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Sacraments and rites


What happens in baptism?

In baptism, we receive a blessing and we hear the promise of God to all His children: He will always be with us through His love, His Spirit and His blessing. We become part of a worldwide fellowship that is embodied by the congregation present at the baptism.

Baptism at all ages

Most people in the Evangelical Lutheran Church are baptised when they are infants but there is no age limit for baptism. Some people are baptised as adults. Others choose to be baptised as teenagers, shortly before their confirmation.

Parents, godparents and witnesses

When a child is baptised, its parents and godparents gather round the baptismal font. The one who carries the child answers on the child's behalf when the pastor asks if it renounces the devil and believes in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The parents promise to bring up the child in the Christian faith. The godparents' task is to take the parents' place, if they should die, in bringing up the child in the Christian faith. When an adult is baptised, witnesses and not godparents take on this spiritual responsibility.

Baptism as part of the sunday service

Baptism follows the same order in all churches and usually takes place on Sundays. However, some churches hold a separate baptismal service, which leaves more time for the pastor to explain what baptism is and to tell the godparents about their task. You can find the order of baptism in the liturgies on the page Liturgies in other languages.

Home or emergency baptism

In the case of illness baptism can take place at home or in hospital. In an emergency situation, anyone who is baptised can perform the baptism. If the child recovers, it may later be presented to the congregation through a rite that resembles that of baptism.

Want to hold a baptism?

If you want to hold a baptism in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, you need to contact the pastor of your local parish church. When an adult wishes to be baptised, the pastor usually suggests a time of preparation that includes conversations, readings and reflection regarding the Christian faith.