FSD3264 Parish Support to Asylum Seekers 2016

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  • Church Research Institute
  • Siirto, Ulla (Diaconia University of Applied Sciences)
  • Niemi, Hanna (Diaconia University of Applied Sciences)


asylum seekers, church, cooperation, refugees, religion, religious attendance, religious personnel, social support, voluntary work


This survey study charted support provided to asylum seekers by Finnish Evangelical Lutheran parishes during and after the 2015 mass influx of people seeking asylum in Finland. Themes included types of immigrant work done in the parish, practices, challenges, and cooperation with other groups. Respondents were employees of parishes responsible for asylum seeker support services.

First, the respondents were asked about reception centres in the parish region as well as the types of support that the parish provided to asylum seekers in the autumn of 2015 and provides currently (e.g. temporary lodging, leisure time activities, work, language teaching). The type and duration of temporary accommodation needed in the parish area was charted in more detail. The respondents were also asked whether the parish had done immigrant work before the autumn of 2015.

The next questions concerned voluntary workers and organisations participating in supporting asylum seekers. It was charted which organisations the parish collaborated with in providing support to asylum seekers (e.g. municipality, Finnish Immigration Service, Finnish Red Cross, Pentecostal Church). Respondents were also enquired about parish employees participating in support provided to asylum seekers, the number of voluntary workers involved, work tasks of volunteers, asylum work funding, and organisation of interpreting work. Attitudes of different groups toward asylum work of the parish were also examined, as well as whether the parish had focused enough efforts on bringing asylum seekers and native Finns together. In addition, the respondents' views were charted on success and problems in providing help to asylum seekers.

Conflicts arising in the support provided to asylum seekers by the parish were also charted relating to, for instance, cultural differences, gender, language, and child-rearing. Finally, respondents were asked about asylum seeker participation in religious events of the parish as well as whether asylum work had had an effect on the practices of the parish. For instance, questions examined which church events asylum seekers had attended and whether immigrant work had brought new elements into parish activities.

Background variables included, for instance, the respondent's job title, size of the parish, and diocese to which the parish belonged.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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