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Church of Norway to offer 'drop-in baptisms'

by Kelly Valencia
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The concept of drop-in baptisms is very simple: you go to a church, sign a form, have an interview with the pastor and then be baptised. 

That's what the Church of Norway will be offering people in their local communities for two weeks in 2023 during their second consecutive national baptism awareness campaign. 

The Church first started experimenting with the idea in 2021, after seeing a drop in people interested in the ritual because of the Covid pandemic. 

For two weeks, people could show up at a designated Church of Norway local chapel and ask to be baptised. The Church said almost 60 people came forward for baptism, including several children, and non-members in one diocese alone. 

For Asbjørn Paulsen, a churchwarden in Sarpsborg, 'drop-in baptisms' are a good solution to avoid the financial strain the ceremony can put on families. 

"Some [people] said they chose drop-in baptism precisely because of this. That's why we think it's important to offer drop-in baptisms every year, so that those who don't have the financial means to throw a big family party after the baptism can more easily choose baptism. 

"This is a full-fledged christening ceremony, but it does not oblige you to have a full meal for the whole extended family afterwards." 

But although many local priests support the idea, others think it "trivialises" the ritual. 

Pastor Stein Ellinggard, who has researched the idea for years, told CNE news baptism is no longer seen as a rite but as an initiation of the rite. 

"The rite of passage is the classical Lutheran baptismal theology that the baptised go from death to life. An initiation rite means that one is taken into a community",

Although 'drop-in baptisms' is a national initiative, local chapels can decide whether to join the campaign. 


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