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The Felm board has elected Pauliina Parhiala as the new Executive Director

Reverend, MtH, and MA Pauliina Parhiala has been appointed as the Executive Director of Felm. She is the first female Executive Director in history of a mission agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Pauliina Parhiala. Photo: Marjatta Kosonen.

The board of Felm unanimously chose Pauliina Parhiala for the position. Currently, she works as the Director of Diaconia and Development at Felm

“Parhiala is committed to a holistic missionary vision. She recognizes the changing operating environment of Felm and the need to develop the organization’s strategy in collaboration with the board. In the midst of the transformation in missionary work, she considers it important for Felm  to take into account the expectations of both Finnish congregations and international partners,” says Bishop Simo Peura, the chairman of the Felm board.

“Parhiala has a strong track record in leadership. She is capable of both independent and collaborative decision-making. She is a highly participatory leader with good skills in personnel management,” Peura continues.

“We have an important shared mission in God’s work in the world”

Parhiala has extensive experience in international diaconia, development cooperation, and leadership roles. She started as the Director of Diaconia and Development at Felm in January 2022. Prior to that, she worked as the Country Director for Norwegian Church Aid in Tanzania, Director of the Lutheran World Federation country program in Jerusalem, Director of ACT Alliance in Geneva, Regional Director for the Middle East at Finnchurchaid, Acting Executive Director and Director of International Affairs, and Executive Director at Crisis Management Initiative. She was ordained as a priest in 2022.

“Felm  is a window to the global church and its work for hope worldwide. The values of Felm, its role as part of the church’s mission, and its meaningful goals in comprehensive mission inspire me. I have witnessed the impact of Felms work work and its partners in various parts of the world. I want to contribute to ensuring that this work continues and expands. As the Executive Director, I can contribute to the strategic leadership of Felm and provide consistent direction in a rapidly changing environment,” says Parhiala.

According to Parhiala, Felm will continue to be an expert, reliable, and interesting Christian actor, as well as a tangible channel and desired partner in strengthening faith, hope, and love in the world.

“We are living in a post-pandemic era of political and economic uncertainty. Climate change and biodiversity loss are altering the conditions for a good life. Our operational and funding environment is undergoing change. All of this also brings changes to Felm´s  work. In change, there is an opportunity for renewal. We will seize the opportunities brought by these changes,” Parhiala shares her views on the future of Felm.

“I want to strengthen hope in the midst of despair and deepen our connection to the global church. We have an important shared mission in God’s work in the world. I want to support the success of the Felm community. I believe there are good conditions for success. Supporters, partners, and employees are committed. There is a growing need for this work. Personally, I hope to remove obstacles to shared success and create conditions for resource growth,” Parhiala continues.

Parhiala will begin her role as the Executive Director on August 1. The  present Executive Director Rolf Steffansson continues until July 31st

Felm is a mission agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and one of the largest development organizations in Finland