Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Blame it on the name

I am so tired of the name of my organisation. When people hear it they tend to assume we are a missionary organisation. This would be fine except that many of our staff are not Christian. I think that in Cantonese the name even specifies that we are protestant.

The problem of the name is twofold. The first problem is faced by my colleagues and the second is all mine. It's really making me crazy.
1. Non-Christians feel that they are going to get preached at if they come here. My colleagues spend a lot of time explaining to our ethnic minority clients that there is no religious component to our langauge classes, health workshops, doctors consultations etc.
2. Christians get very critical because they feel that we are being Christian in name only and therefore deceitful.

We had a couple turn up here a few days ago from a church that is quite concerned about asylum seekers. When they arrived I was teaching a class and my colleague explained all of our different services to them. In the course of the explanation they must have sussed out that she wasn't a Christian.

When I finished my class and sat down to speak with them they asked 'Exactly how Christian is your organisation?'. I told them that I am the only Christian in our office. I also explained that most of our volunteers are Christian and we were working together with one church that is running a bible study group in our centre. I told them that we would be very glad if they wanted to do something similar.

This wasn't enough, however, and they proceeded to ask a load of questions about my church and its denominational background etc. So annoying. I blame it all on the name.

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