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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Now what? Choosing godparents

Q: I want my best friend, who is agnostic, to be our baby’s sponsor, but my wife disagrees. Does a sponsor really have to believe in God or is this just an honorary gig?

BaptismA: Most churches don’t grill parents on these decisions. While some parents look for a Lutheran mentor as a godparent, others view the role as an honorary salute to an important person in their family’s life.

No matter the reason for the pick, sponsors join parents at the font in response to God’s connection with the baby. They agree to back up the parent(s) in their promises to teach, shape and nurture the child’s growing faith.

If your friend can’t authentically make this commitment, he shouldn’t do it. Instead, include him in a different yet meaningful role in the service, such as presenting a gift to the baby as a reminder of the day.


Comments

Rudy

Rudy

Posted at 12:50 am (U.S. Eastern) 1/14/2009

Two terms used here . .sponsor and godparent . . really two different things with overlapping responsibilities. Being a sponsor would be more focused on aiding the child to be a happy productive member of society while being a godparent would be more focused on aiding the child to develop their faith and discern God's will in their lives. The primary focus of the sponsor is secondary to the godparent and the primary focus of the godparent is secondary to the sponsor.

Pat Don

Pat Don

Posted at 3:21 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/21/2009

My husband and I are joining the Lutheran Religion/Church.  We were both raised Catholic and our families are still Catholic.  We are going to baptize our kids in the Lutheran Church.  Can we choose Godparents who are Catholic?

Diana Dworin

Diana Dworin

Posted at 12:51 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/23/2009

You betcha -- and pop open Evangelical Lutheran Worship to pages 227-229 to see for yourself. You'll notice that the promises sponsors are asked to make during baptism are all under the umbrella of Christianity, which includes a variety of traditions, including Roman Catholicism. In particular, sponsors directly are asked: "Do you promise to nurture these persons (the baby and parents) in the Christian faith as you are empowered by God's Spirit, and to help them live in the covenant of baptism and in communion with the church?"

Best wishes to you, your family and your sponsors to be. And, just for the record, my youngest daughter's godmother is Catholic. Smile

 

 

 

Beckie H

Beckie H

Posted at 4:56 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/21/2009

Can you have both Godparents and a sponsor at the baptism?

Diana Dworin

Diana Dworin

Posted at 4:04 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/15/2009

I don't see why not.

 

Megan W

Megan W

Posted at 10:54 am (U.S. Eastern) 6/7/2009

I'd like to ask my sister-in-law to be my daughter's Godmother but I'm not sure if she was ever baptized. She does attend church(Southern Baptist maybe?) and loves my daughter with all her heart. Can she be a Godmother having never been baptized herself?

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

Posted at 6:34 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/26/2009

Megan,

If your sister-in-law is a believer and loves your daughter, there is no reason she can't be her Godmother.

She may wish to be baptised as a result, herself!

Beth

Beth

Posted at 4:46 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/17/2010

I can not understand why parents would want to have non-Lutheran sponsors for their children. It's not enough that the sponsors just be Christian. Just because my friend is Christian does not mean that s/he will help to raise my children in the Lutheran faith. There is a reason I do not join churches with false teaching. Why would I want to risk having my children taught false doctrine?



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