I make no apologies nor take any credit for the April 1st post yesterday. The Pillsbury Doughboy death notice has been circulating round the Web for a while and the excruciating puns continue to amuse.
There was one story I came across that almost had me taken in. As posted on the Name Newsreel page of this site, the news item concerned the rebranding of the Church of England. In light of the current scandals swirling around the Catholic Church and the real decline in CofE attendance in recent years the story had a ring of credibility, as the best April Fools stories do.
Only when it mentioned the Queen’s preferred name choice of ‘Establisha’ did the penny drop. But then, after Royal Mail/Consignia fiasco, one should be prepared for anything.
For those who missed it:
The church said yesterday that discussions had been going on behind the scenes for several months between Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace. The Queen is understood to be keen to get the process completed before Charles becomes Supreme Governor.
If the rebranding goes ahead, the monarch is rumoured to favour the name ‘Establisha’, to reflect the church’s status with regard to the Crown.
A spokesperson for the Church said: “Approaches have been made by other churches over the last few years, who have expressed concern that the Church’s name was misleading.
“After friendly discussions it was felt that all Christians would benefit from an updated brand. But this is a process that we want the whole country to be engaged in”.
It was emphasised that the name change would not alter the church’s established status, but it was not clear whether churchgoers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be consulted.
“The Church will still be the church of the nation. But this is a recognition that the existing name could be seen as a barrier”, a spokesperson said. “The Church needs to be open to new ways of communicating and presenting itself. We hope that the result will be a fresh start and a new image which also reflects the changing place of religion in a plural society”.
More details will be released in the next few months about how the consultation will take place. It will formally begin on Back to Church Sunday.
The Church said that the initiative would involve a new Facebook page and an interactive area on the Church of England website. People will be invited to make suggestions via text message and Twitter. Local churches will also be encouraged to hold public meetings.
Suggestions will be shortlisted at General Synod in 2011 through a deliberative process, similar to that employed recently by Democracy campaign Power2010. The country will then be encouraged to vote on the proposals in an X-factor style run off conducted under the Single Transferable Voting system.
The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has also given his backing to the initiative.