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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

A TIME OF TRANSITION
(Part 2)

OUR CHANGE OF NAME

October 8, 2019

We, CFC-FFL, have changed our name to Missionary Families of Christ (MFC), effective October 7, 2019. For a full explanation of this name change, please look to the announcement of the Servant General entitled “A Time of Transition.” But essentially there are 7 basic reasons:

(1) The new name is reflective of our actual identity, of who we are and what we do.

(2) For unity and uniformity throughout the world, considering our community currently has over 10 different names in different countries.

(3) For the sake of mission, since some places are closed to us by bishops simply because of the name we carry, as there is the presence of the other CFC.

(4) To avoid further conflict with the other CFC and the scandal that accompanies such conflict.

(5) Because the CFC name is tainted, caused by the scandal of the split of 2007. Some pastors are against CFC and consequently CFC-FFL.

(6) For the sake of future generations, giving them a clean slate unburdened by challenges attached to the CFC name.

(7) In consideration of our application for recognition from the Vatican, which would not want to have 2 CFCs, which perpetuates and institutionalizes the scandal of the CFC split.
 

Q&A

Q: Is there a change in our vision and mission?
A: No. Through the years, God has brought us through different stages and made clear to us what is our vision and mission. Our history is what has shaped us. Now we have a full picture of who we are and what we are called to do. Our charism is evangelization founded on family renewal. We are families on mission.

Q: Is there a change in our pastoral-organizational structure?
A: Basically, no. Our governance and support structures remain the same. One change is in how we look at our Family Ministries. Rather than looking on the main group as the couples and the rest of the family members as adjuncts, we now consider all as Sections of MFC. So in MFC there are couples, handmaids, servants, singles, youth and kids.

Q:
Will we still have couple coordinators for the various Sections?
A: Yes, there will be coordinators, not necessarily couples. These Section Coordinators are tasked with promoting the interest of the particular sections, as part of the overall work of MFC.

Q: Is there a change in our formation program?
A: The basic formation programs remain the same, as these have to do with the basics of the Christian life. Just as the Bible does not change, and all our teachings are scripture-based, then what God has given us by way of formation through the years is still valid and relevant.

Q: But should we not have new teachings and formation?
A: Yes, we do provide new teachings every year. These are (1) developments of the aspects of the theme for the year (which is different each year), (2) From the Servant General articles (if you are not receiving this as directly sent to your email address, ask your leaders to include you in the loop), and (3) new books of the Servant General.

Q: Will there be a change in our CLS?
A: The CLS as our basic evangelistic program will remain the same, except for tweaks here and there to reflect the reality of our new name.

Q: Does the name change have an impact on our evangelization programs?
A: Yes, in the sense that there should from now be greater zeal and commitment to our work of evangelization and mission. We pray that our new name would carry special grace from God for us to be able to live it out.

Q: Will we still use the terms “household servant,” “unit servant,” and so on, for servant leaders?
A: Yes. Servant leadership is of crucial importance, and remains as one of our Core Values. There is only one Master and we are all servants. Authentic servant leadership is not well lived out even among many Church leaders. We are just unprofitable servants, doing what we are obliged to do (Lk 17:10).

Q: Will every MFC member be expected to be a missionary?
A: Our second Core Value is “Evangelistic and Missionary.” Our basic charism is evangelization founded on family renewal. Every MFC member is to be an evangelizer. Everyone can share Christ in his/her day-to-day circumstances of life. As to being a missionary, while that may imply going off on foreign mission, one can be a missionary just in one’s own local environment. Consider the Samaritan woman, who is considered the first missionary. She shared Christ to the people just in her own town.

Q: Why change the name now after 38 years?
A: The name "Couples for Christ” was right for the beginning, as we indeed reached out to couples, for 12 years before beginning the Family Ministries. But we have outgrown this name, which is no longer fully reflective of our identity and mission.For some years now, who we are and what we are called to do has been made clear. Our charism is evangelization founded on family renewal. We focus on the 2 most important aspects of the life of Christians in this world, and that is family and mission. We are families on mission.It is time for our name to accurately reflect our identity and mission.

Q: Why make a change if the thing is not broken?
A: As mentioned in the reasons above for the change, the CFC name is broken. Further, as expounded in the article below (the cure of the man ill for 38 years), there are infirmities. But even if there were none of these, a reason for a name change is to keep at the cutting edge of rapid developments in the world we do our mission in. This is the case with secular rebranding (see article below). Corporations that stay on top and in front are those that have bold foresight and deep insight, and make changes even if they “are not needed.”

Q: What about our reputation with local priests who support CFC-FFL?
A: We are still the same CFC-FFL but with a new name. The nature of our call, our charism, our vision and mission, our work­all will be continued. With that reality, together with all the reasons why we are changing our name, we look to their continued support.

Q: Do we still continue with LCSC?
A: Yes, all the more so. LCSC is the Spirit’s gift as our lay response to the call to the New Evangelization, which we then share with our Church. LCSC is crucial to the life and mission of the Church, considering the dark times we now live in.

