A Renaming and Commissioning Service

Written by Adrian White and Jessie Light-Wells


Tonight, we are grateful to celebrate two important transitions in the life of this member of our community, who was baptized at ___________ Presbyterian Church as N[1]. First, we will recognize their[2] new, chosen name, and second, we will commission them for seminary at ______________ where they will be equipped to live out a call to ministry inside and outside the walls of the church.

Friends, we believe in an abundant God who delights in our thriving, and who is with us as we discern our pathways and live into our callings.

God the creator makes us new each day. God calls us by name, even when we are afraid to listen. Throughout scripture, God’s children have been blessed with new names. From Sarah to Paul, God’s followers changed their names to demonstrate their evolving identity

In Genesis, Isaac’s son wrestles a stranger in the wilderness and departs with a new name and a lifelong limp.  The stranger says to him, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and overcome.” In struggle God reveals new parts of our stories.

Today we celebrate this beloved child of God as they live out their call to ministry. Like so many ancestors before them, they discerned the gift of a new name as an expression of their Self, made in the image of God for the goodness of the earth.

And so, Beloved child of God, what should we call you?

N:        My name is ____________

One:   N, bear this name in the name of the creator who made you, the redeemer

who claims you, and the Spirit who enlivens you!
N, in your baptism this church claimed you as a part of our family,

And nurtured you in faith and love.
Now, through the wild and wonderful grace of God,
You have been called.
You have been called beyond this place,
called to grow in faith and knowledge, in commitment and service.

God has called you to seminary, and we send you with

love and prayer as you go.

So, hear these words of commissioning:

One:   N, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We give thanks for your life, your gifts, and your call.

All:    Remember that you are loved by God, and by this community!

One:   As you learn and grow in faith, as you question and doubt, as you make new

friends and strive to stay connected to old friends,

All:    Remember that you are loved by God, and by this community!

One:   As you discern a call to ministry and seek to follow Christ,

know that you are never alone.

All:    Remember that you are loved by God, and by this community!

We send you with love.


As we pray for Adrian and prepare to send them to seminary, we will lay hands

on them. I invite you to extend a hand outward as we bless them with prayer.

God of grace, you claim and call us in baptism,
and by your Holy Spirit you are working in our lives,
empowering us to live a life worthy of your calling.
We thank you for leading N to this time and place,
and we are grateful for all the many ways in which N has shared their gifts here-
In teaching and caring, speaking prophetically and showing compassion.

As they depart for a new journey,
Illumine the path of your servant N,
that they might follow where you lead.
Remind them that they are loved and sent by this congregation,
and that even as they are called to a new place,
this will always be home.

We pray all of this in the one who is with us always, the creator,

the redeemer and the sustainer. Amen.

[1] It may be that some people will not want the name with which they were baptized to be used.

[2] The singular they is used as a placeholder throughout this liturgy. When using it in a worship service, use the pronouns the person uses for his/her/themself.

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