Wise thoughts from the Lademoen Lutheran parish church in Trondheim in Central Norway? (Photo: kirkesok.no)
As the first church in Norway, Lademoen Lutheran parish church in Trondheim offers drop-in christenings. The parish priest hopes more people will choose to be baptized.
– The Church must look reality in the eye and rethink. We believe that christening is a nice thing to bring with you in life, and will lower the threshold. Therefore we arrange drop-ins, says parish priest Stein Ellingaard in Lademoen Church to regional newspaper Adresseavisen.
On May 9, Lademoen Church arranges christenings between 12 pm and 4pm. Here, children and adults can be baptized in less than half an hour.
– We want to arrange a christening where people can just stop by. They must bring a birth certificate and godparents, then they will be registered and have a conversation with the priest before the ceremony takes place. In the end, there will be served coffee and cakes in the church. Everything is completed within 20-30 minutes, says Ellingaard to Adresseavisen.
Decline in Christenings
The reason for this initiative is the decline in christenings in the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, the largest church in Norway.
In recent years there has been a decline in number of children who were baptized. In 2014, according to Vårt Land newspaper, 58.9 percent of the children were baptized. The decline from 2013 is 3.1 percent. According to Statistics Norway, the proportion of christenings has fallen by over 18 percent in the past decade.
– Lademoen Church is one of the most vulnerable churches, since we are located in a big city (Editor’s Note: A big city in Norwegian perspective). Here we quickly notice the impact of people not christening their children, says the parish priest.
He cannot say what the cause of the sinking number is.
– Maybe because people move a lot and the relationship with the local church disappears. In addition, it is common that more people participate in baptisms than before. It is like a mini wedding and can become very costly. Not everyone can afford this, he says.
This is a pilot project and the congregation is not just positive.
– Some believe this is just nonsense. They believe that christening is the most important action one does, and that this initiative will lower seriousness of what it is really all about. I believe it is quite the opposite. In a drop-in christening, the action itself is in focus, not the huge, blue cake with an arrangement at the top that looks like a baby. Today, people have a strong pressure from society. Everything should be perfect and a christening is by many seen as the new wedding. Only the invitations can cost more than 1000 kroner (125 dollars) to send. It is important to focus more on the action itself and not everything else, says Head of Lademoen Parish, Marie Hauge Gonzalez to Adresseavisen.
Text modified by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews