A new diaconal development in Ukraine

One of the challenges faced by local diaconia is to find ways in which people with diverse backgrounds can live together in peace, with justice and dignity. The danger is that groups separate and conflicts deepen. People in Ukraine have been confronted with political changes in the recent past, which have promised new hope for the future. They have also faced a war in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Diaconia is rooted in congregational life and congregational life is rooted in community life! Therefore diaconia has to respond to these changes and challenges. Congregation members in Kiev wish to welcome the ‘inner refugees’ and other refugees among themselves and to work and live with them inclusively. There is a strong wish to develop a diaconal congregation.

Aims and approach

Considering the nature of diaconal action in light of the conviviality process, this initiative aims to build a new profile of diaconal practice, built on the concept of conviviality through raising awareness, networking, training and developmental actions related especially to the challenge of the diversity of uprooted people in the local context.

The empowering processes encompasses:

  • The personal and professional/vocational development of the participants.
  • Supporting community/ congregational development through dealing with social, cultural and economic issues in a collaborative way.
  • Developing strategies and practice for participating in processes of long-term engagement with uprooted and marginalised people and working for change locally and on wider levels.

The diaconia model to support the ‘art and practice of living together’, named ‘seeking conviviality’, will be implemented as one of the responses to this situation. The word ‘conviviality’ comes from the period of Spanish history when Christians, Moslems and Jews lived together in peace. If, in all our diversity, we are created in God’s image, then the process of seeking conviviality is a process of entering into the fullness of what God creatively offers in all humankind. By having an open, curious and receptive attitude we are all enriched.

People involved in the conviviality initiative

Pastors, social and diaconal workers, volunteers and congregational members are involved in the learning, networking and further developmental activities.

Other participants in the diaconal programme:

  • Uprooted and marginalised people, including those affected by war and refugees.
  • Other congregations, churches and groups.
  • Informal networks.

Partner organisation

This in initiative to support Diaconal congregations working with uprooted persons is carried out in conjunction with the Lutheran St. Martin congregation in Kiev.

Programme actions

  • Learning & Developmental activities: 2018, 2019 (on – going), Kiev, Český Těšín
  • 2nd Workshop: 4th December – 8th December 2017, Český Těšín
  • 1st Workshop: 1st July – 3rd July 2017, Kiev
  • Kick off meeting, April 2017, Kiev


International Academy for Diaconia and Social Action
Dukelská 264/5
737 01 Český Těšín - Czech Republic

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