New prayers for christenings, weddings and funerals

On 7 November 2023, the General Synod approved new collect prayers to be used at church services. These collects will introduce new material for baptisms, confirmations, wedding ceremonies, the consecration of civil marriage and funeral services.

The new collects are closely tied to the life situations of Church members today, and the language used in them is clear and comprehensible.

The General Synod approved the Finnish prayers and tasked the Church Council with ensuring that these prayers are translated into English and other languages. The General Synod also asked the Church Council to prepare for drafting Swedish and Sami intercessions and collects.

Practical measures to promote freedom of religion, religious literacy and interfaith dialogue

The General Synod decided to ask the Church Council to strengthen Church collaboration with the authorities to promote freedom of religion on the basis of the Constitution of Finland, the Act on the Freedom of Religion and the Non-Discrimination Act. The Church Council was also asked to prepare instructions, materials and training on meeting with immigrants who have converted to Christianity and non-religious people. 

In its report, the General Synod’s Church Manual Committee calls for strengthening interfaith dialogue and religious literacy. The General Synod requested that the Church Council work together with parishes to find ways to defend and support everyone’s right to convert or not convert to a religion.

In the summer, the Church Council conducted a survey among those working with immigrants. In the survey, more than half of the respondents reported that they had either met in their work or heard about people with an immigrant background who had converted to Christianity and experienced a threat to themselves or their families for religious reasons. The survey provided background information for training that will be held in the spring of 2024.

North American Anglican-Lutheran agreements approved 

The General Synod decided to consider the Called to Common Mission agreement between the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Called to Full Communion: The Waterloo Declaration agreement between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada comparable with the Porvoo Communion.

The Porvoo Communion is a communion of 15 predominantly northern European Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran churches. The communion was established in 1992 by a theological agreement entitled the Porvoo Common Statement, which establishes full communion between and among these churches.

The General Synod’s decision involved no new agreements: instead, it ratified the compatibility of existing agreements.

Half a million to rebuild the church in Kiihtelysvaara

The General Synod approved both the Central Church Fund’s budget for 2024 and its action and economic plan for 2024–2026. The budget shows a deficit of EUR 0.46 million. After a lively conversation and a vote, the General Synod decided to contribute EUR 500,000 towards rebuilding the Kiihtelysvaara church, which was destroyed in a fire in 2018.

The General Synod confirmed that in 2024, of the EUR 124.1 million paid by the Finnish Government to the Central Church Fund, EUR 113.8 million will be divided among parishes according to the euros per municipality member principle. The Central Church Fund covers the Church Council’s activities, diocesan activities, grants, Government funding and independent funds.

The General Synod’s secretary general was Hertta Keisala, Master of Laws, who is holding the position for the first time. This General Synod term’s final meeting week ended on 10 November 2023, and the new General Synod will be elected next year. The General Synod elections and diocesan board elections will be held on 13 February 2024, and nominations for candidates are accepted until 15 November 2023. 

Back to top