Parish councils and boards

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, parishes function independently and have a democratically based administration.

The council is the supreme decision-making body in a parish, and it is elected every four years. The council adopts the parish’s annual budget, determines the local church tax rate, and creates and terminates positions within the parish.

The board is the highest executive body in a parish, and it is elected by the parish council. The board is responsible for the planning and implementation of the council's decisions. The board nominates most candidates for parish positions for formal appointment by the diocesan council, whereas the council appoints all clergy, with the exception of the vicar, who is elected by the entire parish.

Where there is more than one parish in a city or municipality, the parishes increasingly belong to a parish union that manages the finances of all its parish members. Parish unions are served by joint councils and boards, while each parish in the union has its own board elected by the parish. The Church and its parishes function as a public corporation, just like the Finnish state and its municipalities.

Every parish member has a vote. To use yours, find out about the electoral associations in your parish – or set up your own.