What Shall We Call Ourselves?

It’s Time to Decide

VIUF was organized in 1956 and affiliated with the American Unitarian Association. VIUF did not add “Universalist” to its name when the Unitarians merged with the Universalists to form the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961, although VIUF is a member congregation in the UUA. Some of us would like to change our name to include the Universalist side of our identity. Some would like to move away from the term “Fellowship” because of the term’s sexist impact. We want a name that welcomes all.

This is an exciting decision. We want our name to reflect our group identity, how we see ourselves. We also want our name to represent us to people we work with or who may wish to join us.

How to Construct a Name

Most congregational names, like “Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship – VIUF,” have three elements – location (Vashon, Vashon Island), affiliation (Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist), and something to characterize the organization (church, fellowship, congregation, community, society). We need to consider all elements of our name. These elements do not have to be in any specific order (“Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Vashon UUCV”), and some might be omitted (“Vashon Island Unitarian Universalists – VIUU”)

It is a bonus if the name has a good abbreviation (or at least not a bad one).

How Will We Decide?

On Sunday Vashon historian Bruce Haulman will be our speaker talking about the significance of names. After the service everyone is encouraged to join the discussion about whether to change our name from Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship to something else. We will ask you to rank your preferences for each of the elements of our name, and perhaps suggest new ideas that have not been brought up before. Our report to the board will reflect all your opinions.

Kate O’Hare


More about the work of the Name Change Task Force can be found here. 

What’s in a Name: Values, Purpose, and Vision

What’s in a Name? – Some VIUF History

What’s in a Name – Location, Association, and Description

What’s in a Name – Are we a fellowship?

What’s in a Name – Thoughts from Victoria