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What’s in a name?

What if every new call meant that you changed your name?

I know this is a silly question; in fact, as someone who did change his last name at marriage, I know such a process would be a huge hassle!

But if you stop and think about it, this is a very intriguing idea that the Pope takes a new name based on figures of the past. I suppose that Francis I meant to evoke the memory of Francis Xavier, who founded his Jesuit Order, as well as Francis of Assisi, one of the most beloved religious figures of all time.

Which begs the question, who are the figures in Presbyterian history that you would like to remember?

We had this discussion at the church I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian. Of course, there is nothing wrong with picturing yourself as Calvin XVI or Knox III, but let’s keep in mind our theology around the priesthood of all believers. People don’t have to be “famous” in order to be a saint. And so, our members recalled Bonnie, our amazing Sunday School teacher, and Warren, who hosted incredible fellowship suppers.

As NEXT is about forming connections, please use the comments page below to share those names who have made a difference in your ministry, either while sharing a cup of coffee across a table or across the vastness of time and space. What names would you evoke to inspire people in today’s world? And, for bonus points, please share a memorable quotation from this person.

Since I raised the question, it’s only fair to share:

Dr. John Trotti, “Let the water soak you to the fullest as you walk the good earth.”

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.


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