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Focus on baptisms in light of recent decline

ELCD trying to turn the tide with awareness-raising events about baptisms

Many young families choose not to have their children baptized. Photo: Ib Rasmussen. 


Focus on baptisms in light of recent decline

The number of baptisms in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark (ELCD) is decreasing. Numbers from The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs reveal that from 1990 till 2014 the percentage of baptisms nationwide dropped from 80,6 to 62,6. 

Astrid Krabbe Trolle, a researcher in sociology of religion, has written a national rapport about young families’ views on baptism. Trolle says that the decrease in baptisms can be explained by 3 factors, namely individualization, secularization and religious diversity.

ELCD is now trying to turn the tide.

In 2017, the Innovation Fund of he ELCD supports initiatives which focus on baptism and present it as an essential and substantial start into life. The fund also encourages projects which attempt to examine and explain for what reasons a growing number, among them particularly young families, decide not to have their children baptized.

Churches in Gentofte, in the North of Copenhagen, send out a brochure about baptism to all new parents in the city.

In Odense the diocese has arranged different new events relating to baptism. A new baptism fair has been established including among others a free concert, baptism inspiration and party tips. All families with new-born infants received an invite to the baptism fair. Moreover, the church introduced baptism commercials on public buses as a way of raising awareness and making families consider the possibility of having their children baptized.

Currently The Union of Parish Councils is trying to bring together  sets of good practices and experiences from all the parishes relating to baptism, hereby making an effort to reverse the plummeting christening numbers throughout the communities.