— A small community of evangelical Christians in northern Virginia is asking for a special meeting in their church to discuss a controversial decision to move the church’s name from its current location in central Virginia to one that reflects their beliefs and culture.
The request comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the original name of the Northpoint Christian Church of Christ in Lynchburg, Virginia, did not accurately reflect the beliefs of its leaders.
This is not the first time the church has requested the move.
In February, the church received a letter from the United Methodist Church of Virginia, which has endorsed the change, and the state’s attorney general.
They asked that the state consider a petition signed by the people of Lynchburg to have the church removed from the county’s name.
The move would allow the church to change its name without losing federal tax credits that would allow it to remain in Virginia.
As the name change is not an official church matter, the UMCV is not taking a position on it, said the letter signed by David Hinkle, president of the church.
“We cannot go on as we have,” he said.
“The United Methodist church in Lynchberg supports the name of our community, and as such we will continue to fight for the name Northpoint.”
Hinkle also said the church would be open to a meeting with the state attorney general if it was willing to host a public forum, but said he had no idea what that would look like.
Hodge said he has not met with the UMIV to discuss the matter.
He said he does not know if the church is willing to participate in the public forum and that he has never met with anyone to discuss it.
If the request was made, he said, “I think it’s a very good thing.”
The church is the oldest of its kind in the United States.
Its mission statement says the church represents the “spiritual and moral values” of its members.
A spokeswoman for the UMPV, Nancy Stearns, said that while the UMMV had previously approved the move, the organization had not seen the letter and was waiting for the state to formally request a meeting.
It would not be the first request from a local church.
Last year, a group of members of a nearby church, the Episcopal Church of the New World, asked the state of Maryland to remove the name.
On Monday, Stearnes said she was surprised by the request.
She said the Umpires letter indicated that the Ummvv would not support the move in the context of the national Episcopal Church.
Lynchburg is one of three counties in the state with predominantly white and mostly Catholic populations, but the UMD has a sizable black population.