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Recommendations on baptism in the Nordic Lutheran churches

Responding to the challenges of pluralistic and multifaith society and the changing landscape of baptism are the focus of recommendations to the Lutheran folk churches from a joint Nordic consultation project on baptism

Photo: Kristin Lidell.

Baptism is changing in the Nordic countries: Numbers of infant baptism are declining but the baptism of youth and adults is growing. There is need to explore greater variations in baptismal practice, different services and liturgy for different contexts and ages.

Responding to the challenges of pluralistic and multifaith society and the changing landscape of baptism are the focus of recommendations to the Lutheran folk churches from a consultation on baptism, Jan. 19th – 20th 2022.

The online consultation gathered some 50 practitioners, researchers, and church leaders, and was the final part of the research project “Baptism in times of change“, conducted 2020-2022 by a group of national researchers from the Lutheran folk churches of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The learning points from the Nordic project and the consultation are based on information collected and collated by the researches and on nine webinars on baptism conducted in 2021.

Read learning points and recommendations here.

The learning points look at four aspects of the baptismal landscape: Statistics and societal change, theologies of baptism, communicating baptism and the baptismal practice. Declining baptismal numbers and changing customs in society is seen as a challenge to review traditions, to engage more actively in dialogue with other traditions and to work with theologies of baptism in ways that are accessible and understandable.

The annotated bibliography is found at www.churchesintimesofchange.org and can be downloaded for free as a data sheet or as a pdf. handbook which includes introduction to each of the national contexts and several initial comparative analyses of main themes. The webinars were attended by 30+ - 100+ participants each time. In total 350 people registered for the webinars, many attending several or all of them, and recordings are available online.

The project on baptism was part of  a wider the joint Nordic initiative Churches in Times of Change (CITC) which focuses on changes in ecclesial practice and theology in the Nordic region.

For more information see the Churches in times of change website.

Contacts

Sweden: Magnus Evertsson (magnus.evertsson@svenskakyrkan.se)

Iceland: Steinunn Bjornsdottir (steinunn@neskirkja.is)

Finland: Jyri Komulainen (jyri.komulainen@evl.fi)

Norway: Harald Hegstad (harald.hegstad@mf.no);

Denmark: Jonas Adelin Jørgensen (jaj@interchurch.dk)