Yesterday, CTA’s Next Generation made a move that marked the next turning point in its history. The Next Generation, more familiarly known as NextGen to its members, officially rebranded itself as CTA 20/30 on August 15, 2010.
The renaming of the young adult ministry of course begets the question: “What is the significance of a name?” In this case, it is more than a cursory label or a brand. In a Catholic understanding, it factors into the group’s identity and its place in the greater CTA family.
Call To Action (CTA), founded in 1976 as a lay movement in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, holds conferences annually. CTA, as a progressive organization, continues to work towards its value of social justice and its goal of internal Church Reform. The organization tackles a milieu of social issues plaguing both contemporary society and our Church. In years past, conference has focused on anti-racism, sexism, LGB issues, and ecological concerns.
The name change could not come at a more appropriate time. From November 5-7, 2010, CTA will present an intergenerational theme at its conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Faithful Prophets: God Alive in Every Generation. NextGen has always had an important presence at conference, however the new CTA 20/30 will have a more involved role this year with a theme intended to bridge the generation gap.
Part of the impetus for the name change was that “Next Generation” was not an accurate description and created presumptions about the younger generation. The name implied that our time is “up-and-coming” as opposed to “now”. It also presupposed that we are a follow-up to the older “wisdom” generation.
In reality, CTA 20/30 is designed as a young adult ministry and a safe space for young adult progressive Catholics. It is intended to complement its mother organization, not supplant it. The Millennial Generation and Generation X are equals at Christ’s table along with the Boomers and beyond.
The young adults of Call To Action needed a name that reflected our identity; who we are and what we are. The better part of 2010 was spent in the name search process. While the NextGen Leadership Team spearheaded this project, it did rely heavily on input from the greater NextGen membership.
Through the NextGen list-serve and web 2.0 applications such as facebook (a sign of our generation), NextGen opened the lines of communication. The greater membership was instrumental in providing its feedback on what it believes our ministry to be.
Not only did membership provide reflections, but also took part in voting for what our ministry will thenceforth be called. The name change process was not a top-down approach, as we often experience with the hierarchy in our institutional Church. The process was hands-on and democratic; it reflected the Church we hope to be.
Once the votes were tabulated, pursuant to a final discussion from the Leadership Team, we became CTA 20/30. This name conveyed our identity by stating the essentials: we are young adults and we are members of CTA. We are Catholic and we are progressive. We work for justice in our Church and in our society. Our mission is the same as the mission of all CTA membership: to invite all God’s children to the table.
When considering the importance of this process, two instances in scripture immediately came to mind. In Genesis, God renames Abram and Sarai as Abraham and Sarah respectively. This divine renaming is indicative of their covenant with God and the remarkable shift in the paths their lives would take.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks His follower Simon as to who he believes He is. When Simon responds that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus acknowledges that Simon has been inspired by the Holy Spirit and calls him by the new name of Peter, or “rock”. This moment was significant for the progenitors of our Catholic tradition.
As with Abram and Sarai, this is a time of transition as we become CTA 20/30. The mission has always remained the same, but may we see that mission with new eyes, as Simon did. In this time of rebirth and reinvention, may we heed our call to action.
Reinvigorated with our self-identity and sense of purpose, we hope to continue the move for progress within the Church and within our world. CTA 20/30 will celebrate its unveiling at the annual conference in Milwaukee on November 5, 2010. We hope you will join us at the table.
Rick Beitman is a third-year member of the CTA 20/30 Leadership Team. — This is now a blog of CTA 20/30.