The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has 400 parishes.
This is what they do:
- Organise public worship
- Administer the sacraments of baptism and holy communion
- Conduct weddings, funerals and other ceremonies
- Administer records on behalf of the state
In addition, the parishes offer the following:
- Children's and youth work
- Pastoral care
- Diaconal work
- Mission work and other activities based on the Christian message
Every Lutheran parish enjoys extensive operational, financial and administrative independence. As a rule, parish boundaries are the same as those of municipalities. In large towns, a number of parishes are often grouped in a parish union, which may sometimes cover the area of two or more municipalities. Parishes work either in Finnish, in Swedish or in both languages.
The ministry of every parish is led by a vicar. Parish councils establish additional positions for chaplains and other pastors as required. Pastors are responsible for offering worship, administering the sacraments, officiating at other services and providing pastoral care and teaching.
Every parish has at least one cantor and one deacon. Cantors run the musical life of their parish. The parish deacon may be an ordained person or a nurse, who is responsible for the parish's carative ministry, offering support to those in the greatest need.
Most parishes also have children and youth workers and mission secretaries. Parishes also employ office staff, property managers and cemetery workers. More than half of parish employees are engaged in such administrative roles.
A large number of people work alongside parish employees in a voluntary capacity and are thus involved in the Church's mission in a variety of ways.