The mission parish formerly known as St. Paul’s, Suamico is becoming Saint Barnabas the Encourager Episcopal Church! Some years ago it was proposed a name change be considered and then, in late 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, interest in discerning a name change came as a result of a new logo design.
The new logo image, designed by Madison, WI firm Marie Z Brown Creative LLC, is intended to reflect Joining Christ in Navigating Life’s Journey. The Brown agency explained the logo symbolism:
This new image led to discernment regarding the name. St. Brendan and St. Nicholas might be possible due to their nautical connections, but Saint Barnabas the Encourager was also intriguing. Barnabas encouraged the council at Jerusalem to hear of Saul/Paul’s conversion. Barnabas sailed with Paul and embarked on his own mission voyages. As the Suamico church property was given to the diocese for a church, so had Barnabas given land to the apostles (Acts 4:36-37). After prayerful discernment, there was agreement. This came in response to a renewed commitment to worship, prayer, and formation along with the desire to encourage one another and the community to join Christ in navigating life’s journey.
There have been other congregations of the diocese that changed their name. Church canons give the bishop the authority to name a mission, so in January 2021 the Bishop’s Committee contacted Bishop Gunter. “In consideration of the positive reception & enthusiasm towards embracing a new identity of encouragement," they requested a name change to St. Barnabas the Encourager. In addition, they noted the determination to name a future chapel or other worship space for St. Paul’s to honor the previous name. Bishop Gunter agreed and during his annual visitation June 13, 2021, being the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Barnabas, will declare the name changed. The change will then be officially recognized by the diocese when the Bishop report's it to the Diocesan Convention in October.
May God be praised in all things, and may we encourage each other through Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.