Baptism of a child

When and where to baptize

A child can be baptized and taken into the Evangelical Lutheran Church if at least one of the childís parents (legal guardians) is a member of the church.  According to the Church Order (Kirkkojärjestys)  parents should have their children baptized without unnecessary delay.  It is practical to do this within two months of a child's birth, because the childís given name(s) should be registered by that time in Finland's Population Register, and when a child is baptized, the church can take care of this registration. Baptism is conducted by a pastor in a church or some other church facility, at home or at some other suitable place.  A baptism in a church can take place in a public worship service or as a separate occasion.  Regardless of the manner and place, however, baptism is a Christian worship service as well as a family occasion.

In Espoo, parents should contact the Service Center of the Lutheran congregations to discuss when and where the baptism of their child is to take place and who is the pastor that will baptize. It is recommendable to do this well in advance, at least two weeks before the intended date.
 

Naming the child

Parents decide on the name of their child within limitations set by Finnish law.  In Finland a person can have a maximum of three given names.  Abbreviations, numerals and names of only one alphabet are not allowed.  Existing family names (surnames) are not to be used as given names.  If parents intend to give a very unusual name to their child, it is good to contact a state registry office (maistraatti) to check that the name is acceptable.  The law concerning given names and family names can be found online in Finnish and Swedish at www.finlex.fi (search Nimilaki or Namnlag).

Registration of the child

The registration form (Lapsen tietojen ilmoittaminen) sent by the Service Center (or by a state registry office, if the mother is not a church member) is filled in by the parents and pastor.  Before or during the discussion with the pastor, the parents fill in the names of the child, mark the mother tongue, sign the form and give it to the pastor who adds information about the baptism and forwards the paper to the Service Center.  There the baptized child is registered as a church member, and the child's names are added to Finland's Population Register.

Godparents

Important people enter a child's life at baptism.  Every person who is baptized in our church must have at least two godparents (sponsors) who are confirmed members of a Lutheran church.  (A godparent is kummi in Finnish and fadder in Swedish.)  If there are more than two godparents, the additional ones may be members of other churches that recognize the validity of a baptism administered in our church, for example Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.  A person who is not a church member cannot be a godparent.
 
If it is not possible to find two godparents for a child, the parents can request the vicar (kirkkoherra) for permission to have the child baptized with only one godparent.  The pastor who is to baptize the child can give advice on how to make this request.
The names and church membership of the godparents are checked before the baptism. For this the parents fill in a list of godparents (Kummien tietojen ilmoittaminen) that they give to the pastor when they meet beforehand.
 
The task of a godparent is to support the parents in the Christian upbringing of the child and to pray for the child and the child's family.  Fot the child the godparent is an important friend and support in the various stages of life. The church supports the parents and godparents in raising the child by arranging Sunday school, children's clubs, confirmation school, worship services and other family and children's activities.

Contacts for more information

Arranging a baptism in a Lutheran congregation in Espoo

To get a pastor and a church or other church facility contact the Service Center (palvelukeskus) of the Lutheran congregations.

Reservations for a baptism

Phone
09 8050 2601
palvelukeskus.espoo@evl.fi

Address
Kirkkokatu 1, 02770 Espoo
(mail:  PL 200, 02771 Espoo)

Pastor in the office
Phone 09 8050 2602

Office hours Mon-Fri 8 AM to 3 PM

Lutheran congretations (parishes) in Espoo

Esbo svenska (Swedish-speaking)
Espoonlahti
Leppävaara
Olari
Tapiola
Tuomiokirkkoseurakunta (Espoo Cathedral Parish)
Baby is babtised with water.