Q: What will the relationship be between MFC and LCSC?
A: LCSC remains as separate and distinct from MFC. But MFC gives LCSC its full embrace, engaging it as its own. MFC is still the backbone for LCSC. MFC is able to do truly massive evangelization and full support to the mission of our Church through LCSC.

Q: With LCSC, can we mention that we are MFC?
A: We never need to hide the reality that we are MFC, but at the same time, LCSC is a separate and distinct work, which is of the Church and not belonging only to us. In LCSC, we are a servant of the Church, seeking to serve Christ by helping renew and strengthen his Church. We do not have to take credit as MFC. Further, the reality is that new ecclesial movements (such as CFC, CFC-FFL, MFC), by their very nature, are running parallel to the Church, having their own priorities, even as they strive to serve the Church. This is why there are parish priests who are not keen on ecclesial movements, seeing them as competition to the work of their own parishes.

Q: How will we deal with CFC Global?
A: From the time of the split, we have not engaged in words or actions against CFC Global. Perhaps now that we have a new name, CFC Global will cease speaking against us. We wish them well, as there is much to be done by all Catholic associations of good will.

Q: How about detractors who will find fault or distort things with regard to our name change?
A: There is no need for you to answer or confront them. Rather, you must pray for them. To attack our community that is established by God and is doing a lot of good for the Church is a grave sin on their part.

Q: How will this move impact on any possible reunification with the other CFC?
A: Through the years, the SG had reached out to the very top leadership of CFC Global, a total of four times. He proposed creative unity by having one CFC but with two branches (historically this has been the case with many religious congregations, which have split and re-split). Then perhaps, if God willed it, an improving relationship could lead to actual unity. Unfortunately, the other CFC rejected the proposal each time. Now there is no more possibility of unification. This is for the better, as there is much work to be done overall, without having to contend with different visions for a unified work.

Q: What will happen to the past of CFC-FFL?
A: Whatever CFC and CFC-FFL have undergone through the years will remain part of our history. Our founding is reckoned from June of 1981. God brought us through many stages in our life and mission, culminating in the fullness of the vision that we have now. We are thankful for all that God has done for us.

Q: Does this change have the approval of the Church?
A: We cleared this name change with our Spiritual Directors. But the decision is really up to us, as a lay ecclesial movement within the Church. We of course will inform the bishops, both in the Philippines and in other countries, from October 7.

Q: Do we need to ask for recognition from the bishops again?
A: The basic reality of our being a recognized lay association has not changed. But as we have changed our name, we may have to ask for a new recognition. We believe such recognition will be given without any problem. You should inform your bishops and pastors about our change of name, and do what is needful.

Q: Can we introduce our new name to our local parishes?
A: Yes, you should do so. Let your pastors and other Church personnel know of our new name, so that appropriate adjustments in their records and communications can be made.

Q: Did we not say “Once a CFC, always a CFC; CFC forever”?
A: Maybe some brethren were saying that, but we officially did not say that. A CFC/CFC-FFL member remains as such only if he/she is actively living out the CFC/CFC-FFL covenant. This is why we in CFC-FFL have through the years actively cleaned out our membership rolls to reflect only active membership. Such membership is not an inherent right, but a privilege, given to those who are willing to live the CFC-FFL way of life and mission. CFC-FFL has been strict in considering as members only those who are active and committed. On the other hand, we do pray that those who have become members of CFC/CFC-FFL but are no longer so will continue to live out the life of Christ that they have learned about.

Q: I have an attachment to the name CFC-FFL. How should this be handled?
A: We understand. Our name is important, and it is not that easy to discard a name that has become dear to us. But perhaps this is one way for us to be clearer about what God’s call truly is. The essence of the call is discipleship, following Christ and his way of life. It should not really be about the organization we join, or the name of that organization (important as a name is), but about who we have become. In fact, as you deny yourself our previous name, and as you embrace the cross of losing that name, then you are more well on your way to authentic discipleship.

Q: Can we put the caption “formerly CFC-FFL”?
A: Though there would be nothing wrong with that, and at times it might be necessary to tell people, by way of establishing our credentials, that we are the former CFC-FFL, it is best if we just move on. Besides, a number of the reasons for the name change has to do with the tension with the other CFC. So let us now go beyond that.

Q: In serving our Church, can we still use our CFC-FFL uniforms?
A: You can use your CFC-FFL shirts and other apparel in many situations just as you would use other branded items you might have. However, when doing MFC activities, you should avoid using CFC-FFL items, so as to avoid confusion.

Q: Can we invite those who left after the split back to community when we become MFC?
A: All are welcome to MFC. We intend to do a wide work of evangelization, but not necessarily bringing people to membership in MFC. But there are those whom God would call to a more committed covenant relationship in community. We will do what is best for those people God sends our way.

Q: Should all our communities throughout the world adopt the name “Missionary Families of Christ”?
A: One of the main reasons why we are changing our name is so that we get away from the current situation of our having over 10 different names throughout the world. So we do want to have one common name for all our communities. The name MFC can be translated into Spanish or other languages if that is more suitable for the particular country.
Q: Should the name change be implemented immediately, to include even CLSs that are already prepared or ongoing?
A: While we have changed our name effective October 7, the full implementation or roll-out will be effective January 1, 2020. This gives everyone time to do what is needful, such as informing all our brethren down the line, informing the Church, informing and registering with civil authorities as applicable, designing new websites, etc. Thus, for ongoing CLSs or other community programs in parishes, you can discern whether to implement the name change now or a bit later. Do what is least disruptive.

