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Worldwide Church of God Announces Name Change

Date: 
April 15, 2009

Glendora, California—The Worldwide Church of God announced that, effective April 3, 2009, it changed its denominational name to Grace Communion International. Although the church’s official, incorporated denominational name has changed, it nonetheless retains ownership of the United States Registered Trademark “Worldwide Church of God” and continues to license that name to those of its local congregations across the country who wish to use it.

The denomination, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1934, was originally called the Radio Church of God. It became the Worldwide Church of God in 1968. 

After Armstrong’s death in 1986, the church re-examined its doctrines and teachings. This process led to a complete reformation to Christian orthodoxy by the mid 1990s. The evangelical denomination is now a member of the National Association of Evangelicals with church president, Joseph Tkach, serving on its board.

Members, pastors, national directors and missions directors from around the world were included in the name selection process, which began in late 2005. After all factors and criteria were considered, the Church Board and its Advisory Council of Elders settled on the name “Grace Communion International.” Denominational leaders believe the new name better describes what the church has become and will serve it more effectively in the future.

The church’s message now centers on Trinitarian, Incarnational theology and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. By 1995, the church had abandoned its former legalistic doctrines, exclusivist teaching, and prophetic speculation and has been warmly embraced by the Christian community. The church sees itself in full communion with the greater Body of Christ and a participant in the collective effort to proclaim the gospel of grace.

“Grace lies at the heart of our values and mission as a transformed church. Our spiritual unity with God and with one another is reflected in the word Communion. The word International identifies us as a unified body of believers who span the globe, sharing a common history and journey of faith,” said denominational president Joseph Tkach. “We are a church that God radically transformed. Our new name is consistent with that transformation and aptly describes what God has made of our fellowship.”

United States congregations who wish to continue to use the name Worldwide Church of God will be able to do so, and some of our non-U.S. National Churches will as well. However, they will all be part of the denomination named “Grace Communion International.”  The denominational website...will eventually be moved [to www.gci.org].

Grace Communion International has about 42,000 members worldwide, meeting in nearly 900 congregations. Denominational offices are in Glendora, California. The denomination publishes the free magazine Christian Odyssey and produces several video programs available on its website.

For further information, contact info@gci.org or phone 626-650-2363.

For a letter from Joseph Tkach giving further explanation of name change, click on the file attached below.

Copyright 2009 Grace Communion International

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April 2009 letter final2.pdf443.32 KB
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