Bless, not baptize
Could blessing of children be an alternative when parents choose not to baptize?
Many parents who choose not to baptize their child, still want to have a connection to the church for themselves and their children. Often they want the child to choose for itself when it gets older. Others are influenced by a Baptist understanding of baptism, in which a conscious choice is important. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland has developed a liturgy for the blessings of children as an alternative to baptism. Other Nordic churches do not want to use such liturgies.
In this webinar, we will discuss sociological, theological and ecumenical aspects of this question.
- Kristján Valur Ingólfsson, bishop em., ELCI; IS
- Christina Grenholm, Secretary for the church, professor of systematic theology, Church of Sweden
- Comment: Terje Hegertun, Professor in systematic theology, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, NO.
Chair: Karin Tillberg
About the project:
The project “Baptism in times of change” is part of the joint Nordic initiative Churches in Times of Change (CITC) which focuses on changes in ecclesial practice and theology in the Nordic region. In the Nordic region, the situation for the churches is quite comparable theologically, historically, and sociologically. This calls for common reflection and increased ecumenical cooperation between the Nordic folk churches. The CITC is an important step in the realization of our common Lutheran identity. The project is led by professor at MF, Harald Hegstad.
Why focus on baptism? Due to falling numbers, much attention has been given to baptism in recent years. The pilot project is a meta-study, aiming at gathering and analyzing existing material and experiences. In this way, the pilot project facilitates joint reflection and aims to develop recommendations by researchers, church leaders, and practitioners.
How to engage?
In spring 2021 we are planning a series of 5 webinars on each of the main areas of the discussion: Statistics, empirical and qualitative research on baptism, rituals and practice, communication and campaigns, and theological development.
More information is found at the webpage: www.churchesintimesofchange.org