The aim of the project is to study the changing role of churches in the European Union context in Finland and the Baltic countries. Churches have contributed to the emergence of a transnational European civil society. They have also supported the expansion of the EU. Also, the churches have expressed their concern for the religious and ethnic minorities in the countries that have sought EU membership. The central viewpoint of the project concerns the changes in the meaning and in the public role of religion in society. The project seeks to analyse the function of the churches in the building of the welfare and civil society. Focus will be on church-based voluntary work and how it helps and supports the various groups of marginalized and discriminated people. The networking and cooperation of the Lutheran parishes with municipalities and NGOs in various regional development programmes will also be studied. Membership in the EU means increasing internationalisation to the member countries. The project studies also how the growing number of different religions and changes in the legislation concerning religion and religious freedom will affect the role of the churches, and what role religions plays in the countries under study concerning the building of ethnic identity. This includes the challenges the Charter of the Fundamental Rights in the basic Treaty pose to member countries. The project is multidisciplinary within theology and consists of 10 researchers. It forms an integral part of an international research project "Welfare and religion in a European perspective" in which eight countries participate.
|Effective start/end date||01/01/2003 → 31/12/2007|