The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has a parochial organization, meaning that parishes have geographical boundaries, and people who are church members belong to a local congregation according to their home address (if they reside in Finland). In some parts of Finland, however, Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking congregations operate in the same geographical area, and a German-speaking Lutheran congregation brings together people with that language from all over the country. Membership in a local congregation, then, may also depend on one’s native tongue.
In Vantaa, Swedish speakers in all parts of the city belong in one Swedish-speaking congregation (Vanda svenska församling), but the Finnish-speaking majority of Lutherans in Vantaa form six congregations, roughly so that two parishes are on the west side of the airport and four on the east side (map below). Click on a link below to find more information on an individual congregation.
Hakunila Lutheran congregation (Hakunilan seurakunta)
Hämeenkylä Lutheran congregation (Hämeenkylän seurakunta)
Korso Lutheran congregation (Korson seurakunta)
Rekola Lutheran congregation (Rekolan seurakunta)
Tikkurila Lutheran congregation (Tikkurilan seurakunta)
Vantaankoski Lutheran congregation (Vantaankosken seurakunta)
Swedish-speaking Lutheran congregation (Vanda svenska församling)
The English words ”congregation” and ”parish” both translate as seurakunta in Finnish or församling in Swedish. A ”congregation” is a local community of Christians (the word is used to speak of people who worship together) whereas the word ”parish” refers to an administrative or geographical unit. (In the past, a rural parish was called pitäjä in Finnish or socken in Swedish, so that what is now Vantaa used to be Helsingin pitäjä / Helsinge socken.) Our seven congregations make up the Vantaa Parish Union.
Each of the seven Lutheran congregations in Vantaa has its own congregational council (Finnish seurakuntaneuvosto, Swedish församlingsrådet) and leading pastor (kirkkoherra/kyrkoherde) who are elected by parishioners to guide activities in the congregation. Each congregation arranges its own worship and other activities. Each congregation has associate and assistant pastors, church musicians, deacons, youth workers, office staff and other employees. It is the parish union, however, that owns church buildings, cemeteries and other facilities of the Lutheran church in Vantaa, and the parish union also runs financial administration. To oversee the parish union, voting-age Lutherans in Vantaa have elected a parish union board (Finnish yhteinen kirkkovaltuusto, Swedish gemensamma kyrkofullmäktige).
The Finnish-speaking Lutheran congregations and parish union in Vantaa belong to the Helsinki Diocese (Finnish website Helsingin hiippakunta), and the Swedish-speaking congregation belongs to the Porvoo Diocese (website in Swedish Borgå stift). Each diocese is led by a bishop.