United Society reclaims familiar USPG name

By Gavin Drake
Posted Jul 22, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican mission agency United Society is to resume using the more familiar name USPG by which it was known between 1956 and 2012. But the agency is not returning to its former full name of United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The new full name will be the United Society Partners in the Gospel.

The agency has played a long and important role in the history of international Christian missionary activity and has played a significant part in the spread of Anglicanism across the globe.

The agency was formed by Royal Charter in 1701 as the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). In 1965 the agency merged with the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG).

It adopted its present name – United Society – in 2012 “with a reinvigorated desire to participate in God’s global mission”; but many people found the abbreviated form of their name – Us – confusing on a global stage where it ran the risk of confusion with the United States.

“During 2015, we undertook some research to discover how our new brand had been received,” the agency’s chief executive, Janette O’Neill, said. “We learned that, while our partners in Britain and Ireland and around the world greatly appreciated the energy, values and practical work embodied in the Us brand, many remained saddened that we were no longer referring to the gospel in our name.

“As well as reintroducing ‘gospel’ into our name, the new meaning of USPG emphasizes our focus on working in partnership with the world church, while also encouraging the Anglican Churches of Britain and Ireland to participate more deeply in that partnership.”

The renewed USPG name will be launched alongside a new logo and branding at the Greenbelt Christian arts festival at the end of August.


Comments (2)

  1. Leon Spencer says:

    At the risk of sounding like an aging curmudgeon, they should never have tried Us in the first place. I was teaching in Botswana at the time of the change, and folks just rolled their eyes. The USPG has a wonderful heritage and progressive theological vision, and the name USPG worked to reflect both. Rephrasing USPG is a useful change, however.

  2. Jerry Drino says:

    in 2001, at the 300th Anniversary of the (U)SPG founding the board of governors invited 40 laity, bishops, priest, deacons from around the Anglican Communion to spend a month in Ireland and England discussing the meaning of mission for today and the future. It was a significant opportunity to hear voices throughout the Communion and to come to a clear, simple statement: Mission is no longer based on the assumption that missionaries bring something to a people that they do not have. Mission is about gathering and discovering together what God is calling us to do as “partners” in this place and time. I was honored to represent North America (TEC and Church of Canada – an area no longer served by the USPG). More people need to know about the incredible work and theological orientation the USPG offers to the whole Church

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