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New Bethany Nonprofit Undergoes Slight Rebrand, Drops 'Ministries' from Name | WDIY Local News

Sarit Laschinsky
New Bethany, a secular nonprofit providing food and housing assistance to residents of Bethlehem, is dropping the "Ministries" portion of its name.

A local housing and food insecurity nonprofit has undergone a slight name change.

According to a release, New Bethany in Bethlehem has dropped the “Ministries” part of its name.

The organization is a secular nonprofit and says there are two main reasons behind the change. First, New Bethany said the term “ministries” no longer means the same thing to everybody the organization serves.

This includes people who may not be Christian or do not practice Christian traditions, and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Second, the nonprofit said the new change reflects a previous change made in 2018, when New Bethany Inc. became an independent 501(c)(3) organization separate from its founder, the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem.

According to its website, New Bethany began as an interfaith ministry in the early 1980s to relieve poverty in SouthSide Bethlehem. It was founded as a permanent nonprofit in March 1985 with the help of the city and the Episcopal Diocese.

“We quite literally would not exist without the faith-based community,” Associate Executive Director Veronne Demesyeux said in the release.

“At the same time, it takes tremendous courage for our neighbors to walk through our doors and ask for help and we need to reflect that same courage in removing any potential barriers that we can.”

New Bethany said in its release that it “remains proud of its roots and grateful for the ongoing partnership with the Nativity Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem.”

The organization said it also remains committed to partnerships with other faith communities to care for local underserved individuals.

New Bethany’s services include its SouthSide Drop-In Center, which includes a meal center, wellness center, and hygiene services, a food pantry, and several housing assistance, homelessness prevention, and affordable housing programs.

(Original air-date: 8/22/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.