Tradition & Baptismal Sponsors

The lectern, altar, pulpit, and baptismal font of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Serbin, Texas

There’s been no small amount of discussion of baptismal sponsors in our home over the last few days, partly because, God willing, our soon-to-be-born child will be baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Thorndale in early October, but also because of my post from a few days back about Pr. Kilian baptizing the firstborn child of Pr. & Mrs. Stiemke.

Margie noted Wednesday night that in one of the books she’d been reading in the library at the Wendish Museum in Serbin (we’re not sure which one, though we’re pretty sure it was written by a local-to-Lee County author with Wendish heritage), the author stated that the custom was to have two men and one woman sponsor a male child, and two women and one man sponsor a female child.

I recalled that in Pr. Kilian’s note to Pr. Blitz, he stated that the sponsors for Pr. & Mrs. Stiemke’s daughter, the sponsors were Mrs. Leubner, Hulda Kilian (Kilian’s daughter), and Pr. Proft. So that would fit in with that tradition.

So I went looking for information about that tradition. So far the one thing I’ve found is this bit, from the Legantine Council of York in 1195 (so, in Catholic England):

“We command that in baptism no more than three (sponsors) receive a child from the holy font; viz. two men and one woman for a boy, and two women and one man for a girl…”

It would seem that the pattern potentially was fairly widespread, then.

Do any of y’all know anything about that tradition?

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