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Do I have to choose godparents when I have my child baptized?

Parents may choose a person or persons to serve as a godparent. However, godparents are not required in The United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline uses the term "godparent" along with the word "sponsor" and does so because in different regions and different churches one or the other of the terms is familiar and comfortable. Both derive from the ancient practice of the church of a mature, reliable Christian serving as a mentor and encourager of persons coming into the Christian life in baptism, whether adult or child. In all infant baptisms, the parents or other family member serve as the primary sponsor, and in many churches another Christian or two are named as "godparents" - sponsors and encouragers for the child. In the case of adults, the sponsor walks with the person on a journey of conversion, until the day they are baptized - perhaps weeks or months after having learned and experienced the way Christians live and think. When it is a child or infant, the sponsor/godparent and the parents walk with the child on a journey of conversion until they claim the way of Christ as his or her own at confirmation or some other profession of faith.

Rev. Dan Benedict
Center for Worship Resourcing
General Board of Discipleship

Learn more about baptism:

By Water and The Spirit
This is Your Baptismal Liturgy