On the changing of your name

River Needham
Jan 20, 2017 · 2 min read

Recently, I completed the process for changing my name. An ill fitting and rarely used name became something dedicated to the relics of history, and River became my legal name of record. My interests lie in ritual and so, I offer this ritual for such an auspicious occasion.

Background Music:

[God] Knows My Name — by Yiruma

Beloved Child of the Universe, You are the breath of thousands of dead stars, Forged in firey furnaces beyond imagination, spread so far apart from each other, brought together to create the frame that you inhabit. You know that more than the breath of stars, you are the stories that form you?

We remember you. We remember the name that your parents gave you at your birth. _______ and to give you a new name, ______. As followers of Jesus, we look to the Love G-d sent to this earth. We follow the example of one called Jesus. We gather together to remember who you are, and where you are going. Beloved, would you share something about your new name?

Friends, please stand and join with us as our Beloved [Name], [reaffirms/makes] the promises of this community.

N., Do you promise to live among God’s faithful people? I Do. N., Do you promise to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper? I Do. N., Do you promise to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed? I Do. N., Do you promise to serve all people following the example of Jesus; to resist evil in all it’s forms, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth? I Do.

Community, Do you promise to walk with [N] as [he/they/she] faithfully follows God? We Do! Do you promise to honor [N] with the fullness and diversity they bring to our community? We Do! Do you promise to share your lives with [N] as you do with all of those here? We Do!

N, we welcome you today as part of our community, no longer as a name now removed to history, but with the love and stories that have shaped you into the person you are today. We Welcome You.


River Needham

Written by

They/Them, Queer Trans Femme, Fat, White, Graduate Student, Listener.