The vision behind the change
In February, 2020 three quarters (75%) of our congregation voted in favour of changing our name from Cascade Gospel Chapel to Cascades Church. The following is the “why” behind this change.
In 1955 Cascade Gospel Chapel was planted by members of Central Park Bible Chapel, a Brethren church. It was planted in the Renfrew Height-Cascade Heights area because they saw a barrier for people attending church. Central Park was too far for the people living in Renfrew Heights-Cascade Heights and planting a church in the area removed a barrier.
Our church name was an important distinguisher from other churches. If you identified as Brethren and you were looking for a church in our city, you’d look for the Brethren churches and attend there.
Our Cultural Moment
Today Vancouver has the fewest amount of Christians in any of the major Canadian cities. In fact, nearly 50% of Vancouver residents claim no religious belief. Many know very little about Christianity and much less the distinctive of a ‘Chapel’. Those who know about the Brethren movement are already Brethren. While this name previously served as a helpful differentiator for people looking for a Brethren church, today our name was more of a barrier to reaching people in our city, the way our distance previously was a barrier for people we were trying to reach.
Our experience has taught us that our name creates more questions than answers. ‘I go to Cascade Gospel Chapel,’ we’ll tell someone and they respond, “Oh, what is that? What kind church is that?” To avoid this altogether some of you just say, ‘I go to a church called Cascades.’ Some acknowledge it saying, ‘We’re Brethren,’ but add ‘we’re not too tight on that.’
We want to remove the confusion.
We want to make it clear we are a church, a community of people devoted to following Jesus and practicing His Way. Cascades Church makes that clear and it hints towards our vision.
Our church’s vision is to see our city renewed. God’s presence is made available through Jesus Christ who tore the veil that separated humanity from God. It is his presence that renews us and our city. God desires to descend like a waterfall cascading down into a dry barren land springing forth new life.
The name Cascades Church captures the vision of God’s presence pouring down into our world.
This feels like we are changing who we are
We believe this is consistent with our history, our mission, and our values.
Cascades Church aligns with our history. Cascades has its roots in the Brethren movement. We remain committed to Scripture, Missions, Communion, and a priesthood of all believers. This is not about changing our history or who we are.
We cherish our Brethren roots and how God has used us. Yet, we’ve never clung so closely to it that God could not work. We’ve never made the minor things the ultimate nor are we about to. Our history has moments where we removed barriers and sought to clarify who we were. We were planted in Cascades to reach people in this area. Changing to Cascades Church is about removing another barrier for people. We will not deny, ignore, or diminish our past. We believe there is something distinct, beautiful, and powerful about our spiritual history.
Thus, we give thanks for it. We honour God for our past, yet at the same time, we don’t feel we must cling to our past. God is still writing a story in Cascades. This is a new chapter in His story.
Cascades Church also aligns with our mission: to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus and His Way. We remain committed to this mission.
Cascades Church aligns our values: We love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday we proclaim it in song, through Scripture-based sermons, and through taking communion. That won’t change. Not having Gospel our name doesn’t mean we’re ashamed of it. You can’t miss the gospel if you come to our church on a Sunday!
We believe Scripture still speaks. It testifies to who God is, what He’s done, and what He’s doing for us in Christ Jesus.
We still believe life is found in Jesus, formed in community, and empowered by Holy Spirit.
Ultimately, the name Cascades Church will eliminate confusion. This is not part of a growth strategy; this is about clarity.
I still feel kind of sad about this
Even if you are excited about this change, it’s possible that this may bring with it a sense of loss. It’s important to grieve the change and not sweep these emotions under the rug. Grieving will look different for each person, but a vital practice for us is gratitude. That is, give thanks to God for the beautiful memories He’s given us as Cascade Gospel Chapel–appreciate and celebrate them. Perhaps, it means journaling them or sharing those memories with your Community Group.
Why ‘Cascades’ and not ‘Cascade’?
One reason is that many of us already call it ‘Cascades’. We say, ‘I go to Cascades.’ Because it is how we self-describe already, it seems like a natural fit.
Additionally, when praying about our name, Pastor Alex sensed God saying ‘Cascades’ was the name He wanted.
Jesus is the Living Water and our souls, our city, and world are like dried out canyons desperately thirsting for Him.
God wants to renew not only us, not only our church, not only our city; He has come to renew all of His creation. ‘Cascades’ with the ’s’ paints a beautiful picture of multiple points where Living Waters cascades down. This is our ultimate prayer that the One who promises rivers of living water will pour from them so pour His tangible presence and power into our city and renew it for His glory and our great joy!
Practically how does this work?
Cascade Gospel Chapel will continue to exist as a Society, but we have a ‘do business as‘ permit as Cascades Church. This means writing a cheque to Cascades Church will be the same as writing a cheque to Cascade Gospel Chapel. Either will work.
Additionally, our social media accounts will transition to @cascades.church and our new website url will be www.cascadeschurch.ca. Our old url, cascadegospelchapel.com, it will automatically redirect you to the new one.