Yesterday evening a post was made on Mars Hill Seattle’s blog explaining the situation referenced here and here and offering an apology.
“Mars Hill Whatevah”® logo by Ed Cyzewski
Here’s an excerpt from their post:
We’re not the only church called Mars Hill, and occasionally there arises confusion between us and other churches that share the “Mars Hill” name, particularly as we now have our churches in four states. This was the case recently when one of our members called us to find out if we had planted Mars Hill churches in the Sacramento, California area. We had not, but when we went to these churches’ websites, it was obvious to us how people could be confused. Each of these three connected churches in the Sacramento region—planted in 2006, 2007, and 2010—bore the “Mars Hill” name and their logo was substantially similar to the logo we’ve used since 1996.
When cases like this arise in the business world, it’s customary for a law office to send a notice asking the other organization to adjust their branding to differentiate it. This is commonly referred to as a cease and desist letter. On September 27, 2011, our legal counsel sent such a letter to these three Mars Hill churches requesting that they change their logo and name. In hindsight, we realize now that the way we went about raising our concerns, while acceptable in the business world, is not the way we should deal with fellow Christians. On Friday we spoke with the pastor of Mars Hill in Sacramento to apologize for the way we went about this. We had a very productive conversation and look forward to continuing that conversation in the days and weeks ahead.
We made a mistake in not calling these churches prior to sending the letter. We should have picked up the phone before sending any other communication.
Unfortunately, rather than hearing from the church in Sacramento, we began hearing that the matter was instead being speculated on by a blogger who did not verify any facts with us and, as a result, provided an inaccurate version of what transpired. This blog post from us is intended to alleviate any confusion.
As a clarification, we have not sued any churches and have no plans to sue any churches.
We have not sent any similar letters to any other “Mars Hill” churches, and we are not planning on asking any church with “Mars Hill” in their name to change their name.
Read the full post here – here’s a rundown of what’s said:
1) The initial blog post that sparked this controversy was misleading.
2) Mars Hill Seattle is not suing anyone.
3) Mars Hill Seattle is not asking any other “Mars Hill” to change their name.
4) Mars Hill Seattle apologized for having their legal department send a cease and desist letter – they should have instead called and spoken with MH Sacramento’s pastor instead of sending that letter.
Glad to get this clarified – hope they come to a swift resolution.