultation with churches and supporters of the charity.
Delegates attending USPG’s annual conference were given a preview of the new name and logo, which have been designed to reflect the contemporary nature of the work today, and invite many more individuals and churches to find out more and get involved.
The new name – United Society to be known as Us. –will be officially adopted [at a launch event in November 2012.
Canon Linda Ali, chair of USPG’s Trustees, explained: ‘We are very proud of our heritage and take seriously our remit to work through Anglican Churches to help global communities tackle poverty.
‘We were founded in 1701. To put this into historical context, in 1701 the composers Bach and Handel were still young men! The original title given to us by our founder, the Revd Thomas Bray, was The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was later abbreviated to SPG.
‘No doubt this name worked well in its day, but words like “propagation” are simply out-dated in the twenty-first century. So it was time for a change.
‘Our new name, Us, is directly derived from USPG, so it speaks to our heritage, but it also speaks about inclusivity. There is no “them”; we are all “us”. Our work – in partnership with the churches of the Anglican Communion – is for the benefit of the whole community, regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, age or faith. No-one is excluded.’
The new strapline for the charity is ‘Every person. Every community. A full life.’ This is designed to underscore the concept of inclusion and point to a vision of the future, where the words of Jesus in John 10:10 become a reality - the experience of life in all its fullness.
In 1965, SPG merged with the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG). Three years later, the Cambridge Mission to Delhi (CMD) became part of USPG.
Historically, SPG was a traditional missionary-sending agency. John Wesley was one of many hundreds of missionaries sent around the world by SPG.
However, over the decades, this view of mission has shifted, and the focus today is on inspiring local communities to unlock their potential so they can overcome whatever barriers they face, whether economic, political or spiritual.
USPG Chief Executive Janette O’Neill said: ‘We are very excited about this new milestone in our history. It demonstrates our commitment to the living out the gospel and communicating this message with clarity.
‘There are hundreds of international charities doing excellent work today, but we remain one of a few agencies that are committed to supporting the churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion as they deliver transformational change.
‘We hope our new name will help people relate better to the work we are doing today. We are opening a door and inviting everyone to join Us.’
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