Musings of a Seminary Intern - Our New Name - By Brian Schroeder

When I was in third grade, I decided that the name Brian was just not good enough. I wanted to be Max. Max seemed like a kid who would ride skateboards and play pranks and throw caution to the wind. Brian was SUPER boring. I thought if only I could change my name, if only I could be Max, I would be cool. I begged and begged my mother to legally change my name. She declined. And I eventually grew comfortable with being a Brian (mostly).

If you think about it, though, why didn't my mother let me change my name? In fact, I was one doctor’s opinion away from being an Eric—which became my younger brother’s name. Would me-named-Eric act the same as me? Would me-named-Eric be exactly like my little brother?!?

Maybe. Or perhaps my parents, in their wisdom and discernment felt something and just knew that this baby they held....this was a Brian. There was just assurance that it felt right—all it meant in that moment and all it would grow to mean. All its limitations and all the ways I would shape it. I am no Max. I am no Eric. I am Brian, with all the complexity that comes with.

You are now Welcome Table. You will soon be filling your idiosyncrasies into a new building and the name will form-fit snugly over all that means. You chose a name not out of third grade angst but out of mature wisdom and discernment around what you know and hope for this community, as you have dealt with its pregnant reimagining over the past several years. You chose a name that reflects who you are and where you have been, and yet that name is also going ahead of you and shaping you into more than you’ve imagined. As you build, you are building into that name.

There is something about Welcome Table, as I have sat in this community, that feels true of you. It also, I believe, will stretch and challenge you to grow as the name seeps deeper and deeper into your being. At some point you may curse your name and its demands on you— couldn’t we have gone with something more Max-ish?—but it will be in those moments that you will learn what it really means to be you.

May you be Welcome Table—named for the hospitality and openness of your past but also of your future. May your name continue to form your identity, and may the audacity of the bold claim to hospitality constantly remind you of who you are in Christ.