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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Godparents minus 'god'?

The role of godparent is broadening, according to a recent report from Religion News Service. Increasingly they’re chosen for nonreligious reasons.

Today’s parents are more practical, says Linda Murray of Babycenter.com, a resource for parents. One single mom chose her best friend because she also wanted to name her as guardian. Most parents choose someone who will have a place of honor in their child’s life, Murray says, and that means anything from a strong role model to someone who helps rear the child.

Elaine Ramshaw, author of The Godparent Book (Liturgy Training Publications, 1993), says, “Having other-than-parent sponsors for babies didn’t start as an official church idea—lay people wanted to do this themselves. So choosing godparents has always been about two things: raising a child faithfully and expanding the child’s support system.

“The church should be hospitable to the wish to choose non-Christian godparents, especially when it comes out of serious consideration of who would be the best role model, the most involved and caring adult.”


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