Roots + Rivers is the new name for the family of churches comprising Aston & Cote, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Fairford and Witney Community Churches. Prior to 2021 we were known as the West region. We recognise that working together for purpose goes beyond our structures, so Fairford Community Church, whilst not part of the OCC charity, is very much part of Roots + Rivers. See Our Churches for more information.
Why adopt a new name?
In 2011, when we first started working together as churches in West Oxfordshire, we were informally known as 'West' or the 'West Region', since it described our geographical location. As we started to develop our vision together, we felt prompted by God to find the new identity he had for us. This was important to us because we wanted to choose a name which better describes who we are and what we are called to, particularly as, in recent years, we've increasingly started to connect beyond West Oxfordshire.
How did you choose the name?
The Regional Apostolic Team commissioned a small group to work together to go through a process of prayerfully discerning the name that God had for us. This smaller group was facilitated by Steve Morris (pastor of Joel’s place church and an industry expert in this area) who led them through a prayerful process together. Out of this process the group unanimously recommended the name Roots + Rivers, which has now been adopted.
Does this mean that we are leaving OCC?
No! In the 2000s Oxfordshire Community Churches (OCC) grew to the point where God called us to reconfigure our life together. So in 2011 three new Regional teams were commissioned with a mandate to develop vision, life and relationships within their churches. Those groupings have grown beyond the borders of OCC and developed into OpenGate churches, the Central region and Roots + Rivers. Adopting a new name and identity is part of the natural development of OCC into three families of churches, which reach beyond geographical and organisational boundaries.
Can you explain the logo?
The name Roots + Rivers draws on several biblical images of trees planted by streams and drawing life from outside themselves (cf. Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:7-8). These trees flourish and prosper because they are deeply rooted in God and draw on the water for life. Our logo is an abstract representation of a tree, with canopy, roots and a river.
If Root + Rivers is a church, why not use a cross rather than a plus?
Roots + Rivers is itself not a church, rather it is a network or family of churches who are called together to build strong churches and tell our communities the good news about Jesus.
Are all our churches becoming Roots + Rivers?
No. We operate together as a family, and the name of each church is a matter for the elders and leaders of each church. It may be, as time goes on, that we decide together or individual churches decide to adopt Roots + Rivers as a name for their church.
What about the Roots + Rivers band?
The Roots + Rivers band have been very generous in allowing us to adopt their original name for our family of churches. Roots + Rivers worship will continue as an integral part of our work together as churches.