It’s had at least seven other names in its long history, from Good News Chapel to Cathedral of the Desert.
For the past 17 years, it’s been known as Cathedral of Joy.
“Some people give names in anticipation, and this is really a name in confirmation. It’s who we are already; it’s who we really are,” then-Pastor Dale White told the Herald in February 1997, after announcing the name change during weekend worship services.
Now, the church off Gage Boulevard in south Richland is changing its name once again — this time to Hillspring Church.
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It’s transitioning gradually to the new moniker and will use both Cathedral of Joy and Hillspring through Christmastime.
In January, it will be solely known as Hillspring Church.
Hillspring leaders said the new name better reflects the church’s values, which include community; discovery; inspiration; preserving and celebrating the beauty of God’s creation; and serving the lost, oppressed and hurting in this community and beyond.
“The primary thing is, we’re all about hope,” said Bryan White, Dale’s nephew and the church’s lead pastor. “We’re very proud of (the name) Cathedral of Joy. But joy and hope are very different things. Specifically, when everything seems lost, joy seems pretty far (out of) reach. That’s when you need hope the most.”
He added that “there’s a newness in ‘Hillspring.’ ”
And also Biblical meaning. “There are so many metaphors with ‘hill’ and ‘spring’ — the Sermon on the Mount, Moses receiving the law” at Mount Sinai, Bryan White said.
Plus themes of baptism, creation and new life.
It’s also fitting in another way, church leaders said, noting Hillspring sits on a hillside and has a natural spring running beneath.
The name change grew out of a strategic planning process earlier this year.
The congregation was quick to embrace it, Bryan White said, noting the announcement during services drew standing ovations.
Hillspring is one of the largest churches in the Tri-Cities. Its Living Nativity program is especially popular, drawing thousands each December for a live-action retelling of the Christmas story.
This year’s theme is “Song of Hope.”
A large sign with the new Hillspring name already has gone up at the church, and staff are changing letterhead and the like.
Tami White, Bryan’s wife, handles graphics and publications. She was part of the team that developed the new logo.
The idea was to create a “word picture,” showing stability but also forward movement, communicating a bubbling up of energy, she said.
The shape and colors evoke a hillside and water.
“One thing that was sort of an unintended surprise in the logo — a lot of people, when they look at it, they see the cable bridge. And also a little bit the blue bridge,” Tami White said.
The church dates back at least 50 years. Leaders know it’s had seven other names before Hillspring, and Bryan White said his uncle Dale believes there may have been a couple more now lost to memory.
The church honors its history — and its many names — but it’s excited about the new one and the future, Bryan White said.
“We have had this tremendous legacy — 50 years, plus. God used every single one of those names,” the pastor said.
“We are so honored God is not done with us yet.”