Manchester Christian Church is changing its name to One Church as it continues to expand in New England. The name reflects Ephesians 4:3-6 (“There is one body and one spirit . . .”).
“It’s time to have a name that reflects not where we are, but who we are,” senior pastor Bo Chancey said in announcing the name change via YouTube. The megachurch was founded in 1962 in Manchester, N.H., but has now expanded to five locations—or “outposts,” as Chancey calls them—with two more planned in the near future. Of its five locations, one is an online presence that has grown significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Manchester Christian Church has been an incredible name that has served our church so well,” Chancey says in the video. “But it’s time we had a name that tells a little bit more.”
“Manchester Christian Church has . . . worked really well in Manchester, and it’s been OK in Bedford (N.H.), [but] it’s a bit of a stretch in Concord (N.H.), it’s been tough in Brandon, Vermont, and it will be even harder in Rutland, Vermont, and everywhere else that we go.” Outposts are in the works for Rutland and also for Franklin, N.H. (or somewhere in that vicinity).
Moving forward, the names will follow this pattern: One Church Manchester, One Church Rutland. . . . The renaming becomes effective Jan. 1
“The vision God has given us [is] to go to where, quite honestly, no one wants to go right now,” Chancey said. “There aren’t a lot of church-planting efforts—and, really, none that I’m aware of—that are targeting rural New England. In fact, most of the church-planting efforts and new-church works are avoiding them at all costs.”
Small, local churches in rural New England have been struggling for quite some time. The COVID-19 pandemic “moved the needle about a decade down the road” for struggling churches in rural new England, Chancey said.
As of Christmas, the church had raised about half the $1 million in funds it is targeting to start the two new outposts, according to an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader.