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Q&A: Why is Bayside Church of Citrus Heights no longer called Bayside?

Heights Church, formerly Bayside Church of Citrus Heights, is located on Sylvan Road in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

By Rylie Friesen–
A recent change in name of a large and visible church on Sylvan Road has left some residents wondering why the change was made.

Heights Church, formerly known as Bayside Church of Citrus Heights, officially changed names last year. Pastor Craig Sweeney cleared up rumors and explained more about the name change in a video published in November, featuring Sweeney and two pastors from Bayside Church of Granite Bay: Ray Johnston and Jim Holst.

The trio shared that twelve years ago, Bayside made the decision to partner with the then-struggling church — now known as Heights Church — to support them during financial difficulty. The church was in a lot of debt and on a “slow decline” financially, almost at the point of foreclosure, according to the interview.

Holst had met with the Citrus Heights board to figure out how partnership would look like. Johnston and Holst then met with Granite Bay’s board to decide if the partnership was the right decision.

Johnston said he laid the situation out to the Granite Bay board: “I said, if this works, our church will lose money, tie up our finances, and lose people and all their tithing. It won’t benefit us in any way, but it might help Citrus Heights.”

He said the board decided to help the struggling Citrus Heights church.

More than a decade after that decision, Pastor Sweeney said the latest name change is about growth, and the ability to differentiate the two churches. He said no issues have arisen between the churches.

Johnston said Bayside has helped churches all around the country. Some have kept the original name, others became Bayside, and others created an entirely new name.

“God is far more interested that churches thrive, than what they call themselves,” Johnston said. “The best thing you could do is name your church something that reflects who you are.”

Watch the video interview: Click here.

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