Church of Norway offers drop-in baptism as supplement to baptism services


Northern Europe


Baptism of an infant. Photo AFP, Philippe Huguen

Just show up at Church, conduct a baptismal interview and then get your children baptised immediately. That is how the concept of drop-in baptisms works. The Church of Norway has decided to organise specific days on which this is possible.

Between May 27 and June 11, 2023, the Church of Norway will designate several days on which people can come to Church for drop-in baptisms. That is reported by Dagen based on an announcement on the website of the Church of Norway, kirken.no.

In the autumn of 2021, the Church of Norway experimented with the marketing of baptism. The reason for that was the falling number of baptised people during the Covid pandemic. Nationally, about 4,000 fewer people were baptised in 2020. The campaign seemed to work. After an advertising film was shown in local cinemas, 19 baptisms were carried out in five local churches.

Flexible times

Church council director Ingrid Vad Nilsen now hopes for a significant effect of the drop-in baptisms as well. “We hope that as many churches as possible open for flexible times during these two weeks next spring”, she says to Dagen.

The Norwegian pastor Endre Fyllingsnes has conducted drop-in baptisms in his Church in Fredrikstad. He says that several children of non-Christians were baptised. “Adults in the baptismal event said it made an indelible impression to be part of the ceremony. Also, volunteers stated that this was the most meaningful day they had had in the church”, he says, according to kirken.no.


Pastor Stein Ellinggard has researched the phenomenon in depth. He was one of the first pastors who introduced drop-in baptism, CNE.news reported earlier.

Ellinggard concluded that more and more people have a personal motivation for being baptised. “Baptism is a choice made for its own sake. In this sense, you can say that drop-in baptisms reflect the time we live in. We have become more individualistic.”

In addition, many people nowadays see baptism no longer as a rite of passage but as a rite of initiation. “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”, Ellinggard explained. He added that more and more people see the Church as a service they can choose.



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