Meet the Godparents: A Multifaith Guide

Do all religions have godparents? Use this chart to see which faiths have godparents or an equivalent,
and how the roles of godparents differ across religions. BACK TO GODPARENTS FEATURE

Religion Is there a godparent role? Who can be a godparent? How many can there be?
Catholic Yes, godparents participate in a Catholic baby's baptism. Of the two grandparents, at least one must be a practicing Catholic. The other must be a baptized Christian. Traditionally two
Earth-based Yes, many Pagans and Wiccans use a Goddess-mother and Goddess-father, or Motherguide and Fatherguide, in their baby-naming rituals. Anyone whom the parents choose can have a special relationship with the baby throughout childhood. One or two
Eastern Orthodox Yes, godparents sponsor children at baptism and Chrismation. Godparents must be members of the Orthodox faith. Traditionally two
Episcopalian Yes, Episcopalian babies have godparents or sponsors who participate in the baptism ceremony and in their religious development. Godparents can be of any denomination, as long as they are baptized. Often, Episcopalians choose two godparents of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. One or more
Hindu Although Hinduism does have a baby-naming ceremony, called the Namakarana, to mark a baby's entry into the Hindu faith, there is no godparent equivalent in this ceremony.
Jewish Though there is no official godparent role, many parents choose a kvatter and a kvatterin (usally a husband and wife) to give the baby to the mohel (trained specialist in circumcision) or a sandak to hold the baby during circumcision. Anyone chosen by the parents can act as the kvatter, kvatterin, or sandak. They are usually close family members or friends. One or more
Lutheran Yes, sponsors, often called godparents, participate in the baptism of babies or adults. They also assist the integration of the child into the community of faith. Sponsors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should be involved in a Christian community. The Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod requires its sponsors to be "of the same confession of faith." One or more
Methodist Yes, godparents aid in baptism of infants. Godparents should be a member of the church and should help ensure the child is raised Christian. No specifications
Muslim There is no godparent equivalent in Islam.
Presbyterian Though their use is rare, Presbyterians can choose baptismal sponsors to witness the baptism and mentor the child. Parents should choose someone from the same church who is committed to raising the child in the Christian tradition. No specifications
Unitarian Universalist Yes, sponsors play a role in an infant's or child's ceremony of dedication. Anyone chosen by the parents can be a sponsor. The sponsor or sponsors take on a spiritual leadership and guidance role. Traditionally two