Q: How soon are we having a new website?
A: We will have one very soon.

Q: Why “of” Christ and not “for” Christ?
A: With the word “of,” we want to emphasize that we belong to Christ. We are totally His. We are His servants. As such, we do only what is His will. The word “for” in a way would put emphasis on what we do for Him, somehow putting the focus and initiative on us rather than Christ.

Q: When do we celebrate our anniversary­June or October? How many years will we be next year­39 or 1?
A: Our foundation is still established from June of 1981. Everything that has happened to us through all these years is a part of our history. God brought us through different stages up to now, to make us what we are now. We are MFC because we were CFC and CFC-FFL. So the MFC anniversary next year 2020 will be our 39th, to be held in June.


The cure of the man ill for 38 years

On this 38th year in the life and mission of CFC/CFC-FFL, we are changing our name. Let us reflect on the story of the cure Jesus did, as told in John 5. “One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.” (Jn 5:5). Now while CFC/CFC-FFL has been and is a great blessing to us all and to the Church, in some ways it had also been ill or infirm.

What were these infirmities or shortcomings? Basically this was about not rising up to the extent of God’s plan for us. Failure to see is blindness. Failure to act is paralysis.

  • In 1981 CFC was a part of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, and as such was like an independent church, functioning apart from the mainstream Church. It did not grasp the intent of God for it to do rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization.
  • With the re-founding in 1993, CFC started its Family Ministries and moved stronger on evangelization, thereby establishing the makings of being Families on Mission. It also moved closer to the Church, but was still a parallel church, running alongside the mainstream Church but not intersecting. It still basically looked to its own priorities and agenda rather than to that of the greater work of Christ in the Church.
  • With the restoration of 2007, CFC-FFL pronounced itself a servant to the Church, moving closer to the mainstream, but basically still did not have an accurate vision for the New Evangelization.
  • With the introduction of LCSC in 2011, LCSC, and by extension CFC-FFL as its backbone, became a servant of the Church. But CFC-FFL up to now still has not been vigorous in its embrace of LCSC, such that the mainstreaming of Catholic lay evangelization is not as yet being fulfilled.

Jesus healed the man. “Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.” (Jn 5:9).With the grace of the name change as it signifies a greater grasp of God’s vision, there should also be a corresponding significant change in how we go about our life and mission. We must by now have a clear vision, and steadfastly live out that vision.

Later Jesus told the man, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” (Jn 5:14). To sin is to “fall short.” It is failure to attain to the fullness of what God intends. So we have sinned, and we hope to sin no more. The times are too critical today, and we as a community are being thrust by God into the fray. We must step up and strive not to fall short. Otherwise, we will not only experience the difficulties and conflicts we are today experiencing, but even worse.

The nature of rebranding

Secular wisdom says, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Well, for the CFC name, it is broke, or perhaps, there are infirmities, as mentioned above. But even if not broken, there are many positive reasons for changing our name. A name is changed not necessarily because it is broken (though that too) but in order to keep the entity at the cutting edge.

Consider the secular examples below. Re-branding is done for various reasons: a shift in strategy, providing a fresh start after a scandal, embracing innovation, the current name no longer representative of what they do, the brand becoming stagnant or controversial, for legal or practical purposes, etc. These seem to be our reasons as well!

Imagine changing “Kraft” to “Mondelez” and “Michael Kors” to “Capri Holdings”!

We of course are not secular but spiritual, not corporate but pastoral. Still, Jesus did commend the dishonest steward, saying that “the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Lk 16:8b).

 

Michael Kors is just the latest company to announce its intention to change its name, following a precedent set by a number of the country's most famous brands. Most frequently, a name change reflects a shift in strategy, but sometimes it can provide a fresh start after a scandal.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/25/michael-kors-is-changing-its-name-to-craft-a-new-identity-so-did-weight-watchers-priceline-and-kraft.html

THEY EMBRACED INNOVATION.

https://www.echostories.com/rebranding-burberry-case-study/

They cite three main reasons: First, if the name no longer represents what they do, and may even constrict them; second, because the brand has become stagnant or has gotten caught up in some controversy that tarnishes its name; and third, for trademark, legal or more practical reasons, said Naseem Javed, chief executive officer of ABC Namebank Inc., a corporate image and naming consultancy with offices in Toronto and New York.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/why-would-a-company-change-its-name/article556291/

When rebranding, make a strong statement and then stand behind it, even if it seems to be bold or unpopular at the time. Your unwavering commitment and dedication is what people will remember, and suddenly, the bold, fresh step you took becomes the norm. Just look at smoking on airplanes and in restaurants to see an example of this philosophy in action.

https://neilpatel.com/blog/rebranding/


* * *


For any further questions, please email the SG at fapcfc@gmail.com.

 

Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
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